Roll Call

Roll Call: The Calling

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Today is June 15, 2017, a day after the shooting in Virginia and the near massacre that was thwarted. Everyone there, the politicians, the aides, the whosevers, and the coppers heard their calling. Our politicians are huddled in a dug-out knowing that “this is it.” The last good byes, the argument not finished because the point was not made, the question about a bill to in act, the next appointment, a staffer you’d like to complement and now this, the end? The end of your calling as a politician?

NO, one of you said, “a gun stopped a gun.” Let me rephrase that, a “calling” stopped that. The coppers,’ CNN calls them LEOs or Law Enforcement Officers–but they are coppers, true and blue. Trained like no others. You go into the valley of death because that is what you do, trained to do, and you don’t look for an exit, the way back, or the cavalry. You are the cavalry, the troops, or just the one solider. You may ask for back up, or you don’t have the time, but it doesn’t, matter, the whole thing just landed on you.

AdobeStock_102706188So now you work the problem and everything that implies. You face it head on, frame by frame, still shots, video, very little audio because all your adrenalin is focused on viewing what you are up against. When those coppers put the shooter down, it wasn’t over, in their minds things were still being processed: “Is he the only one, is there a lay off shooter, why here, why now,” and on and on. If being a LEO was easy, everyone could do it, but it’s not and not everyone can.

Why the bonds are so tight among coppers says reams about the calling. And it does not end after you “pull the pin” (retire).  Back in ’08, the year I retired, Rick Alatorre along with Joe Gonzalez and Art Placencia and I started meeting for breakfast once a month at a local restaurant in the Inland Empire. Hal Collier and I started one at about the same time in the Glendale area. As time went on, the “gathering or roll call,” caused both groups to seek larger haunts. Work, (yup, couldn’t stay at home) caused me to focus on the local gathering and Hal ran with the valley group. The local group now has 85+ attendees and we meet the fourth Thursday of the month.

From to run or not to run photo by policemag

There are coppers in attendance of Ed, Hal’s and my generation and our common thoughts and conversations are the exact same! Just read Ed’s stories and compare them to Hal’s and mine, different incidents and years to be sure but the calling is interred woven in the “Themes.” I have a commercial pilot rating, multi-engine and helicopter. Yup, was gonna be a zoomie for life. I got to do what I wanted to do with that, but ended up doing what I was supposed to do. I answered the calling, my calling. What was, is yours? How fortunate to have been chosen to do and be something bigger than yourself, to mean something to so many and still, today be able to share that others who heard and surrendered to it.

Roll Call

Roll Call: Larry and the Short-cut

By Mikey, retired LAPD


rain in LA ktlaIt was the winter of 1978 and as I recall the rain was relentless, not unlike what we have just experienced this year (2016). I was working Morning Watch with my partner Larry A. who liked to drive. At about 0100 hours on a weekday morning we were responding to a radio call in one of the many hillside communities of Northeast Division. It had been raining earlier so we were driving on slick roads. Larry decided we would take a short cut to the call and drove off the paved road and onto a very narrow dirt, and now very muddy road.

We did not get far when the cruiser got stuck in the mud and it started to rain again. As Larry tried to get the unit out of the rut, the front end started to slide left, the downhill part of the “wannabe road.” It appeared that we were heading for Eagle Rock Boulevard below which was now rising, like the sun through Eagle Rock los angelesLarry’s window. Larry and I were in a left banking turn/slide and the movement was not stopping.

Peering over Larry’s shoulder, I knew were going to take days (on the beach) for wrecking the car after it nosed-dived onto the street. Or we were going to get seriously killed. Just then the movement stopped and I gently opened my door. I got of the car and managed to low crawl back onto the level part of the road.

Looking back, I see Larry attempting to crawl across the seat toward my door, his eyes as big as silver dollars. In those days, there was nothing to obstruct his movement. Try that today. He managed to pull himself out and did the same low crawl to where I was standing. There were no ROVER (handhelds) and no cell phones. Nope, didn’t have them in those days. We look at each other then back into the car and stare at the radio. I say, “you got us here, you make the call.”  Back at the driver’s side, Larry has the radio in his hand, but I can’t hear a word—remember  it’s raining.

He low crawls back and tells me he got a hold of another unit and they are responding to our location.


Now we have four coppers trying to think this through. Mike and Robert, (no last names) said they remember seeing a jeep, in a driveway WITH A WINCH!!!

IMG_0556Just as they leave to investigate, our cruiser starts making more slipping noises, damn, so close. After what seemed like the entire watch, the guys came back with a very tired looking guy and his JEEP! The guy hooks up the unit, crawls back to his machine and starts cranking away. He re-hooks the car in another location and does this a couple more times until he can winch it up to the pavement. With flash lights in hand the four of us inspect the cruiser and find it muddy, but without any damage! We asked the Jeep owner what he drank and preceded to obtain the case of beer from a supermarket which will remain nameless. After telling the night manager what had happened he provided us with the Jeep owners reward.

Larry did not ask for, nor was given, permission by me to drive until we were out of the rainy season, it was a long rainy season.




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