By Mikey, Retired LAPD
When you are assigned to patrol on the LAPD, it’s mostly working the field with a lot of coppers. The situation also depends on the watch and division as well as the number of units in the field. In specialized unit assignments, the number of coppers is limited, depending on the task. I worked Northeast Division vice from 1978-1980. We had two supervisors and eight vice officers. In 1979, both of our supervisors took vacation at the same time, so patrol loaned us a patrol sergeant to watch over us. Now this supervisor wanted to make good on his loan, so he was very critical about us “doing it right.” I think you can see where this is going.
We are working hookers on Sunset Boulevard. Taking it one step further, we have a cab, yellow in color, with everything intact, the roof light, and a radio and a meter that actually works! I’m the driver and Gary from patrol is on loan to us—he looks very Asian Indian, dark complexion and his accent (made up) is spot on. Then we added a turban and we have a “trick” ready step out.
The first hooker to go down bought Gary’s accent and his want of “Elpoah.” That was a made-up thing, but the girls knew what he wanted. After a couple of arrests, the word got out. We hit a dry spell, Gary got out, and were about to call it when the sergeant asked me to drive the boulevard to check for any girls.
I stopped for a light at Sunset and Bronson and was sitting there when the back door flew opened and a woman said, “Highland and Melrose.”
Crap, hadn’t locked the door!
In the rear-view mirror, I saw a heavy-set woman and a skinny dude. Well, I am driving a cab and they don’t know I’m the heat, sooooo, I hit the meter and proceeded to Highland and Melrose. I pulled to the curve at the destination and the lady hands me $5.00 and says, “Keep the change.”
Heck, I hadn’t thought about that, making change. So, with the fare and tip, I proceeded back to the staging area and reported to the sergeant that no hookers were present, and I got a fare and a tip.
The sergeant’s water broke, and he started his period, at the same time, right there and proceeded to melt down. “G#d D—n it, G#d D—n it, holy s**t, G#d D—n it!!! You, you, G#d D—n it!” This went on for what seemed a very long time but was 2-3 minutes.
The paper work was worth it!
During this time of the sergeant’s loan, it was Super Bowl time. The unit gets a tip that a certain bar in the division is getting kickbacks or “Vigorish” from customers who bet on sports pools. Vigorish is “a charge paid on a bet,” illegal in California.
So, two of the senior vice coppers are assigned to enter the bar, look the pool chart over, see what the pay off is at the end of a quarter and do the math. If the figures don’t add up and a “charge” is apparent, you’ve got Vigorish. The vice guys enter the bar as the remainder of the unit sets up outside in plain cars and “Code 5,” or stake out. We are listening to the game and shortly after the first quarter the coppers approach the sergeant’s car. We all duck into and alley to hear what the coppers have discovered.
They tell us that there is no Vigorish and that, wait for it…………they had won $125.00!
Yeah, they bought a square and won!
“G#d D—n it, G#d D—n it, holy s**t, G#d D—n it!!! You, you, G#d D—n it!”
The two coppers told us that the paper work was worth it. Our supervisors came back from vacation and the loan sergeant went back to patrol. I don’t think he looked at the vice unit the same way as when he first started his loan.
Besides he looked better in uniform.