The Call Box

The Call Box: Working Robbery

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

polic-call-box-pedestal-lapd-gamewell-DCAL2786_dt1In early 1965, I got an offer I couldn’t refuse. Not from Don Corleone but from Captain Ed Jokisch. I had been at Metro for five years, the last two as a sergeant—an absolute jewel of an assignment and one highly sought after. Now, however, I was offered a chance to not only work for probably the best detective commander on the job but to work robbery as well. The two “big dogs” in detective land are homicide and robbery. Now I had a chance to work robbery. This was not to be offered twice if turned down once.

Each division/station was home to not only patrol (uniforms) but to detectives as well. At that time, the L.A.P.D. had I believe 14 geographical divisions. I was to be assigned to Wilshire Division which is due west of downtown.

Wilshire was a fairly busy house, home to three robbery teams. I was to be a part of that crew.


Dwight Stevens and Richard L. Sullivan were the “’business robbery team.” Tom Ferry and Jim Nichols were “rolling business,” being cabs, buses, (yes, buses) Helms Bread trucks. Helms sold fresh baked goods door to door ringing their bell as they moved through the neighborhood, like the poor push-cart ice cream vendor (also a favorite target). I swear if there had been trains and stagecoaches, they would have hit them too.

Dale Brown “Brownie” and I rounded things out by working “street robbery,” which included purse snatchers, street toughs, muggers, hugger muggers (hookers), drunk rollers, pick-pockets and anything that did not fit any other category.


Papa Bear and Detectives cropped.jpg

The division was fairly large and stretched from the edge of the downtown area west to the “silk stocking” district—poverty to fabulous wealth. Mom and pops to Saks, I. Magnin and Perinos on the miracle mile.


Captain Jokisch was a no nonsense WWII veteran, a Navy chief petty officer, who did not suffer fools gladly and passed out compliments like they were gold nuggets. “You did okay there,” was considered high praise. To his face he was Boss, Skipper or Captain. In our little world, he was “Papa Bear.”

As I have said before, the TV detectives have CEO size offices. In our 19th century building we were (all six of us) crammed into a room, approximately 8’ x 10’ (I may be overly generous with my fading memory). One long table, four phones, 2 or 3 file cabinets and one antique manual typewriter. The standing joke was, “it was so small that if you wanted to change your mind, you had to step outside.” We were separated from the even smaller homicide room by an opaque glass partition ending several feet from the ceiling.

Arrestees that came in overnight were parceled out to the various teams and interviewed as early as possible to determine charges, if any, and whether they merited further investigation. The overnight crime reports were read also to decide future action.

Standing between us and the captain, was our immediate supervisor, Lieutenant Bob “Red Jet” Helder. I’d known him for years; he was laid back and great to work for. “I don’t like to be surprised. Make sure I’m not and you will never know I’m here.”

A good number of our cases contained little or nothing considered useful in follow up. We did re interviews on cases with vague or worthless descriptions if for no other reason than to placate our victims. Maybe—just maybe—we’d come up with something. When we got that something to “run with” we were all over it. We loved slamming the door on the type of bad guy we dealt with. Many our victims were older, defenseless people, some treated badly by the suspects.

These people were our clients and we took satisfaction in bagging another bad guy. We stayed busy since the only thing we had more of than victims was crooks. We handled so many bodies (arrestees) and cases it seemed we lived in court. 10-12 even 14 hour days were not uncommon.

I worked with Brownie for two and a half years and look back with pride and satisfaction. I worked for Papa Bear for two and a half years and got a couple of “You did okay there’s.” I worked Wilshire robbery for two and a half years and never heard judge nor jury say, “not guilty.”

A I have said before, police work is intangible and you have to take pride in what you do. I worked Wilshire robbery until I promoted out. Did I make a difference?

I like to think so.

This column is dedicated to all the names mentioned above.

All good friends, all good men and all gone to soon.

The Call Box

The Call Box: Another Copland Story

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPDpolic-call-box-pedestal-lapd-gamewell-DCAL2786_dt1



The 1958 TV season gave us a show wherein the narrator intoned, “There are seven million stories in the Naked City. This is one.”


I am willing to bet out there in “Copland,” there are at least that many stories just concerning the courts—quirky judges, inept attorneys, naïve victims, witless witnesses and dumb defendants.




For several years, there were numerous satellite courtrooms in downtown L.A. Most were in Chinatown on obscure side streets with no parking and most in double-wide trailers. I got stuck in one for several days one summer. The air conditioner was working overtime and not doing well. It was h o t !!  

The bailiff told me that the judge was able to manage so well due to the fact he wore only underwear under his robe and had a fan under his bench blowing up his robe. I verified that when I saw his bare legs as he left the bench.

Whatever works.




While working as a robbery detective, I once had an elderly female victim who was terrified of the thought of going to court.

 We got there early and I showed her how the system worked. I tried to bolster her courage and reassured her that the District Attorney would ask her some easy questions and to just tell the truth and not to volunteer any information.


We were in the courtroom early and our defendant was seated in the unused jury box along with several other prisoners. I asked my victim if she could find him in the courtroom. After some hints, she looked to the jury box and saw him. So far so good.


elderly-woman-Later, on the stand, she was asked if she saw the man in the courtroom who robbed her. She naturally looked to the last place she saw him, the jury box.

Even though he was seated at the counsel table in front of her, she leaned over in her chair and even half stood when the defendant (God bless him) waved at her as though to say, I’m over here. 

Don’t you just love it??

The Call Box

The Call Box: More Copland Stories

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

Copland stories

polic-call-box-pedestal-lapd-gamewell-DCAL2786_dt1The 1958 TV season gave us a show wherein the narrator intoned, “There are seven million stories in the Naked City. This is one.”

I am willing to bet out there in “Copland,” there are at least that many stories just concerning the courts—quirky judges, inept attorneys, naïve victims, witless witnesses and dumb defendants.

More stories:


There was the “sleeping” judge who, liked a “taste” now and then. He tended to nod off while court was in session. Rumor had it that his bailiff stood close by and when an attorney made an objection the bailiff made the decision and would tap the judges leg–one tap “sustained” and two taps for “overruled.”

True? I don’t know but that was the story and everyone knew the judge was a tippler.


One of our detectives spent a lot of time trying to locate an important witness. The detective left his business card everywhere and did not get a call. The cards in addition to name, rank, phone number, etc., had a preprinted (case number) DR#– — —. The officer filled in the number so when the party called he or she could match up the report. The first 2 numbers were the year and the next 6 were the report file number. It might look something like this DR# 65 456 789. When the witness was finally found, and asked why he hadn’t called, he swore he tried but the voice on the phone kept-telling him the number he dialed, DR# 65 456 789 was not a working number.

True? I don’t know, but funny.


Then there was the female judge known for her flamboyant and bizarre behavior. [check out Hal Collier’s post about another/same or same judge] Her chambers were done in pink including drapes which her pink poodle had chewed to ribbons (saw this myself). She had dated a Los Angeles motorcycle officer and during one of their squabbles threatened to “give him a .38 caliber vasectomy.” That bit of information flew round the P.D. like a shot.

On another occasion an attorney failed to make an appearance. After discovering he was in federal court, she sent her marshal to arrest him in the federal courtroom. The federal judge did not take kindly to this and had his federal marshal arrest the county marshal.

After showing her that he was “the alpha dog,” he released her marshal.



No poodles, motor officers, nor marshals were injured during this story.


For several years there were numerous satellite courtrooms in downtown L.A. Most were in Chinatown, on obscure side streets with no parking, and most in double wide trailers. I got stuck in one for several days one summer. The air conditioner was working overtime and not doing well. It was HOT! The bailiff told me that the judge was able to manage so well due to the fact he wore only underwear under his robe and had a fan under his bench blowing up his robe.

I verified that when I saw his bare legs as he left the bench. Whatever works.


The Call Box

The Call Box: Copland Stories

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

The 1958 TV season gave us a show wherein the narrator intoned, “There are seven million stories in the naked city. This is one.”

I am willing to bet out there in “Copland,” there are at least that many stories just concerning the courts: quirky judges, inept attorneys, naïve victims, witless witnesses and dumb defendants.

 I am going to share some of mine with you.



When I worked vice as a young officer I spent a lot of time in court—two, three, sometimes four times a week. Most of our “morals” cases were heard by Judge Ida Mae Adams. A sweet, tough, no-nonsense widow, she was tall and slender. She wore a pigtails wig, usually askew. She opened every court session with a prayer and woe unto those who did not show proper reverence. She would clasp her hands in prayer put her head down and pray aloud. She would also sneak a peek over the top of her specs. All us vice guys—usually eight or ten of us—all sat together front row right. Believe me, we “prayed up a storm.” She loved us.



This one day she must have seen something she didn’t like. All the guilty pleas were taken first (probably 95 % of the cases). Then she heard short quick trials— “he said, she said,” sort of thing. The “non-believer or non-prayer” defendant decided to test his luck. Five minutes later, he was found guilty. The judge asked his wife’s name and phone number then had the bailiff call her. The bailiff then handed the phone to the judge who told the wife that her husband had just been found guilty in her court of “resorting for the purpose of sexual intercourse with a prostitute.” She then told the wife, “He will be home in three days.”


Isn’t that double jeopardy?

Come back next Wednesday, March 1 for more Copland stories!

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.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Court 1

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

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

I’m going to shift gears from my Characters Ramblings. I received a lot of positive comments and I still have a few more Characters stories. I noticed that some officers were afraid that they might be remembered for an incident that they thought was long ago forgotten. Ha ha, no one is safe. I’m very careful about civil rights issues, statute of limitations, but revenge by another officer is forever.

The following stories are true. In the past I’ve talked about the fun and disappointments of working the streets. For every good arrest you make, there is a downside—court. The bad arrests never see a court room. Court is a part of the job that they don’t tell you about in those join the LAPD flyers. When you receive a subpoena to be in court, it’s never at your convince. You must appear.

It doesn’t matter what your work schedule is, or if you’re on a day off. Plan a four day trip out of town, have pre-paid tickets, non-refundable of course, and you’ll get a subpoena for one of the middle days of your trip. You work six days straight, you get one day off and then work another five days. You plan your day off, you’re going to sleep late and then sit around in your underwear all day. Wrong, you have court on your only day off in two weeks. Guaranteed, Murphy’s Law. Court was hit and miss. Some weeks you were in court four out of five days and other times no court for two weeks.

Court for four of the five watches is a nightmare. These are before the compressed work schedules. I spent thirty years under the old eight hour work day. If you work PM’s, you get off at midnight and have to be in court at 8:30 A.M. If you live sixty miles from the court house, do you drive home, grab a few hours’ sleep in your own bed, or do you try to sleep on a cot at the station for six hours and hope the desk officer wakes you?

If you work mid PM’s, you get off at 3:00 A.M. Do you try to sleep for four hours and then go to court or hope for three hours overtime? If you’re on AM’s you get off around 7 A.M., drink a couple cups of coffee, and then go to court. If you’re on day watch or mid days, you go to court on duty with a city car, have breakfast at the courthouse–it’s no sweat. You’re also not in as much of a hurry to get out early. If you’re held over after the noon break you can have a second meal on the city—that is, if you can afford two meals.

Speaking of money, they had a waiting room on the third floor for officers. Some officers would sleep if they just got off work. Some would read and a few would play cards. Not poker, just a friendly game of hearts. I watched one officer lose over a hundred dollars in a friendly game of hearts.

In the early days, if you’re off duty, you were compensated for three hours, no matter how long you were there. Some days you got out in thirty minutes and other days you help close the court room at 5:30 P.M. You only got three hours either way.

Court can be a one hour appearance or a nine hour marathon. Sometimes you can figure if you’re going to need to testify. You still have to show up or run the risk of getting a complaint. A failure to appear complaint can cost you days off without pay. Ouch. You also could have an angry judge issue a bench warrant for your arrest. Double ouch. When the judge is through with your butt, the department has its turn. It’s a kind of double jeopardy.

For over nineteen years, I’ve worked all night. I really want to go home and sleep before I have to go back to work. One of my last court appearances, I was working Day Watch. I walk into court and the DA isn’t there yet. I sit down and when the DA walks in, he declares, “I’ll take Morning Watch Officers first.” When he’s done talking to the sleepy cops. I walk up. I ask the DA, “Where the hell were you when I worked Morning Watch for nineteen years?” He tells me his dad was a cop and worked morning watch and knew that officers who worked all night needed to testify then go home and sleep. My kind of lawyer.

I show up for work after three days off. In Roll Call they give me a “be in court subpoena” for the next morning. Crap! My mind races, which dirt bag is this that I have to go to court for? Double crap, I remember this jerk, I found the evidence–I’ll have to testify. Triple crap, I didn’t bring my suit, I’ll have to go to court in uniform.

I’m proud of my uniform but walking to court in uniform, you become an information booth. “Officer, can you tell me where, this or that building is?” The questions were endless, I hated going to court in uniform. Some officers had an extra suit in their locker. I only owned one for weddings, funerals and court.

Once, I was in my suit walking to court. This guy comes up to me and asks for advice on a charge he was arrested for. He must have thought I was an attorney. Damn, I hate to think that I looked like one of those bottom feeders. I told him he needed to speak to his attorney or the Public Defender (PD). He persisted as we wait for the traffic light to change. I told him three times he needed to talk with his PD. Finally I told him, “I can’t advise you because I’m the officer that arrested you.” The snickers from the crowd around us were priceless. An hour later I testified against him. Dumb ass, no wonder he got arrested.

I worked with a sharp training officer during my probation. One time we were looking for a knife used in an ADW (Assault with a Deadly Weapon). I was searching on one side of the street and he was on the other side. He called me over and told me to look around here, pointing to the ground in front of him. I looked down and there was the knife. He smiled and said “you found it.” I was in court until after 3 P.M. He left after ten minutes. Valuable lesson learned—we both got three hours overtime.

Court parking was another story. All most all of my court was downtown. The first year or two I went to the old Hall of Justice. I remember walking past Charlie Manson’s girls during his murder trial. They had shaved heads and those swastika’s carved into their foreheads.

Parking changed over the years but free parking downtown for officers always involved a four to five block walk. Walk to court in the morning sun and walk back in the rain in the afternoon. The courts later moved to the Criminal Courts Building, a brand new building, but the wheels of justice didn’t turn any faster.

There are four different courts that I attended. Felony prelims, misdemeanor trials, felony trials, and civil trials. Prelims are a pretrial to see if there is enough evidence to hold a defendant over for trial. Misdemeanor trials are for minor offenses. Felony trials are for the real bad guys, robbery, murder, assaults anything that if convicted can send you to state prison for at least a year.

Civil trials can be something minor where one party is suing another party involved in a traffic accident you investigated. The other side is where someone is suing you for some act you committed or failed to commit. Being a defendant is not fun. Some officers had to homestead their house during a civil trial so they didn’t lose it to a low life who was suing them. Think about some career criminal sitting on your front porch smiling at your former neighbor’s daughter.

In my next court installments, I’ll describe some of the judges and court cases I was involved in. Some outside of law enforcement world think the court system is a well-oiled machine. My 1940 ringer/washing machine has more oil than our justice system. Yea, I really have one, pictures available for a minimal cash remittance. No checks or tokens to Angels Flight.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Hitting the Hole, Part 3 of Morning Watch

Here in Northern California, we called ‘Hitting the Hole’ something else–‘hitting the wall’. It’s when you’re so tired that you can’t keep your eyes open. If you’re in Dispatch, you normally cannot get up and walk around. You’re tethered (literally and figuratively) to the radio console. Imagine calling 911 and no one there to answer. Anyway, until Hal wrote about this, I didn’t know there was any other way of expressing it. Anybody heard any other terms for it?


By Hal Collier
If you’re still awake from my last Ramblings about working Morning Watch, this won’t put you to sleep! I’m going to talk about “Hitting the Hole.” It’s not what the non-police might think. Hitting the Hole was cop talk for catching a few winks in your police car on duty. Hitting the Hole may take two Ramblings—after all I worked nineteen years of Morning Watch.

I don’t know of any cop that never hit the hole on duty or any division that officers didn’t do it. In some divisions the officer and supervisors hit the hole together.

I can just hear the citizens and politicians yelling about our tax dollars paying the cops to sleep. Before you call for an investigation, I’ve seen some of our politicians asleep during civic meetings. Don’t we pay firemen to sleep every day? I could show you pictures of city workers sleeping in their trucks and these are all during the day after a night off.

I’m not going to justify sleeping on duty but sometimes your body just needs sleep. I’m going to give you an example. A cop works Morning Watch, he works all night, gets off at 7:00 A.M. He has to be in court at 8:30 A.M. He jumps into his court suit, grabs two cups of coffee and drives downtown. He checks in with the district attorney and discovers that the court has a full calendar. The officer is told that his case is low on the list of cases to be heard. The office slumps onto those hard wood benches and listens to numerous cases. The district attorney tells the officer his case won’t be heard until after the noon break.

After the noon break, the district attorney advises the officer that the defendant’s attorney has a trial in another court and yours might be the last case heard. Ok, it’s 3 P.M. and the officer spends ten minutes on the stand and is excused. The officer has now been up for over 24 hours. He drives home in rush hour traffic, grabs a quick bite to eat and tries to sleep. He has to be back at work in 4 hours.

Craig Bushey said that after a few days in court and working Morning Watch he was stopped twice by the same officer for possible DUI, on his way to work. Just tired, but the CHP officer asked Craig to take another Freeway to Hollywood.

Have you ever been really tired and know that you have to get up early? You look at the clock and think, if I get to sleep right now I’ll get four hours sleep. Thirty minutes, later you recalculate: if I get to sleep right now, I’ll get three and half hours sleep. You finally fall into that deep sleep. Then your alarm, or in my case my wife, wakes you. It’s time to get up and go to work. Your eyes burn and your head aches.

cops at Briefing  photo by Columbia Tribune
Cops at Briefing
photo by Columbia Tribune

You sit in roll call and try to stay awake. The Sergeant is passing out court subpoenas and he stops in front of you. Crap, you have court in the morning. Some might think this was a rare occasion, but it happened to me numerous time. I once spent three nights working and then three straight all day in court. Thank goodness that I was young and indestructible.

Some officers didn’t have the all-day court excuse. I knew one officer who was building a house with his father. He worked all night and the spent half the day doing construction work. Actually, he didn’t do much work in uniform. Other officers worked off duty jobs, like on movies, and didn’t get much sleep. The other group was just plain hung over. I remember a few nights where my partner was not in Roll Call. He met me in the parking lot and told me I was driving tonight.

Here’s my disclaimer. I hated hitting the hole. I had this fear that some terrorist was going to sneak up on our police car and shoot both me and my partner as we slept. I hope I die in my sleep but I didn’t want to in my 20’s and in a city car bought at the lowest bid.

When you’re on probation you do what your partner says and you keep your mouth shut. Most Hollywood cops only hit the hole for an hour or so. I often tried to convince my senior partner, let me drive up in the hills and you can sleep. I knew all the streets in the Hollywood Hills, including all of Laurel Canyon, before I got off probation. I could drive for an hour in the hills without getting lost.

I’m going to give you a few examples of my falling asleep on duty. I had a training officer, Rick Morton and we worked hard until about 4 A.M. when the radio calls died down and the dirt bags were either already in jail or had crawled under their rocks.
Rick always drove and he would park in this Cahuenga West alley that only ran for one block. He took a short nap and I caught up on the log. After he woke up, we would eat at Candy’s restaurant on Cahuenga West around 5:00. My story: I had been in court for three days and had about ten hours sleep in that time period. We parked in the alley. I was exhausted and thought to myself, “I’ll just put my head back on the head rest and close my eyes, just for a few minutes.” Well, you guessed it—I was sound asleep in minutes, no counting down the time.

Symbionese Liberation-Army photo from
Symbionese Liberation-Army photo from

I was in that deep sleep when a trash truck pulled into the alley behind us. I didn’t hear it drive in, I didn’t hear it roll out the Dipsey dumpster, I didn’t hear the motor where it raises the dumpster. When the trash truck dumped the trash with a loud bang, I shot out of my seat and banged my head on the ceiling of the police car. My heart was racing and Rick was telling me to calm down. Later I learned that a block away the SLA was dropping off their propaganda tapes at a radical radio station KPFK. Great sleeping spot, Rick.

Another night, Rick bought a rape report call. The rape occurred a week ago so it was only a report. That’s right, I’m going to write the report. We interview the alleged victim, who I suspect only reported the crime when the check bounced. We got the Readers Digest version of her account of the crime and Rick told me to have her sign the report. We then drove to an upper parking lot of Universal Studios. Rick slept while I wrote the report in my lap with a flashlight.

Another time Rick had actually gotten a good days sleep and offered to drive while I caught a few winks. I woke up to Rick singing Elvis songs over the police car PA system. I looked out the window and saw Beverly Hills street signs. Rick was a good cop but couldn’t sing.

Picking a proper “Hole” was an art and you often had to change locations. Next Ramblings, I’ll reveal for the first time some of the favorite sleeping “Holes” of Hollywood cops in the 70’s.


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