By Mikey, Retired LAPD
The Yellow Van and the Robbery Suspect
It was late 1990 and I was working Wilshire Division day watch patrol as a new field sergeant. Wilshire Division is bordered on the north by Hollywood Division, on the west by West Los Angeles Division on the east by Rampart Division and on the south by South West Division. At about 1130am I monitored a broadcast of a robbery that had just occurred in South West. The suspect was described as a heavy set male black, driving a yellow van, last seen south bound on La Brea Boulevard. I was stopped for a red light at Washington and La Brea facing south when I spotted a yellow van approach the interaction going north. The South West robbery suspect was last seen proceeding south on La Brea. The lettering on the van identifyed it as rental van. I radioed my location and asked communications to ask the South West unit if the van had writing on the sides. I was told that there was, and they added that it had a number on the back.
As the light changed, the van passed me and sure enough the number matched the one given to me by the unit. I communicated that I was following the van NORTH bound on La Brea, requested back-up and settled in for a possible pursuit. I heard an air unit was enroute, so I hung back. The van proceeded into a residential neighborhood, pulled to the curb and the driver exited. I set up a felony stop, shot gun and all, and told the heavy-set driver to prone out. He turned and ran up a drive way into a back yard. The air unit was now over head and the observer told me to start star walking north.
“A little faster, Sarge,” the observer said, so I picked up the pace. I passed three residences and was approaching the last house before the end of the block when I was told to run to the end of the block and take cover facing east, so that’s what I did.
“Wait for it, Sarge.” Looking east I could see a wooden fence paralleling the street, west to east and the sidewalk next to it. This time the observer chucked as he said, “Here they come.”
They, here they come?
I had my weapon drawn, facing east when the frail wooden fence shattered into pieces as the suspect ran right through. Behind him were a pit bull and a mutt in hot pursuit!
The guy saw at me and began yelling, “Shoot the dogs, shoot the dogs!!”
The aircrew must have been laughing hard because I heard the engine whining down (pilot not paying attention) but my attention was on our robbery suspect. The dogs got alarmed when they saw the vehicle traffic did a 180 and headed for home.
“Shoot the dogs,” ran into a responding black and white and the rest is history.
You know for a heavyset guy, he was running pretty good. Well, he was highly motivated!
Morning Watch and the Flying Badge
It was late 1990 and I was working morning watch at Wilshire as a patrol sergeant. Our end of watch was 0800 but I had a report to finish and didn’t leave the station until 1030. I was on my way home eastbound on the I-10, the Santa Monica portion and this time of the morning the traffic still stinks. My patience is boarding the edge of—well, I’m tired and when I get home I have a couple of “honey do’s” to complete before sleep. Drive time, 45 minutes. Crossing the Harbor freeway, the traffic lightened up, so we picked up the speed. I’m in the #2 lane and a yellow city dump truck is in the #1 lane. As we transition from the east bound I-10 to the north bound I-5, the truck—without signaling—cuts me off! Had I not slammed on the brakes, we’d have had a terrific collision. Now I’m going to catch up to the truck and let the guy know who he just cut off! I take my badge place it into my left hand. The badge pin is between my middle and index finger. I catch up to the truck who is back in the #1 lane and now I’m next to him, I roll down my window and as he looks over at me, I produce my badge out the window…….and my badge is yanked out of my hand by the rush of wind! It’s gone, rolling down the freeway. My almost new sergeant badge is GONE!
Told you I was tired, lacking any judgment and now my badge was gone. I got off the freeway and went back to the location.
Somewhere in badge heaven that badge is telling the story of the first and last knuckle head he was with.
I sure showed that driver, huh?