Roll Call

Roll Call: Northeast Vice and the 265 Pound Arrestee

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

February 4, 2018

Griffith ParkAt the time that I worked Northeast Vice, we owned Griffith Park and part of the Hollywood hills. Complaints about lewd conduct occurring in several areas of the park required the unit to enforce these laws so that the public could better enjoy the park, it’s many hiking trails and spectacular views of the city.

A particular trail which afforded a magnificent view was a hot spot for the ‘complained of’ activity. Accordingly, the unit focused its efforts on the location which sported an 80-foot drop from the trail to the ground below. The actual 80 feet distance had a slight angle to the bottom, so it was not a straight drop. At the time, one of the lewd conduct violations was the grabbing of one’s private part which was considered foreplay. Once that happened, the vice copper would identify himself and with the aid of his partner, effect the arrest. It was 1978 and if you aren’t old enough to remember, it was a very wet winter.

Wonder view trail Griffith ParkRick, my partner, and I were assigned to work that trail. I drew the short straw and would be the ‘trick.’ Rick hid in the bushes where he could cover me and be a witness to the violation while I stood on the trail, the bait. Soon enough came this rather large individual—about 265 pounds and about 6 feet. I was playing with a twig and my arms were chest level. The individual stood about 10 feet to my right and slowly worked his way toward me. Now, the deal was when the violation occurred, I was to step to the side, Rick would emerge from the bushes, we would identify ourselves, advise the guy why he was being arrested, hook him up and off to jail.

With his left hand the guy grabbed me so hard I grabbed his hand and yelled, “LAPD vice, you are…” He took a swing at me and as I tried to block his punch, we fell off the trail. We quickly traversed the 80 feet I was talking about earlier. Now, I was wearing combat boots and several feet from the flat ground we stop! I say we, because I had a hold of him. My right foot has wedged into a rut, remember the rain, and my foot was supporting us both.

rugged trail Griffith ParkI was laying on my back holding onto the guy when I hear Rick sliding on his butt down the hill, shouting for me to hold on. Then, I heard a “snap,” and I found myself looking at the ground, my left leg out to the side. I let go of the guy as the pain started to get serious. Rick sails past me toward the soon-to-be-arrested violator as I am attempting to dislodge my leg. The boot slipped out of the rut and down I went, landing on my left shoulder.

So, the guy has violated me, caused me to break my foot and screw up my shoulder. I was on the ground watching Rick attempting to place a choke-hold on the guy (we could it then). But Rick can’t get the guy in a seated-up-right position to affect the choke. I crawl over to the two, place my right hand on his left buttocks and my left hand between his thighs in an attempt to push with the right hand and pull with the left.

Rick chokes the man out, as the guy goes down, urinates.

Uh, huh. Groped, broken ankle, messed-up shoulder, wet left arm up to the wrist.

Foot still bothers me to this day.





Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Cops with Mustaches

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

If you stood 30 cops shoulder to shoulder, three-quarters of them would have a mustache. Hopefully none of them were female! Why? It’s not required and it’s a personal choice but for some. there’s a reason. When I came on the job, I didn’t have a mustache—never even thought of growing one. Good thing; probationers were not allowed to have a mustache unless his training officer and 7/8 of the watch said it was ok. You also weren’t allowed to wear short sleeve uniform shirts or combat boots until you had been around for a while. If you tried to wear these items you were called salty and given a stern lecture. You might even find yourself working station security every time it rained.

If you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and survived you probably were in the hippy period. I remember when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan with their long hair. Yea, I’m that old. I thought, “They’ll never last.” Most of my favorite bands had clean cut hair and wore suits with thin ties! Well, we saw the hippies wearing long hair but they weren’t cops.  A lot of cops’ pre-police photos show long hair and sometimes outrageous mustaches. Once on the job, you had a very strict dress code: close-cut hair, side burns that couldn’t be lower than your ear canal. We had regular inspections and it was not unusual for an officer to be told to get a haircut.

There were also strict guidelines for mustaches. They had to be neatly trimmed and could not extend past the corner of your mouth. We were some of the best dressed cops in the nation. I used to shudder when I saw pictures of cops from back east. They had long hair and mustaches that made you think of a motorcycle gang. Now days some departments allow beards and goatees. Not my style.

So why did I grow a mustache? It was simple. I joined the Los Angeles Police Department at the ripe old age of 21. I was thin and still produced a face pimple now and then. I kept my hair short from my academy days. I didn’t grow a mustache to be one of the guys but I grew a mustache to be taken seriously.

I once went on a radio call and the PR (Person Reporting) was an elderly woman.  As I was interviewing her she stopped me in mid-sentence and asked me, “Are you old enough to be a cop?”

I assured her that yes, I was old enough and told her I was married with a son.
She said, “How Sweet.” But I got the feeling she thought I had just come from my high school prom! It wasn’t the first time I had been asked that question.Another time I was in a bar during a robbery investigation and the bartender asked me rather sarcastically, “Are you old enough to be in a bar.” I replied I was old enough to arrest him! I wasn’t generally a smart ass but I got tired of that question.

That was it. I had just three years on the job and I was on vacation. I have a whole month off. I’m going to grow a mustache, just for kicks. My wife’s vote just barely lost in a closely-contested campaign. I grew my mustache just before my daughter’s birth. To this day, she’s never seen me without a mustache.

Funny, I never again was asked if I’m old enough to be a cop! I also haven’t had a face pimple since 1973! I’ve made up for my youthful appearance in my later years. I no longer get asked if I qualify for the senior citizen discount. My mustache has turned grey but I keep it trimmed. It now grows past the corner of my mouth but then the inspections conducted by my wife are rare and less restrictive.

When did you grow a mustache? Male replies only.

More Street Stories

Captain’s Blog: Community Oriented Policing

Captain’s Blog, 7-6-15: Community Policing

By Captain Craig Schwartz

A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog about community policing, talking about how we sometimes define the term differently and how those differences can contribute to a lack of understanding between the police and the people we serve. I know at least a few of you saw it, although I can no longer find that post on our page. Some aspects of Facebook are still a mystery to me.

In that blog post about community policing, I gave two scenarios of officers at work and asked which group was engaged in community policing. In one scenario, officers were out in a neighborhood interacting with adults and children, handing out stickers and having casual conversations. This example is much like the barbecue event our Gang Crimes Team hosted recently on West Ninth Street or the numerous other community events we participate in on a regular basis. [NB: Check out the SRPD Facebook page for more events like this.–Thonie] The second scenario involved a group of officers responding to a complaint of drug sales from a house in the same neighborhood. The officers completed an investigation, got enough evidence to write a search warrant for the suspects’ house. When they served the warrant ad forced open the door they made arrests and seized evidence of drug sales. In the example, the officers brought code enforcement officers with them and the house was red tagged so that the occupants had to leave until the violations were fixed.

Many people would look at the two examples and say that the first group is doing community policing while the other group is not. The second group might even be accused of being overly “militarized” as they force their way into the suspected dealers’ home to take enforcement action. The trick to the original question is that there was only one group of officers.

We sometimes think of community policing in very narrow terms of activities I prefer to call community engagement. These trust-building activities are a critical part of community policing, but they alone do not make the whole. In the examples given, officers worked to build relationships with the community members who then feel like they can trust the police to help them solve their crime and safety problems. The neighbors tell the police about suspected drug sales in their neighborhood and work with the police to help them gather evidence of the crime. The officers also realize that criminal prosecution doesn’t necessarily resolve the neighbors’ concerns and sometimes the best resolution for them is achieved through code enforcement efforts or working with the landlord to get problem tenants evicted. In the end, the officers are able to take enforcement action and use their partnerships with the residents, other government agencies, and perhaps with community or faith-based organizations to provide a longer-term resolution to a crime, safety, and quality of life problem in the community.

The United States Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services defines community policing as follows: “A philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder and fear of crime.” I shorten the definition in my mind to say that we work to build and use partnerships within government and within our community so that we can bring the right resources to solve problems.

In that way, almost everything we do should help us improve our community policing abilities. Does the way we align our department structure and personnel, or participating in community events and activities mean we are practicing community policing? Is an officer making an arrest or chasing a suspect not engaged in community policing? I think the questions have complex answers and we need to look at the big picture to answer those questions. Obviously I think that we are a community oriented policing agency, but I recognize that in many cases the solutions we seek for neighborhood problems are difficult to reach and people are sometimes disappointed with the outcomes. Those cases are frustrating for us as well, and we will continue trying to improve our services.

The opinions that really count are yours, and we look forward to working with you. For more information about the Department and our community policing efforts, check out our annual report. It is on our website at

Captain Craig Schwartz of the Santa Rosa Police Department
Captain Craig Schwartz of the Santa Rosa Police Department

– Captain Craig Schwartz

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