More Street Stories


By Anthony Morgan, Retired Oakland PD

Anthony wrote this tribute to a fellow cop in 1983. It stands the test of time.–Thonie



Funeral for Phoenix Police Officer Issac Ros
Funeral for Phoenix PD Officer Isaac Rossario


A friend of mine passed away a few days ago. His name was Joe-the last name is not important. He was 74 years old. Joe was a cop. He retired about 14 years ago after 33 years’ service with the San Francisco Police Department. If my math is correct he started in 1936. Joe was a cop up to the day he died. He loved the profession and he was immensely proud of the Inspectors badge he carried for a good portion of his career.
Joe fit the role of the detective in the old “B” movies of yesteryear. A man of medium height and ruddy complexion, I can picture him wearing a freshly laundered white shirt, grey suit and tie and the ever-present hat. Donning a knee length overcoat to go out on a case on a foggy San Francisco evening always seemed to complete the plainclothes uniform. His stories of the “old days” conjured up images of Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon”. The cops back then, he said, solved cases by wearing out the soles of their shoes. The old guys got the job done by hard work and a lot of luck. Joe said that the detectives of today have the luxury of computers and new-age technology. God knows what he would think of today’s investigators. But, he would probably say that all cases are still solved by hard work and occasional luck.

After his retirement Joe remained in touch with law enforcement and his fellow co-workers. He became involved with the Veteran Officers Association. Joe worked hard to insure the rights and benefits of the active and retired officers remained intact and free from tampering by the City. He was a battler and one to give up without a fight over an issue he thought important. Occasionally someone would comment that he was wasting his retirement years working so hard. It wasn’t a waste of time for Joe. He enjoyed helping others and it gave him a sense of purpose.

Back in the early 70’s, I told him that I wanted to get into police work. He sat there for a moment and then he told me to go to Oakland. I thought for sure he would steer me toward S.F.P.D. Joe said the police department was having some troubles. It was mired in some pretty heavy and negative politics and stuck in a hiring freeze. He saw a strike on the horizon. He mentioned that the Oakland Police Department had the finest training and had the reputation of being a progressive police agency. Joe felt that it would take the S.F. Police Department years to recover. Armed with his advice, I applied for O.P.D.

After my graduation for the Academy he wrote me a note. It read, “To the new Cop-good luck and best wishes for a great career. Have fun.” It was signed “an old has-been.” I always thought that it must have been pretty dull being a police officer in the “old days.” After all, everything seems to happen so fast today. It wasn’t until I had some time on the job that I began to see some similarity between his years and mine. A number of his war stories were the same as mine, just the names and settings were different. It just seemed that the people were a bit more civilized back then.

Joe would get fully involved in his stories. He would start rubbing his hands and occasionally poke the listener in the shoulder just to emphasize a point. His voice would rise and fall in the old San Francisco Mission dialect-a little Boston Irish taint. The Mission accent would become even more pronounced as he reached the end of his tale. He always tried never to end on a sour note. He added humor and always tried to make a point.

One time I asked him what the high point of his career was. After a pause he replied, “I went 33 years without ever having to use my gun on someone. I was very fortunate.” He wished the same for every cop.

At the funeral service I saw some of his buddies from the job. All of them were about the same age as Joe. Their posture was stooped, their walk a little slow. There is a tinge of sadness in their voices as they recalled the old days. Their ranks are thinning. They all know that the day will soon come that no one will be left to tell their stories of accomplishments and failures. I looked hard into their eyes of these men. I could tell they were cops. Or, as Joe would say “They ARE cops.” He felt the saying “once a cop, always a cop” was true.

Joe had a lot of respect for the title “COP.” He always greeted me with “Howya doin’, cop?” He felt that cops were something special. He loved the word “cop.” He mentioned that being a cop meant being strong and having integrity. He expected cops to fail occasionally but what made them different was their ability to get back up and face the troubles head-on. Being a cop in his day was something to be proud of. In thinking about it, being a cop today still is something to be proud of.

Joe, to you I say thanks for everything, for being a mentor, and…so long, COP.

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.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Have You Ever Been Lost?

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Have you ever been lost? Maybe you were in a strange town or even country; you refused to ask for directions regardless of how many times your spouse begged you. This Ramblings is not about that. This is about a call for police service and the cops can’t find the location. You might have a Hollywood Division street guide but it’s only good for Hollywood. The Thomas Guide they gave you in the academy has mold from being in the bottom of your equipment bag in the trunk of your police car. It might even have some Pinks chili on it.


2017-03-04-2As you probably know I spent thirty-three years working Hollywood Division and I hardly ever got lost. Well, only a couple of times but I had an excuse. I had a rule, “don’t go south of Beverly Boulevard,” Hollywood’s southern boundary. One time I was assigned a radio call of a “screaming woman” in Southwest Division. The call was at 52nd and Crenshaw, Southwest Division was two divisions away and wasn’t even in my Bureau. I had a vague idea of where 52nd & Crenshaw was—about sixty blocks south of my present location.



Randy’s Donuts, 805 West Manchester, Inglewood, Ca.

No problem. I know a short cut. I’ll take La Brea south past the area known as the “Jungle” (known for anti-police residents) over Baldwin Hills and turn east before I hit Inglewood. I missed the left at Slauson Avenue and soon found myself in Inglewood. I was only a short distance from Randy’s Donuts, but I have an emergency call first. I back-tracked and eventually got to the call. Of course, the call was at least forty-five minutes old and I couldn’t find the screaming woman. I took the long way back to Hollywood and got a cup of coffee, no donuts. Good thing I filled the gas tank at start of watch. Every once in a while, you would get a call in a different bureau but that just means no cops were available in the adjoining four divisions. Scary, huh?



Loans: Every division has Christmas parties, summer picnics and divisional inspections. On a sad note, if an officer dies in the line of duty the entire division attends the funeral. These events all required loans from other divisions to handle patrol duties during the incident. I was often loaned to outside divisions, both as a cop and as a sergeant. I hated it. I was in a strange environment and out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know what alleys were safe to pee in or where to eat that the help won’t spit on your food. The fact of the matter was, you were going to get assigned to a division you were unfamiliar with.


Webster defines lost as: being in an unknown location. I always knew where I was, I just didn’t know where I was going!

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Why Be a Cop? part 2

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD


A few weeks ago, I asked forty cops, “Why did you become a cop with the LAPD? Who influenced you to join?”

Twenty-four responded and these are what they said. BTW, This survey didn’t conform with any recognized rules for surveys or polls but it’s a whole lot more accurate than the polls for the last presidential election!

My last Ramblings described how I became a cop and now I’m about to describe how twenty other LAPD cops joined the finest police department in the world. I’m a little prejudiced.

I’m going to bunch a few of these responses together because they’re very similar. The cops who responded came from different eras. The earliest joined in 1956 the latest 1998. So there were different economic situations.  I’ll use only first names to save any embarrassment. 


mp_inspects_captured_ak-47_vietnamThe number one reason: guys were getting out of the military and looking for a job. Quite a few were married with small children and needed to support their family. The majority of the respondents were fresh out of the jungles of Viet Nam—some were drafted, others joined. Doug liked the military but not Viet Nam. Surprisingly, a lot of them were Marines. A few were in military police and infected with being a cop.


Quite a few had low paying jobs and saw no future in their current employment. Skip was earning $1.75 an hour and found that he could be a police student worker (Definition: they work at a police station, filing paperwork and doing odd jobs. They are exposed to cops and their stories, probably closer to a police cadet. They’re usually under-aged to go to the academy) for $2.25 an hour. Brad wanted to be a park ranger or marine biologist but found out the pay was pretty low. Cops get paid better. He was also a police student worker.


a12c3_communications3The second highest response was they watched Adam 12 and Dragnet on TV. Ed, the oldest, said he listened to Dragnet on the radio, a real generation gap from the rest of us. My son and I used to watch Adam 12 together. He’s also an LAPD cop. I’ve worked with many young officers whose dads and mothers were cops. Keith watched Adam 12 and read Joseph Wambaugh books. [As did I. My father was an MP in the Army then his retirement job was as a Deputy US Marshal. Some law enforcement blood there. Adam 12 was a big show in our house. Years later, the dispatcher, Shaaron Claridge, who did the broadcast in the show opening, was my model for radio procedure. There was no formal training other than OJT-on the job.–Thonie]

Another multiple response was they were acquainted with a cop and listened to their cop stories. The cops’ stories get to everyone—exciting and dangerous. And cops also had good benefits! Jim replied that he lived three houses away from a LAPD sergeant and the sergeant encouraged Jim to take police science classes. Roger was in a dead end job at Douglas and wanted to join Santa Monica PD. They required a AA college degree so Roger attended classes. The instructors were LAPD and told great stories. Roger never did work near the beach after thirty-eight years with LAPD.

Come back to read the third and last installment of “Why Be a Cop?” on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Errol Flynn Estate

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Hollywood had a lot of entertaining attractions—after all, it’s the entertainment capital of the world. The entertainment was mostly for the tourists but I have to admit when I was in high school in the 60’s, my future wife and I would cruise Hollywood and stare at the hippies and flower children. We never got out of the car. We figured they would think we were freaks!

 Hollywood has attractions for the police officers as well. The aforementioned hippies as well as the numerous other freaks (my opinion) that frequented Hollywood, always provided entertainment. Another entertainment for cops was mistakenly called the “Errol Flynn Estate.” It’s now called Runyon Canyon Park.


History:  Runyon Canyon stretched from the north end of Fuller to Mulholland Drive, the crest of the Hollywood Hills. Carmen Runyon bought the canyon in 1919 and that’s where it got its name, “Runyon Canyon.” In 1942, it was bought by Huntington Harford and Errol Flynn stayed at the pool house. It became known as the Errol Flynn Estates. He never owned it! The 160-acre park was bought in 1984 by the City of Los Angeles. It now has a 60-acre dog park and has many hiking trails that are popular with thousands, including celebrities who live nearby. Some of the celebrities you won’t recognize because without make up and fancy clothes they look just like us!


The area is hillsides covered with brush and is home to many wild animals, skunks, coyotes and rattlesnakes. There were also a few decaying foundations, including the cement pool on a hillside plateau which overlooked Hollywood. The views were of the LA Basin and all the way to Catalina on a clear night. In the late 70’s, the so-called Errol Flynn Estates was overrun by kids and punk rockers after midnight. Soon the calls came into the police department from the nearby residents of screaming women, breaking bottles, and fires. Besides the noise and vandalism the neighbors were mostly concerned about the chance of a wildfire burning down their house.



I’m guessing the first incident at the Errol Flynn Estates our Communications (dispatch) sent one two-man police car to handle the disturbance. The patrol car had to park at the Fuller Gate and hike into the canyon. They were met with thrown rocks and empty beer bottles. It sucks when the bad guys have the high ground. Rocks and bottles are easier to see in daylight. In a dark canyon, they are almost impossible to see. As a bottle whizzed past your head you’d know how close it was to hitting the target and giving you a nice scar that you’ll be explaining for the rest of your life. Of course, one of the officers had to run back to the police car and radio for help. This was before officers had radios on their belts.


Soon the entire division arrived and the officers with adrenalin surging through their veins, charged through the canyon looking for someone to arrest. Ok, maybe inflict some sort of justice. As the encounters increased the need for more police officers also increased. Have you ever thought of chasing game through 60 acres of dark chaparral?

The big problem is a cop’s mental state—we never give up or surrender!


Next a game of hide and seek and an adult game of tag! 

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, The Sights, Smells and Sounds

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

More irony: The sights, smells, sounds of police work

How do cops deal with the irony of police work, the sights, sounds and smells of police work? [This will also apply to all first responders, fire personnel, EMT and some hospital staff.] We all deal with horrific sights in our own manner and I’m going to describe just a few of the ways. I’m not an expert or have any type of psychology training but I am a product of my environment. For thirty-five years I’ve seen things that would make Edgar Allan Poe cringe, and he was crazy!


I’ve seen countless homicides, suicides, traffic accidents and way too many natural deaths with delayed discoveries. The sights are the hardest to forget but more on that later. The easy ones are the sounds. Huh, what sounds? Have you ever heard the crash of a major traffic collision that happens right in front of you? Have you ever heard the thud of a body hitting the ground from a four story jump? Have you ever heard a person take their last gasp of air? The cry of a mother as she holds her dead child (SIDS) will never leave you!


Smells: Have you ever smelled a long decomposing body? It’s an odor that you’ll never forget, or get used to. I was once in a deadly four-story apartment building fire. Some of the tenants jumped from their windows to escape the fire. For years after I associated the smell of smoke with their deaths. Any fireman and some cops can tell you about the reek of burned human flesh.


And last, on a lighter note, the smell of fresh dog shit that your probationer stepped in and then spread on the inside of the floorboard of you police car?  That’s a trip to the police garage to hose out the floorboard. My wife says I’ve lost my sense of smell.

I think of it as evolution.

Come back next Sunday, May 29th for more cop irony from Hal Collier.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Code-7 Interrupted Again

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

I use to eat at a little coffee shop, Angels Café, just east of Western and Hollywood Boulevard. It was tucked in the corner of the Vagabond Motel and had about six booths and counter seating. Angel was the cook and took good care of us cops. Most of the customers were tourists staying at the motel. 

As we walked in we took the usual notice of the customers already dining. This morning we noticed a rather unkempt gentlemen seated at the counter. He wasn‘t wearing shoes or socks. As the waitress brought us our coffee, I inquired what he had to eat. She replied steak and eggs, the most expensive item on the menu. That is usually the meal of choice for homeless people who can’t pay. Eat good, then go to jail.

Oh crap! You guessed it he had no money. We arrested him for defrauding the inn keeper and missed our code-7. Didn’t even get to drink our coffee.


Ok, another interrupted code-7 at Angels Café. Hollywood and Western was a real armpit at the time. I once had a lieutenant describe Hollywood and Western as, “If God was to give Hollywood an enema he’d lay the hose at Hollywood and Western!”

Did you ever have one of those days where nothing went right and you didn’t want to be bothered? Well, I was having one of those days. I got OK code-7 and sat in the booth at the back of the café. I was served my coffee when this homeless man appears at the window. We were only separated by the glass. He stares down at me for minutes. I’m served my breakfast and he watches every bite I take. He’s only inches from my face and food. 

The rest of the customers noticed and are watching me for my reaction. Soon these alligator tears are streaming down his face. I’m losing my appetite and I can fill my blood pressure rise. I can hear the comments for the other customers. Some have sympathy for me others for the homeless man.

The homeless man then walks to the café door and enters. I’m wondering why I didn’t bring my nightstick with me. The man goes to the cash register and asks for change.  He exits and walks up to the news rack. 

The whole café is now watching this man and me. Angel, the cook, has even stopped cooking. The homeless man puts coins in the news rack and attempts to lift the rack. It took his money but didn’t give him his paper. The customers all groan! He puts in more coins and the rack opens, he takes out the LA Times and reenters the café. He walks directly back to my booth. I tense. This can’t end up good. Everyone is watching me.

The homeless man hands me the paper and says, “Have a good day officer.” He turns and walks out the door and disappears. I give the paper to Angel, pay for my half eaten meal and disappear also.


Absolutely the last Code-7 Ramblings next.  



Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Radio Call from Hell

By Hal Collier LAPD, Retired

We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us.

The following story is true. I call this one, “The Radio Call from Hell.” 


In a recent Ramblings, I talked about the radio calls cop hate the most. Well, here is another I saved for your reading pleasure—“Death Notifications.” 


I don’t know of any cop who likes telling someone that a loved one has died. Sometimes it’s expected, like an elderly aunt or grandparent. Other times, it’s unexpected, telling someone about a spouse, or relative who died in an accident. These calls usually come in through the Watch Commanders office from a coroner in a distant part of the country or state. Another reason why cops hate “The go to the Watch Commanders Office,” radio call.


I’m working morning watch and it’s about 3 A.M.  “Go to the Watch Commanders Office.” Uh oh, I’ll bet it’s that citizen who wanted to make a hit and0 run traffic accident report and we told him to go to the station and wake the desk officer gently. We drive slowly to the Watch Commanders Officers. Maybe we’ll be hit by a drunk driver which will cause short term memory loss.


The Watch Commander tells us that a 28 year-old man was killed in a traffic accident in Bakersfield. We need to notify his wife. Whew, I almost confessed to a police department misdemeanor. We get the address which is on Beachwood Drive. I hate this call—wife alone, young. I hope she has family close by.


We drive to the address and park our car on Beachwood. Her apartment faces Temple Hill Drive, a cross street. We walk to the stairs and knock. The apartment door doesn’t have one of those peep holes to see who’s at the door and the windows all face the street.


A voice calls out, “Who is it?” 

I answer, “Police.”

She says, “I didn’t call the police. What do you want?” 

I didn’t attend the Ann Landers school of etiquette, but I’m pretty sure that shouting through a closed door at 3 A.M., “Your husband is dead,” is not the way to make this notification.

I reply, “I need to talk to you.”

“About what?”

This is not going well. I tell her, “I really need to talk to you in person.”

She says, “How do I know you’re really the police?”

Fair question. I tell her I’ll stand outside her living room window in the middle of the street.

I walk downstairs and stand in the middle of the street.  I’m in full uniform and looking pretty sharp, if I say so myself. I see her looking out her window at me. She again asks, “What do you want?” 

I didn’t want to tell her that her husband is dead through her front door and I’m definitely not going to yell it from the middle of the street.

She asks, “Where is your police car?”  Ok, that’s another fair question. I’ll go get it. I walk out to Beachwood, drive our official black and white police car and park it in the driveway across from her window. As I’m parking the police car I hear an emergency call for all Hollywood units, “Man impersonating a police officer Beachwood and Temple Hill Drive.” 

“Any Hollywood unit, handle Code 3.”

Oh crap, she called the cops on us! How could this get any worse?  I cancel the radio call. No use in another cop getting hurt racing to this call from hell.

I finally convince her to open the apartment door and let us in.  Now comes the hard part. I had five months training in the academy, I’ve got over seven years police experience working in the field and I’ve never been trained in telling someone that a loved one is dead. She has no family in California and doesn’t know the neighbors. There’s no easy way to say that your husband is dead.  I tell her the worst news she probably will ever hear. 

Her first reaction is denial, disbelief, and then anger. She’s now sobbing uncontrollably. There’s nothing I can say or do that will ease her pain. I won’t go into all the options we offered her but in the end we left her alone in that apartment. Boy, I hated my job that night. 

Now you see why cops hate death notifications. They are never easy. This one still bothers me thirty-four years later.




Hal’s “Character-Angelyne” will post tomorrow.

More Street Stories Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Court 4

By Hal Collier LAPD, Retired

We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us.

This is the last installment about criminal court—I think. Sometimes after a nap I remember some incident that I think might be amusing. I had over ten years’ experience in criminal court when this incident occurred. I’d thought I’d seen everything.

I was once working a movie premiere when an Australian film crew asked me, “I’ll bet you have seen everything.” I looked the camera straight in the lens and said “I’ve worked Hollywood long enough to know that I’ll never see everything.” This court case proves me right.

I’m working with Dave Balleweg. Dave was one of those partners that just made police work fun. You couldn’t spend a night working with Dave without having your ribs sore from laughing. I don’t ever remember getting into a fight while working with Dave—he always talked the suspects into jail. I remember one Thanksgiving Day, a speeder called the station after finding out that we were looking for her. She agreed to come to the station where we arrested her. Not bad when they come to you on a holiday to be arrested. Believe it or not she had a turkey in the oven. It was delicious. Ok, I’m just kidding. It was dry.

Dave and I are driving westbound on Selma Avenue approaching Ivar about 3 A.M. We see this guy get out of a Mustang in the parking lot. He crosses the street in front of us wearing a blue “Puma” t-Shirt. He says “Hi Officers.” We’re waiting for the light to change and watch him walk northbound on Ivar. We wonder why he parked in a parking lot a block from Hollywood Boulevard when there’s closer parking spots on the street. Ok, our police instincts have kicked in. He walks up to Hollywood Boulevard and walks west.

We drive into the parking lot. I jump out and look inside his car. The ignition is held together with scotch tape. Crap, the car’s probably stolen. Now we have to find that stranger in the blue Puma t-shirt. We race up to Hollywood Boulevard and can’t find him. Ok, it’s 3 A.M. and not many places are open. Ah, the all night news stand at Hollywood and Cahuenga—they never close.

Sure enough, our suspect is in the porno book section in the back of the news stand. We grab him and now the fun begins. The car isn’t reported stolen. The registered owner lives in the San Fernando Valley. We have a valley cop go to the registered owner’s house. I hope we didn’t disturb the cops nap. The Valley was quiet then. It’s always fun when you knock on some guy’s door and ask, “Do you know where your car is?” He says, “Yea, it’s in my driveway.” Then he looks and screams, “Where’s my car?”

We arrest this Puma shirt guy and wait for our court subpoena. Because the car was stolen in the San Fernando Valley we get a subpoena to Valley court. I haven’t spent much time in court in the valley. Valley Court is where this story gets bizarre.

Dave and I show up in our best suits. Ok, they were our only suits, off the rack from C&R Clothier’s. We check in with the DA. He informs us that the defendant has some additional charges against him. He was on probation for stealing cars and he was not allowed to be south of Mulholland Drive after midnight. Huh. That’s right—every time he stole a car he would drive it to Hollywood. We caught him in a stolen car south of Mulholland. We had never heard of an adult being restricted to the Valley after midnight. Maybe Lindsey Lohan should be restricted to west of the 405 Freeway.

Dave and I are waiting for the judge to take the stand when we see another strange sight. The court reporter, a man in his late 50’s, is spreading paper towels all over his chair. He approaches us and asks if we are the officers testifying. He tells us that he is the last court reporter to take testimony in long hand. He told us that after the attorney asks a question, to wait until he nods to answer. This can’t be happening. He didn’t tell us, but the paper towels were for sweat. During the trial he sweated more than Clinton did denying he had sex with “that” women.

The judge takes the stand and informs the court that the defendant accidentally ruined his blue Puma t-shirt and has nothing to wear in court. Dave jumps up and offers to go to the Army/Navy supply store on the corner and buy the defendant a shirt. The judge agrees and said he’ll pay for the shirt. The judge takes out his wallet and gives us $20.00 cash. We consider going to lunch on the judge but reason prevails. We hustle over to the store and look for a blue Puma t-shirt. No luck, so we buy a shirt and race back to court.

The defendant decides to have his parents bring a suit–I’m guessing it’s his court suit. Can this case get any more bizarre? Just wait. We come back after lunch and I think were ready to go. Dave takes the stand and waits for the court clerk to swear him in. Only problem is that the clerk is not in the court room.

Dave tells the judge, “I can do this,” he raises his right hand and says, “I do solemnly swear, in the case now pending before this court to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”
The judge says, “It works for me. Any objections?”
No objections. How many cops who read my stories have seen this or sworn themselves in?

I’m guessing that a perpetual car thief who apparently gets caught a lot would have a good lawyer. The defendant’s lawyer must have been a family friend, or a DUI lawyer because I think I knew more about criminal law then he did. The judge was always admonishing him about proper questioning and court protocol.

I was testifying for the prosecution and told how we found a pair of channel lock pliers in the defendant’s back pocket. The defendant’s lawyer is now on cross examination.
He asks, “Officer, did you notice anything about the teeth on the pliers?”
Ok, I jump on the question, but only after a nod from the court reporter. “Yes, the teeth had a grey metal on them similar to the grey metal on a vehicle ignition.”
Defendant’s lawyer jumps up and yells, “Objection.”

The Judge looks at the defense lawyer and says, and I loved this, “You asked the question. You can’t object to your own question.”
I almost peed my court suit.

Defendant was found guilty. The court reporter sweated through a roll of paper towels, the judge got a t-shirt, defendant probably got more probation and Dave and I got three hours compensation and the memory of the most bizarre court case.

Writer's Notes

More Hollywood Characters, part 2

By Hal Collier, LAPD, Retired

Hal is a thirty-five year veteran of LAPD. We are pleased he is sharing his stories with us.

This post should have been last week’s. It’s actually Characters #1. Hal gives a little explanation of these stories in his opening paragraph.



The following stories are true and the characters are real. I’ll use their real name or their street name as Hollywood cops knew them. Some of these characters go back to the early 70’s and some only go back a few years. I think there was a waiting list. As soon as one disappeared, the next one at the top of the list took their place. I asked some of my old partners for their input and some background of these characters. This is not my list alone. I’ll describe a Hollywood character after each short story.


Mary Hart
Mary Hart

I’ll start out with a short story of one of my off duty jobs. I called it “My Best Job and My Worst Job.”  I worked a lot of off duty jobs, including movie premieres, the Hollywood Bowl, and private parties. Hell, I even worked a Mary Hart wedding and reception. The Hollywood Special Events Coordinator liked me and I don’t think it had anything to do with me mowing his lawn every weekend. Just kidding, but I did get a lot of good jobs.


The coordinator asked me if I wanted to work a Grand Re-opening of the Frederick’s on Hollywood Boulevard. Fredrick’s, the sexy lingerie distributor for the world. I said yes but only if I could wash his car. Again, I’m kidding. I show up at Fredrick’s in my best suitok it was my only suit. We meet the director of the event. He immediately gives us our paycheck and a Fredrick’s coupon worth $50 dollars. Next, the models show up. They are ten of the most beautiful women I have ever seennext to my wife, of course.


Fredrick's of Hollywood models
Fredrick’s of Hollywood models

I’m thinking this is the best job I have ever worked. I’ve already been paid, these women are gorgeous and I’m going to get to see them in lingerie, some see-through. Please don’t let me have a heart attack. 


After four hours, I’m thinking this is the worst job I’ve ever worked. I got money in my pocket I can’t spend, I’m looking at women I can’t have and my feet hurt from standing on the sidewalk after a full shift of patrol. I think I still have the coupon. Terri won’t wear a thong and I’m not wearing leopard underwear with snaps.




This pic is as close as I could find to a crazy old big busted blond lady who wears white.
This pic is as close as I could find to a crazy old big busted blond lady who wears white.

Crazy Mary as she was known to Hollywood cops from the 70’s into the new millennium. Mary was a large breasted blond women who most days could be seen in all white clothing. That is, when Mary chose to wear clothes. Her clothes were always clean and often resembled a toga. I never arrested Mary but I saw her for 3 1/2 decades, usually on Barham Boulevard or Forrest Lawn Drive or in the Hollywood Station holding tank. Mary should have been a volleyball director at a nudist camp. She just hated wearing clothes. Every so often a radio call would be broadcasted of a naked lady with blond hair. Experienced Hollywood cops would mutter, “Crazy Mary.” 


If Mary was arrested, she was brought to the station and placed in a holding tank. Mary would immediately take off her clothes and rub her breasts against the glass window. Try clearing out all the cops in the hallway outside the holding tank when Mary is visiting.


I once worked with a female probationer whose prior job was a grocery clerk at a supermarket in Studio City. She said that a young box boy from her market was fired for having sex with Mary in a car in the market parking lot. I think he was supposed to be bringing back the shopping carts. I’ll bet that box boy is now a staff officer on some police department.


2004 was the last time I saw Mary. She was living in a car on Forrest Lawn Drive near the Warner Brothers gate. She was living with a younger man who drove a motorcycle. Today I Imagine that somewhere Mary, now gray-haired, is standing in line at a bank waiting to cash her Social Security check and yea, she’s wearing all white.

At least for now.