The Call Box

The Call Box: Three New Copland Stories

polic-call-box-pedestal-lapd-gamewell-DCAL2786_dt1By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

My partner Frank Isbell and I have been assigned a plain clothes stakeout inside an apartment where the occupant has been threatened with death. He has been temporarily relocated while we wait for the intended killer.

Frank and I hear a tentative tap on the door. I look through the peephole but see nothing. I shrug and signal, “Nobody,” to Frank. A few long seconds later there is a second tap. Again nothing. I signal Frank that I am going to open the door.  Frank is to my right, shotgun ready as I pull the door open quickly with revolver in hand. And there is a very small girl staring into two guns, who says, “Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies, officer?”

Officer? Talk about presence of mind.



Here I am, still at 77th Street Patrol, morning watch, still doing scut work, checking tickets, reports, etc. It is very quiet when the jailer from across the hall sticks his head in the office and announces, “One of the prisoners wants to talk to a supervisor.” The elderly lieutenant does not acknowledge the interruption which I take as my cue to handle the situation. Now, I have been on the job long enough to know that someone who wants to see a supervisor is not about to deliver good news.

The prisoner who sits across from me is a very well dressed man who has been arrested for DUI. He says, “The man in the cell with me is wearing his suit.”

“Okay,” says I. “But I need some details.” He tells me he was the victim of a burglary several weeks prior and the thief made off with several custom-made suits. “And the man in the cell is wearing one of my suits.”

“How can you be sure it is yours?” I ask.

He tells me when the man fell asleep, his coat fell open. He checked and found his own name embroidered on the lining.

I pulled the burglary report and there it was.

The next radio car that came into the station got an easy felony pinch.


One of our elderly sergeants was enroute to eat in the wee hours of the morning when he spotted a man on a side street pushing a bulky wheeled item covered with a blanket. Curious enough to check but not enough to get out of the car he pulled up alongside the “pusher” and began a routine conversation as they both moved along. Eventually the question was asked. “What’s under the blanket, friend?”

At this point the “pusher” lost the battle of nerves and turned rabbit, gone in a flash.

Under the blanket? A box safe on wheels.




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