By Mikey, Retired LAPD
As the adjutant to the Hollywood Divisional Commanding Officer there was a lot things like additional duties, reports, work assignments that I could do myself or assign to personnel. One of the unpopular duties was to take celebrities out on patrol to show them what field patrol was like. One of the additional duties Hollywood Division got was taking actors out on patrol to “familiarize” them with some of the technical things patrol personnel do on a daily basis. I received a phone call from downtown that actors Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe were coming to the division for some of the technical training. The men were going to co-star in the 2004 movie Crash.
The captain felt that I should be the Hollywood supervisor to escort the actors during their “training” ride-along. I prepared for the assignment by asking downtown if this was a generic or specific purpose ride-along. I was told it was a generic, have a good time ride-along, cool. Matt and Ryan arrived on a Monday and the informal training started: the wearing of the uniform, hand-cuffing, searches (no, I did not teach Matt to search with the baton), the proper stance for a drawn weapon and so on. Ryan stayed the day but Matt wanted to come back the next day as well. He was very interested in learning what it was like being a police officer both on and off duty. He started observing things and got pretty good at it. I took him to jail division to watch the booking process and several of the “hand-cuffed to the bench” arrestees gave Matt some broad smiles when they recognized him.
Our last night was very interesting. It was extremely busy, and I took him to any call that I thought he’d get something out of. We were stopped facing south on Las Palmas Avenue at Selma Avenue waiting for cross traffic when a west bound vehicle deliberately steered into us and turned away at the last minute. We had just been baited for a following or a “stop us if you dare.” I started a following and explained to Matt what was happening. There were four occupants in the ride ahead and they all had their hoods up over their heads. I explained to Matt that our chances of getting back-up in a timely manner would be difficult and the civilian traffic would make it difficult for any kind of proper stop. AND I told him that the remainder of the year and the beginning of the next would be the worst for me if HE was injured or seriously killed.
I checked the plate and found no wants or warrants, the address came back to a residence in the south side of the city. I looked over at Matt and his eyes were as big as saucers.
He looked at me and asked, “Do you smoke?”
I said “no.”
He asked, “Do mind if I light up a cigar?”
As we were pulling into the parking lot of Hollywood station, Matt said, “You said my charter is a training officer, and would have two stripes.”
“Yup” was my reply.
“You are a Sergeant; could you be a training officer too?”
“I’m training you. I’m gonna were three stripes if I can swing it, thanks for all of your help.”
Matt went on to get nominated for best supporting actor in his role. The day of the Academy Awards, I arrived at the station and walked into the watch commander’s office heading for the sergeant’s room when one of my female officers and a female communications tech stopped me.
“Sarge, Matt Dillon called for you. I recognized his voice, and here is his number.”
I looked at his number then at the two women. They had that LOOK in their eyes.
“No, I’m not calling him now.”
Later on that night I arrived to Hollywood and Highland to where the awards were being held and saw an off-duty copper I know who was working security for event, in a tux, ear piece and all.
“Dave, when Matt Dillon comes out, let him know I’m here.”
“What?” Dave asked.
I repeated myself and I told him that he was expecting me. Fifteen minutes later, Matt and his entourage came out of complex and Dave approached Matt. Matt spotted me and waived me onto the red carpet. I was introduced to his people and after a warm conversation; he went to his parties and went back onto patrol.