By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
This is the third in a three part series about why some became cops. The results are from an informal survey sent out by Hal Collier.
Dave was going to be a teacher but after the military he had a wife and small child to support and saw a recruit poster on the side of Hollywood Police Station.
Weather was also a factor in some choosing LAPD. Billy was living in Chicago and up to his butt in snow. John was teaching in Michigan and applied at Detroit PD but was told there was a three year wait. His background investigator suggested Southern California police agencies.
Neco couldn’t find work in his ornamental iron trade so he applied to four Southern California police agencies. LAPD called him first. Smaller departments only hired a few officers a year and LAPD hired hundreds every few months, when the timing was right.
Rob joined the LAPD because we had motor officers and the LA County Sheriff’s didn’t. Rob retired a motor officer. A few wanted to be firemen—Craig admitted he couldn’t pass any of their tests. Arnie said he didn’t want to sit around polishing fire trucks all day. Paul said he failed at everything else. Max was an ambulance driver for $7.00 for a 12-hour shift when he saw a Times newspaper ad. Walt also applied after seeing a Times ad.
Jenny was a waitress at Red Lobster when she teased a friend who kept being delayed for hire by LAPD. He said, “If it’s so easy, I dare you to apply.” Six months later, she was in the LAPD academy. Dan was a business major at USC when he switched majors to Police Administration. Steady income, honorable, a good pension and of course, his grandfather’s cop stories. Dan went on to be chief of police for two other police departments.
Lindy was attending Administrative Justice classes taught by an LAPD cop. Lindy asked her friend, “Do you think I could be a cop?” She replied “Yes!” They both became LAPD cops.
Where do cops come from? Just about everywhere. Some planned to be cops, others fell into the job and some were dared. The best recruiters besides Adam 12, were other cops with a few good cop stories! A few said they hadn’t planned on a long police career. But once being a cop, they just couldn’t quit. The bottom line was they all tried it and soon fell in love with the work. Everyone said that it was the best job they ever had and never regretted being a cop.