Roll Call

Roll Call: Short Dogs-Jack in the Box and 7-11

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Occasionally, on busy nights, I’d “buy” easy radio calls to ease up on the call load so the patrol cars could handle more important calls. At about 0130 a“415 Man” (man disturbing the peace) call came out at the Jack in the Box, Sunset and Ivar. The comments on the Mobile Digital Computer (MDC) read that the man had one leg and was on crutches. The man was approaching cars in the drive thru and he would ask the occupants for money. If they refused, the man would strike the vehicle with his crutches.

Mobile Digital Terminal (MDC) – interior of police car

I arrived at the location and saw the man approaching a car in the drive thru. I shined my flashlight on him and yelled for him to turn around and stop.

He turned and said “I ain’t doing nothing.” 

“Well, go do nothing somewhere else,” I said.

“I’m staying right here!” 

“Get moving or get arrested for trespassing. Your choice.”

He stood there looking at me and I said again, “Get moving!”

The man slowly turned to leave and as he did he kept looking back at me. Just as he turned his head away again, shots rang out north of my location. They sounded very close and as I jumped back into my unit, I looked at the man as he was heading west at top speed. I have NEVER seen a man in his condition move that fast! I believe to this day he thought I was shooting at him. He never looked back as he headed north on Cahuenga Boulevard!

The shots had come from a night club a couple of blocks north from me, but that is another story.


There is a 7-11 convenience store on Cahuenga Boulevard just north of Yucca Street in Hollywood Division that had an armed security officer working there. He covered the graveyard shift and for the most part, maintained pretty good control over the transients, the inebriants, the homeless who lived or frequented that area of Hollywood. If I was on patrol and wanted a cup of coffee, I’d stop by and drink a cup with the man.

The weekends in Hollywood always rocked! The smell of food from restaurants and fast food places filled the air. Then there was the thumping of the music, folks both locals and the tourists and their excitement made it a great place to work.

I was once asked if I would ever work Hollywood and I said no. When asked why, I answered, “If God gave LA an enema, he’d stick the tube in Hollywood. Just saying.” I did work Hollywood and I stayed there 10 great years. I fell in love with the division, but I digress.

It was a Saturday night and the division was spring-loaded for a wild night. You could feel it. At around 0100 a 211 (robbery) in progress call at the 7-11 was broadcast. A second call at the location stated that shots had been fired. The first unit on scene broadcasted a “Code 4 suspect GOA” (all is OK, suspect gone on arrival). I arrived on scene and saw that the officers were talking to the security officer, so I stood back and listened. As I looked around the inside of the business, I noticed bullet holes on several walls.

I just had to ask the security guy a question, so I interjected. I asked him if he had exchanged fire with the suspect and he said, “No.” 

I asked if the suspect had been armed, he answered, “He had a big knife.”

“Were those warning shots?”  

“Hell no, Sarge, I was trying to shoot the asshole, but he kept ducking and dodging!” 

Thank God none of the rounds had exited the store.    

Roll Call

Roll Call: Matt Dillon and the Hooded Gangsters

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

As the adjutant to the Hollywood Divisional Commanding Officer there was a lot things like additional duties, reports, work assignments that I could do myself or assign to personnel. One of the unpopular duties was to take celebrities out on patrol to show them what field patrol was like. One of the additional duties Hollywood Division got was taking actors out on patrol to “familiarize” them with some of the technical things patrol personnel do on a daily basis. I received a phone call from downtown that actors Matt Dillon and Ryan Phillippe were coming to the division for some of the technical training.  The men were going to co-star in the 2004 movie Crash.

Crash 2005

The captain felt that I should be the Hollywood supervisor to escort the actors during their “training” ride-along. I prepared for the assignment by asking downtown if this was a generic or specific purpose ride-along. I was told it was a generic, have a good time ride-along, cool. Matt and Ryan arrived on a Monday and the informal training started: the wearing of the uniform, hand-cuffing, searches (no, I did not teach Matt to search with the baton), the proper stance for a drawn weapon and so on. Ryan stayed the day but Matt wanted to come back the next day as well. He was very interested in learning what it was like being a police officer both on and off duty. He started observing things and got pretty good at it. I took him to jail division to watch the booking process and several of the “hand-cuffed to the bench” arrestees gave Matt some broad smiles when they recognized him. 

Our last night was very interesting. It was extremely busy, and I took him to any call that I thought he’d get something out of. We were stopped facing south on Las Palmas Avenue at Selma Avenue waiting for cross traffic when a west bound vehicle deliberately steered into us and turned away at the last minute. We had just been baited for a following or a “stop us if you dare.” I started a following and explained to Matt what was happening. There were four occupants in the ride ahead and they all had their hoods up over their heads. I explained to Matt that our chances of getting back-up in a timely manner would be difficult and the civilian traffic would make it difficult for any kind of proper stop. AND I told him that the remainder of the year and the beginning of the next would be the worst for me if HE was injured or seriously killed.

Matt Dillon
Ryan Phillippe

I checked the plate and found no wants or warrants, the address came back to a residence in the south side of the city. I looked over at Matt and his eyes were as big as saucers.

He looked at me and asked, “Do you smoke?” 

I said “no.”

He asked, “Do mind if I light up a cigar?” 

As we were pulling into the parking lot of Hollywood station, Matt said, “You said my charter is a training officer, and would have two stripes.” 

“Yup” was my reply. 

“You are a Sergeant; could you be a training officer too?”

“I’m training you. I’m gonna were three stripes if I can swing it, thanks for all of your help.”

Matt went on to get nominated for best supporting actor in his role. The day of the Academy Awards, I arrived at the station and walked into the watch commander’s office heading for the sergeant’s room when one of my female officers and a female communications tech stopped me.  

“Sarge, Matt Dillon called for you. I recognized his voice, and here is his number.”

I looked at his number then at the two women. They had that LOOK in their eyes.

“No, I’m not calling him now.” 

Later on that night I arrived to Hollywood and Highland to where the awards were being held and saw an off-duty copper I know who was working security for event, in a tux, ear piece and all.

“Dave, when Matt Dillon comes out, let him know I’m here.”

“What?” Dave asked.

I repeated myself and I told him that he was expecting me. Fifteen minutes later, Matt and his entourage came out of complex and Dave approached Matt. Matt spotted me and waived me onto the red carpet. I was introduced to his people and after a warm conversation; he went to his parties and went back onto patrol.

The Call Box

Roll Call: Short Dogs

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

The Yellow Van and the Robbery Suspect


It was late 1990 and I was working Wilshire Division day watch patrol as a new field sergeant. Wilshire Division is bordered on the north by Hollywood Division, on the west by West Los Angeles Division on the east by Rampart Division and on the south by South West Division. At about 1130am I monitored a broadcast of a robbery that had just occurred in South West. The suspect was described as a heavy set male black, driving a yellow van, last seen south bound on La Brea Boulevard. I was stopped for a red light at Washington and La Brea facing south when I spotted a yellow van approach the interaction going north. The South West robbery suspect was last seen proceeding south on La Brea. The lettering on the van identifyed it as rental van. I radioed my location and asked communications to ask the South West unit if the van had writing on the sides. I was told that there was, and they added that it had a number on the back.

LAPD_Bell_206_JetrangerAs the light changed, the van passed me and sure enough the number matched the one given to me by the unit. I communicated that I was following the van NORTH bound on La Brea, requested back-up and settled in for a possible pursuit. I heard an air unit was enroute, so I hung back. The van proceeded into a residential neighborhood, pulled to the curb and the driver exited. I set up a felony stop, shot gun and all, and told the heavy-set driver to prone out. He turned and ran up a drive way into a back yard. The air unit was now over head and the observer told me to start star walking north.

“A little faster, Sarge,” the observer said, so I picked up the pace. I passed three residences and was approaching the last house before the end of the block when I was told to run to the end of the block and take cover facing east, so that’s what I did.

“Wait for it, Sarge.” Looking east I could see a wooden fence paralleling the street, west to east and the sidewalk next to it. This time the observer chucked as he said, “Here they come.”

They, here they come?

hurry-up-2785528_960_720I had my weapon drawn, facing east when the frail wooden fence shattered into pieces as the suspect ran right through. Behind him were a pit bull and a mutt in hot pursuit!

The guy saw at me and began yelling, “Shoot the dogs, shoot the dogs!!”

The aircrew must have been laughing hard because I heard the engine whining down (pilot not paying attention) but my attention was on our robbery suspect. The dogs got alarmed when they saw the vehicle traffic did a 180 and headed for home.

“Shoot the dogs,” ran into a responding black and white and the rest is history.

You know for a heavyset guy, he was running pretty good. Well, he was highly motivated!

Morning Watch and the Flying Badge


It was late 1990 and I was woLAPD sgt badge movie prop etsyrking morning watch at Wilshire as a patrol sergeant. Our end of watch was 0800 but I had a report to finish and didn’t leave the station until 1030. I was on my way home eastbound on the I-10, the Santa Monica portion and this time of the morning the traffic still stinks. My patience is boarding the edge of—well, I’m tired and when I get home I have a couple of “honey do’s” to complete before sleep. Drive time, 45 minutes. Crossing the Harbor freeway, the traffic lightened up, so we picked up the speed. I’m in the #2 lane and a yellow city dump truck is in the #1 lane. As we transition from the east bound I-10 to the north bound I-5, the truck—without signaling—cuts me off! Had I not slammed on the brakes, we’d have had a terrific collision. Now I’m going to catch up to the truck and let the guy know who he just cut off! I take my badge place it into my left hand. The badge pin is between my middle and index finger. I catch up to the truck who is back in the #1 lane and now I’m next to him, I roll down my window and as he looks over at me, I produce my badge out the window…….and my badge is yanked out of my hand by the rush of wind! It’s gone, rolling down the freeway. My almost new sergeant badge is GONE!

Told you I was tired, lacking any judgment and now my badge was gone. I got off the freeway and went back to the location.

Somewhere in badge heaven that badge is telling the story of the first and last knuckle head he was with.

I sure showed that driver, huh?

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Lost Again

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

In my last Ramblings, I described being assigned radio calls outside your division. I will now describe being loaned to another division and still getting lost. Officers from within the same Bureau would often get loaned to a division to cover for Christmas parties and picnics. Some divisions would have a few division street guides for the loan officers. Loaned officers and sergeants were usually the boot (rookie) sergeants and younger officers—it was a seniority thing. Some officers liked working a different division.

I hated it.


NIH_PoliceDuring my thirty-five years on the LAPD we didn’t have the fancy GPS gadgets that come standard in cars and cell phones today. We sometimes had to ask for directions or depend on our instincts. It helped if you knew which way north was.

Some officers didn’t.


I was loaned to Wilshire Division one cold winter night for their Christmas party (we called it Christmas in the olden days). It was slow. Most crooks didn’t want to spend Christmas in jail. We mostly stayed on busy north/south streets looking for drunk drivers. About 3 A.M., we ran into a couple of Hollywood cops also on loan. We chatted that we only had a few more hours and we could go home to Hollywood.


man with a gunFive minutes later the other Hollywood officer requested a backup on a 415 (peace disturbance) man with a gun. We knew we were close but didn’t recognize the street they were on.

Oh shit, we didn’t have a Wilshire street guide.


As usual, I’m driving and I speed up. I can feel the adrenalin surging through my veins but I don’t know where I’m going. Did the officers turn left or right when they drove off? I’ll make a note of that for officer safety sake next time I’m on loan. I race around north of my location. Common sense says they turned right at the next street. Wrong, they turned left. I found them but it was a lot later than either of us expected or wanted. Thank goodness everything turned out ok. 

I hated being loaned outside my comfort zone.


Next: another loan where I lost the station.


Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings Reprise: Foot Beat Stories 3

The following are a reprise of Hal’s favorite posts–Foot Beat Stories. Today’s is 3 of 4 first posted in 2013. Next week will feature the wind up of his foot beat stories and the week after, readers will enjoy new material from Hal Collier. –Thonie

I’m re-posting this as it didn’t go out over social media on Sunday as it’s supposed to. –Thonie

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

The following stories are true to best of my fading memory.  I only worked a foot beat for 3 1/2 years but boy, did I pack a lot of fun into those 42 months.  I just spent a month learning how to walk in the daylight. Now, I’m off to mid PM’s which is a little different.  I’m going to work with “Dan”—another long time foot beat officer.


At the time, Hollywood Division had two officers name Dan. One was referred to as the “crazy” Dan.  Lucky for me I worked with the other one, but there was some debate on that.  Ok, I’m going to be working in the dark. I’ve got the walk down, I can do bar and porno theater checks, but I’m going to miss London Britches and the Artisan’s Patio.


Dan was a lot different than J.J. Brown.  Dan was younger, had less patience and was quicker to anger. This should be fun and a challenge. Dan was working his way up to the Gene Fogerty style of a foot beat cop: my Boulevard, my rules and no questions.


Dan carried a straight baton just like the rest of us, but he attached a leather thong which allowed him to spin it as he walked along. It was right out of the 50’s.


My first night walking with Dan, he suggested we eat at Ernesto’s, an Italian restaurant next to the Egyptian Theater. You know, working nights might be nice. On Morning Watch we only had few places to eat, Copper Penny, Copper Skillet and Pinks if you ate before 1 A.M.


We sat in a booth at Ernesto’s and the waiter greeted Dan like a brother. He brought us each a cup of coffee, but no cream. I’ll suffer. I took a sip, it’s not coffee–it was red wine. I don’t want to spoil the mood but I don’t drink wine and switch for a cup of coffee.


A few weeks later we finish a meal at Ernesto’s, lasagna and garlic bread. I’m going to need an hour to walk off dinner. It’s Saturday night and Hollywood Boulevard is packed.  Traffic is bumper to bumper in both directions. We see this jerk in a pick-up truck let the car ahead of him move up 30 feet.  He then pops the clutch, spinning the tires then slams on the brakes.


Dan says, “I’ll show you how we handle these type of guys.”  We walk between cars and up to the truck that’s stopped. We both approach the driver’s window.  Dan reached in and removed a 40 ounce bottle of beer. Dan then grabbed the driver’s hands while I reached in to shut off the ignition. Traffic in front of us cleared and the driver popped the clutch. The truck lurched forward spilling Dan and me into the middle of Hollywood Boulevard.


The truck made a quick right turn on Mc Cadden and almost hit a guy on a motorcycle. The guy on the motorcycle is pissed and he says to Dan, “hop on” and well go get him.  Dan declines—see, he’s not the crazy one. The guy in the truck sped up and slammed into a light pole. Guess he couldn’t drive without a 40 ounce of beer between his legs.


This is where it really got fun. The guy in the truck staggered out of his now wrecked truck and was planning his escape. This stranger on a motorcycle tells the truck driver hop on, the cops are coming. The truck driver jumps on the back of the motorcycle and the motorcycle guy turns around and dumps the felon at our feet. Bet you never saw that on Adam 12. No one would have believed it. 


A week later Dan and I were standing in front of our Captain. Apparently our foot beat tactics and Boulevard Rules were not the same as department rules. We both got a notice to correct.


I learned many more lessons on walking a foot beat and now I’m ready to fly on my own, on Morning watch.


Dan and his partner Tim’s police careers were cut short a few months later when their police car was rear ended by a drunk driver. They both suffered back injuries and had to be pensioned off. We lost two good cops and a wealth Hollywood Boulevard foot beat experience.


Next chapter, it’s my foot beat and I’ll have to prove I’m worthy.     Hal 

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Practical Jokes

By Hal Collier, LAPD Retired

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

The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the embarrassed. Everyone who was working at the Hollywood Police Station at the time, knows who the involved parties are. My past stories have been true police incidents followed by true practical jokes. The incidents I’m about to tell you will about cover the whole page, all involving the same officers. I will use a first name only to describe them. I did not personally participate in this practical joke but I was aware of it and didn’t object. Feel free to pass this story on, I checked with the ACLU and the statute of limitations have expired.


I’m going to have to go into a little background for my non-police friends who read my stories. Each police division is divided into areas. Each area is assigned a police or “A” Car. Remember “1 Adam 12?” Each ‘A” car has a Senior Lead Officer who is responsible for the activities of the “A” car on all three watches. Each “A” car will have its own Black and White (police car) assigned to it. That Black and White is supposed to only be used by the officers working that “A” car. Brand new police cars are always given to the “A” cars. Ok, if you are going to drive the same police car for the next six months to a year, you’re more inclined to take care of it. You keep it clean, inside and out and avoid dents and dings.


Here is where my story begins. Paul was a Senior Lead Officer in Hollywood and took pride in his Black and White. He made sure it was washed and serviced regularly. Paul’s downfall was that he cared too much about his car. If an officer on the previous watch was on overtime with Paul’s car, Paul would drive to his location to exchange cars. If an officer checked out Paul’s car who was not assigned to his car, Paul complained to the Watch Commander. I was a Senior Lead Officer for nine years and can understand Paul being protective of his car, but I also figured, the car belongs to the city. Paul was working Day Watch, that’s like 7 A.M. to 3 P.M.


Paul’s protective nature of his police car irritated some of the officers on the previous watch, that’s 11 P.M. to 7A.M. The first inkling that something was wrong was when Paul drove out of the police station parking lot and heard a clinking sound coming from the wheels. He drove to the police garage and had the hub caps removed. There were rocks in each hub cap. This went on for weeks. The officer, I’ll call Gary, who was putting the rocks in the hub caps either grew tired of that tactic or ran out of rocks.


This is not anywhere near the end of the story. Gary next placed a ball bearing inside the driver’s door. It must have been the size of a large marble. Now you might be thinking, what’s that going to do? Well, a ball bearing rolls. Inside a car door it rolls back and forth. Now just think of a two mile trip to the market. Every time you accelerate the ball bearing rolls to the back of the door. Every time you brake the ball bearing rolls to the front of the door. Each back and forth motion ends with a metallic clank. OK, now that you have the picture in your mind, imagine spending eight hours in a police car. That’s an average of 30 miles a day, every stop, “clank”, every start “clank”. How many starts and stops are there in 30 miles of city driving? I’m sure a Cal-Tech graduate could figure it out but to a street cop it amounts to a jacket with sleeves tied in the back and a rubber walled room. 


Paul took the car to the police garage and had the door panel removed but they couldn’t get that damn ball bearing out. About a year later I was driving this same black and white. I slammed on the brakes and that ball bearing rolled forward ending with a “clank.”  I think it had been stuck in the grime in the bottom of the door panel and I freed it. Oh crap, I wonder if those jackets come in extra-long sleeves? I honestly believe that somewhere in L.A. there’s an old taxi cab with a ball bearing inside the door waiting to be released.


This is still not the end of the story. One bright sunny Saturday, Paul got his vehicle keys from the equipment officer and walked out into the parking lot. After three trips walking around the parking lot, Paul couldn’t find his car. He suspected foul play, so he walked across the street to the police garage. Sure enough there was Paul’s police car sitting next to the gas pumps. It was sitting on four milk crates with tires removed. A note on the windshield said Paul “your tires are in the property room, have a nice day”.


I’m sure this was not the highlight of Paul’s long outstanding career, but I often think of Gary and the amount of work involved. Bringing all those rocks to work. How he got that ball bearing inside the car door and who jacked up that car. He took all four tires off. The tires were then rolled across the street and placed in the property room, which means he had to walk past the Watch Commanders office. Some practical jokes are a lot of work.


If I recall, the Watch Commander said “enough” and things returned to normal, if that’s possible in the Los Angeles Police Department at Hollywood Division.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Characters, Jimmy Long Stick

The following stories are true to the best of my memory which is considered good. That’s because I still remember to wear my own underwear and shave with the black razor not the pink one. The character is alive, retired and living under an assumed name in Idaho. Bud Arce, aka “Jimmy Long Stick.”

First, my stories.

I’m sure that most cops have been fooled by crooks but they won’t admit it to anyone. Well, I was fooled a few times but I tried not to be fooled twice by the same con.

It’s Saturday night, we see a car full of gang members conduct a California rolling stop. For my non police friends that’s rolling through a stop sign. Whatever it’s called, it’s probable cause to stop the car and see what these hombres are up to. Before the liberal courts limited what officers could do on a traffic stop, this was a free ticket to get everybody out of the car, search them for weapons and check them all for warrants. So we figure we have a good catch.

Most cops are out hunting elephants (big game) not a traffic ticket. We stop the car and the driver immediately tells us, “The guys with the guns just turned the corner. If you hurry you can catch them. They are driving a blue Chevy.”

Oh shit, bad guys with guns? We got to catch them. We jump back into our cruiser and speed around the corner. Two blocks later we figure we’ve been screwed. I had visions of these gang members driving around, laughing at the dumb cops who are chasing non-existent crooks. I spent months looking for their car.

To my credit, it was tried a half dozen other times, but I only chased the phantom men with guns once. “Bird in the hand better than two in the bush.”

Here’s a story that still haunts me.  I’m driving eastbound on Virginia Avenue from Western. It about 3 A.M. and Virginia turns into Oxford. This northbound VW comes around the corner and almost hits us. Shit, I make a quick U-turn and watch as the VW turns southbound into an alley. Damn, he’s trying to lose us. I turn into the alley and see the VW only 250 feet ahead of us. OK, we got him now!  I watch as the VW glances off a telephone pole and continues southbound. The alley runs into Flemish Lane. I’m closing and arrest is certain. The VW is slowing down and about to cross Santa Monica Boulevard.  I was relieved when it clears cross traffic and rolls up a driveway into a parking lot. The VW crashes into a parked car. We stop behind the VW and order the driver out. No response. We approach and discover the VW is now empty.

I look at my partner and he has the same “Aw shit” look on his face that I have. The driver must have bailed out in the alley before we turned into it. The suspect jumped out while it was moving and it continued through the alley and across Santa Monica Boulevard. The VW was stolen, so we have a Recovered Vehicle Report, a Traffic Accident report at two locations: once when it hit the telephone pole and the second collision when it hit the parked car. That’s it, we’re done for the rest of the night.

We finish all the reports and submit them to the Watch Commander for approval. He reads all the reports and then tells us we shouldn’t have taken the Traffic Accident reports.

He said the car crash was City Property Involved (CPI) by influence. In other words, because we were chasing this guy we sort of caused the accident. We could have saved ourselves hours of reports if we knew better. I’ll learn as you’ll see in my next story.

I’m driving southbound Western approaching Santa Monica. The car in front of me makes a left turn right through the red light. He’s weaving back and forth. He’s drunk. He is now entering the Hollywood Freeway. Damn, this guy is very drunk and now he’s going to get on the freeway. We turn on the red lights and give the siren a quick blast. Nothing, he has now accelerated to 35 mph and is weaving between two traffic lanes.

My partner picks up the microphone and says I’m putting us in pursuit. I tell him, “No wait, just say were following a possible DUI.” Once you say pursuit, a sergeant has a bunch of paperwork to complete and he won’t be happy. The entire police department will listen as you follow a drunk at 35 mph—not the stuff Joe Wambaugh writes about. So we broadcast were following, not in pursuit, of a drunk driver southbound on the Hollywood Freeway. The drunk makes it all the way to the four level interchange in downtown L.A. before he crashes. We get him out of the car and of course he’s not hurt. Drunk drivers are never hurt in crashes.

The CHP shows up and wants to know, did the drunk know you were following him? I say, “No.”  No CPI. We give the whole thing to the CHP and go have a Pinks Hot Dog.  My sergeant is happy, no pursuit report. The driver had an alcohol level of .30, almost 4 times the legal limit now.

See, sometimes I learn a lesson.

Character: Jimmy long Stick

This Hollywood Character didn’t work Hollywood for his entire career, like some of us, but he made an impression with everyone he was around. Unlike my other stories, I wasn’t present for some of these incidents but they have been passed down from different officers and are just too funny not to share.

Most of the stories I’m about to describe are true and can be verified by no less than six registered Republicans, some sober. Before the political correctness illness took over the LAPD, cops had a lot of fun while still doing a difficult job. It’s how cops deal with the horrors they see on a daily basis. Practical jokes were a way of life in the LAPD.

The first few stories involve a captain that was at Hollywood during the early 70’s. He was a drunk and often could be seen driving around Hollywood with his wife during the late night hours. I once got a call to back up the captain on Sunset Boulevard with a drunk man. My captain was wrestling this drunk in the parkway. I arrived and the captain said, “The drunk was about to stagger out into traffic.”  It was a toss-up who was drunker.

The Captain’s Office was next door to the station in the old Hollywood Receiving Hospital. The building was also the offices of Narcotics or Vice. Anyway officers would come into the building late at night and find the captain passed out in his office on the floor. I heard that Jimmy Long Stick would place a card with the date and time in front of the passed out Captain and take a picture. I believe it was called insurance.

This captain was also a smoker and was constantly patting his pockets to find his cigarette package. It was rumored that Jimmy Long Stick would place snails in his pockets and wait for him to pat his pockets.

I know there are many other Jimmy Long Stick stories but I’m going to finish up with a story that legends are made from. Jimmy Long Stick was working Hollywood Detectives and he had to go to New Mexico to pick up a couple of wanted persons. Jimmy Long Stick and Dave Lovestedt, another Hollywood character, were given the task to drive an unmarked city car to New Mexico and pick up these miscreants. They arrived the night before they were due to take the suspects back and decided to spend some of the per-diem the city gives officers for overnight extraditions.

The local constable usually shows the Detectives the town’s sights which might include a cantina or two. The sun rises and Dave Lovestedt awakes in the hotel room alone. He notices that their city car is gone as well as Jimmy Long Stick. Maybe Jimmy Long Stick went for a little food. Dave sits on the bed and turns on the TV to the local news channel. Instead of news the founding fathers parade is on the TV. Dave sits back and wondering where Jimmy Long Stick is, watches the parade.

The parade is the usual small town parade, high school band, local dignitaries, an equestrian unit or two. As the end of the parade appears on the TV, Dave sees a dark police-type car, very similar to the one they drove to New Mexico. Dave leans forward and watch’s as the TV camera zooms in on the last entry in the parade. That’s right it’s Jimmy Long Stick, leaning out the car window, waving to the crowd. True story.

Your probably wondering why Bud Arce was called Jimmy Long Stick. I was wondering the same thing so I asked him. After a distinguished career with the LAPD, Bud Arce retired and moved to Idaho. Now Bud is half-Mexican and it was easier to blend in as a native Indian than Mexican. So Bud Arce became “Jimmy Long Stick.”

Bud Arce, another Hollywood Character.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Hollywood Sign and Georgia Jones

First, my apologies for the tardiness of this post. We’ve been out of town all week and hubby and I both came down with a nasty flu. Being sick in a motel room–no matter how nice–is awful. I’m just now feeling like I could return to the land of the living. So here you are!


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 and the character are icons in Hollywood. The character is very dear to my heart as well as any cop who worked Hollywood in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and into the 21st century.  Character: Georgia Jones


The subject of my story is known to everyone. Cops, non-cops, cops who worked Hollywood, cops who never worked Hollywood, people who never have been in Hollywood. That’s right that famous landmark the “HOLLYWOOD” sign. 


There are two major companies that protect their copyright infringement with a vigor that is unmatched. The first is Disney. They will take you to court in a heartbeat for any infringement of a Disney logo or character. Try buying a non-licensed Mickey Mouse piñata downtown. The other is the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce—try using a reproduction of the Hollywood sign without their expressed written permission.


All police stations have T-shirts, baseball caps and jackets with the division name and a logo. The station would sell them and use the profit for the station fund. Well, Hollywood Division had the Hollywood Sign on Jackets, T-shirts, coffee cups and whatever you can think of to sell. After a short while we were informed by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that we had infringed on their copyright of the Hollywood Sign. They agreed to let us sell our T-shirts as long as we agreed to respond to their calls for police service. You can’t blackmail the cops.


I don’t know of a cop alive who worked Hollywood that wasn’t asked at least once by a tourist, “How do I get to the Hollywood Sign?” The sign itself is on a very steep hill just below Mt. Lee. It was recently replaced and is all metal. You can still see where graffiti is spray painted on the bottom of the letters which are 45′ tall. The sign is world famous and can be seen for miles away, even in the smog. 


Tourists think they can drive up to the sign and have a picture taken in front of which ever letter suits their whim. Trust me, I’ve been on that hill many times and it’s all you can do to keep from falling downhill a hundred feet. Hollywood officers often get calls that vandals are at the sign. The sign was originally Hollywoodland, a housing development in the 1920’s.


Over the years the sign’s letters have been covered up to reveal different messages, some approved, some just pranks. The following is a list and the meaning.


HOLLYWEED= The California legalize marijuana initiative




FOX= Fox changed to a network 1987




OLLYWOOD= Iran-Contra Hearings


OIL WAR= Gulf War


SAVE THE PEAK= To prevent a housing project from building near the sign—2010  

The sign is now surround by a fence and a motion detector system to prevent vandalism and trespassers. Hopefully, “Occupy LA” won’t take up residence. By the way, the view of Los Angeles from the sign is spectacular. 


Character: Georgia Jones


Georgia Jones was a fixture at Hollywood Station for over three decades.  Georgia was the property officer. All evidence booked by officers had to go through Georgia. To some this might not sound like a big deal, but think about losing a big case because evidence was not properly handled or booked correctly. Georgia knew all the rules and wouldn’t settle for anything less. As a young cop, I’d get a message go see Georgia in Property. I learned that it can’t be good, I must have screwed up. Georgia was pleasant and helpful unless you crossed her.


Georgia came to Hollywood in the early 70’s, when we were in the old station. The Property Room was in the basement next to the men’s locker room. If I remember correctly, the locker room and property room were separated by a make shift wall with chicken wire at the top for ventilation. Thirty years later I’m a grizzled old sergeant and Georgia admits to me that if she stood on her chair she could watch the officers dress!


I once arrested two burglars on Whitley Terrace. In the trunk of their car was a 6 ft. glass table top. I knew it was stolen—come on—no one takes their table top out for a midnight drive. I booked it into property during off hours. Georgia comes in the next day and is looking for me. I’m too big to hide in the report writing room.  She has no room for this damn table and tells me it should have been booked down town. I think Georgia liked me because she said it could stay until they found the owner.


They never found the owner and Georgia worked around that table top for a whole year. I know because I heard about it every few weeks. At the end of the year they clean out the excess property and take it downtown. The glass table top was dropped during loading and shattered. Now I hear about that damn table top every time I see Georgia.


My last few years I worked in the Watch Commanders office and every weekday morning Georgia would come in and collect the property that was booked during the off hours. Georgia would give me a list of the officers that needed to see her. I remember one young officer who disagreed with Georgia about the proper way to book evidence. I sat him down and explained book it Georgia’s way or expect to get everything you book, kicked back for the rest of your career at Hollywood.


As the Watch Commander, most mornings Georgia would bring me a handful of follow up reports where she fixed an error for some officer. Most officers didn’t know that she did took care of them but I knew.


Georgia was loved by everybody and when she retired a few years ago, Hollywood Division lost a legend as well a great friend.  Every time I hear Willie Nelson or Ray Charles sing “Georgia on My Mind,” I think of Georgia Jones, a true Hollywood Character.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: More Characters–Mean Lawrence

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 and the character is, or should I say was, real. He passed away years ago. Lawrence Mescher (sp)

First my story: I’m not the most computer-literate person in the Western Hemisphere. I’m always asking kids to fix some problem with my lap top. My generation didn’t grow up with computers. Hell, we had to read the instructions on a new calculator. Our kids taught us how to play the Atari games.

When I made sergeant in 1993, my new captain said that all paperwork shall be completed on the computer. The dumb ass that I am, I raised my hand and advised him that I didn’t know how to use a computer. He rolled his eyes and said we’ll teach you.

A little knowledge is dangerous. I got a ten minute lesson and dived into my first project. I deleted a whole page that took me an hour to complete. I missed the part where they teach you the save key.

My police department has a policy that anything you turn in is called “Completed Staff Work.” Completed Staff Work means no abbreviations, proper grammar, spelling, and everything else I forgot from English class. I signed up to be a cop not an editor for the Encyclopedia Britannica.

As computer dumb as I am there are some cops out there with less skill. Flash forward a few years. I’m learning to use the computer and I can even load paper and unjam the printer. I come to work one morning and after writing a report I press the print button on my computer. The printer is in the Sergeants room behind the Watch Commanders Office. My computer replies that the printer is not working. I check the printer and discover that the printer is jammed with paper. No problem. I unjam the paper and the printer begins to print commands that were sent to it hours earlier.

I figure I’ll look over the newly printed documents and return them to the author. I stumble across an e-mail by a Hollywood sergeant to another sergeant in another division. The e-mail describes his current lieutenant and what a waste of uniform and air this lieutenant is. He goes on to blast the Police Departments promotion process and if this individual ever makes a decision the sergeant might have a heart attack.

These kinds of comments about your boss are not career builders. I agreed with the sergeant’s assessment, but Jeeze, don’t write it down where it might fall into the wrong hands. I sneaked the e-mail to the sergeant and became an accomplice. The lieutenant promoted and the sergeant and I stayed in patrol, which is where we wanted to be in the first place. Sergeants name (RJ) available for a coupon for a car wash.

Hollywood Character: Lawrence Mescher

Lawrence won’t be known to a lot of the officers who came to Hollywood after the 80’s but some of the early cops will recognize him, not by name but by his reputation. Lawrence hated the cops and the feeling was mutual. He was a thief, a pack rat and often made complaints against any officer who questioned his behavior. Lawrence could be found standing in front of a news rack on Hollywood Boulevard, usually after midnight. Lawrence always had a stack of new newspapers under his arm.

I remember once I got a complaint from a businessman about some bum living in a car. I approach the car and it’s filled with junk. I mean the only place to sit down is the driver’s seat. There’s a six inch pile of papers on the dash. Lawrence is sitting behind the wheel. I ask for his driver’s license. Lawrence replies, “I want your business card and badge number.” I tell Lawrence, “It will be on the vehicle impound report when I take your car.” Lawrence pleads, “Don’t take my car.” I’m amazed when Lawrence pulls his driver’s license out from the middle of the pile of papers—and it’s valid. I won this one. Lawrence moved his car.

Later, Lawrence became a training tool for young probationers. A training officer would see Lawrence and advise the rookie that Lawrence was an arson suspect, which he was. He always seemed to be close by whenever there was a trash can fire. The idea was that Lawrence always gave the police a hard time, refusing to ID himself, demanding the officer’s business card and threatening to make a complaint. This was a good training tool for a rookie. The rookie learned that he was in charge and not to back down to someone just because they threatened to complain.

Lawrence was also a thief. He would stand in front of the news rack until he was sure that the police weren’t around then jimmy the coin slot and take all the newspapers. The newspaper guys couldn’t figure out why their racks were empty and no money was in the coin box.
Lawrence was found dead in a motel on Sunset Boulevard. The motel room was filled with unread newspapers. I’d tell you what Lawrence was doing when he died but it might not be appropriate.
I don’t think any Hollywood officers shed a tear.


Ramblings by Hal

Police Burglars, part one

By Hal Collier
December 7. A day that will live in infamy! No, not that fateful day in 1941 but that day in 1981. I know what you’re saying, Hal has lost his mind, nothing eventful happened on December 7, 1981. Well, it did for me and all LAPD cops. That was the day that Jack Myers and Ron Venegas, LAPD cops, were arrested for committing burglaries on duty in uniform in Hollywood.

This Ramblings has taken a long time to write and I still find it hard to talk about it 3 decades later. This was as personnel as losing a partner and attending his funeral. I still feel the pain.

Ok, a little background. As you probably know by now, I worked Hollywood Patrol for 33 years of my career. I took pride in my being a LAPD cop and Hollywood being one of the best police divisions. I busted my butt to keep crime down and earn the respect of the citizens who paid my salary.

I also had a lot of fun and many days I couldn’t believe that they were paying me. If you didn’t have fun in this job you were doing it wrong and headed for one of those coats with long sleeves that tied in the back!

The following opinions are mine alone and certainly differ from those of the LAPD Command Staff. I was there. It happened all around me and I didn’t need a blue ribbon panel to tell me how it happened. That is, after it was discovered.

First, let me give you my opinion of the two main players. Jack Myers was a senior officer. I wasn’t fond of Jack and didn’t care for his style of police work. Ron Venegas was a very likable officer and popular among the Morning Watch Officers and Supervisors. Jack and Ron both played softball with the watch in Griffith Park on Sundays mornings. I knew Ron’s wife and kids by name and even attended a Christmas party at Ron’s house.

As I related earlier I was working a Morning Watch Foot Beat when the watch commander told me that they were disbanding the foot beat to make room for a new Burglary Alarm car. It was called the “Code 30” car. They would respond to all burglary alarms, of which in Hollywood there were many. The officers picked were Jack Myers and Ron Venegas. I’m guessing that sometime down the road the LAPD found that decision a major disaster. Venegas and Myers were close friends who both lived in Simi Valley. They worked movie jobs off duty together and I’ll bet they considered themselves good partners!

I was assigned back to my patrol car and my area was Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards with most of the major Hollywood businesses. I began to notice an increase in business burglaries in my area. I was an addict of reading the Daily Occurrence or D/O sheet. The D/O sheet listed all the crimes that occurred the day prior. I paid particular attention to crimes in my area and looked for patterns that might lead to an arrest.

So every day I’d sit in roll call and ignore the Watch Commanders speech on how the brass was going to make my job easier and study the D/O sheet. I raced to every business burglar alarm call in my area. I drove down dark alleys with lights out. Sometimes I’d park and just listen for the sound of breaking glass. I was getting frustrated and my watch commander was wondering what I was doing all night. There has to be a clue that I’m missing!

I once took a report at Lido Cleaners, a dry cleaners, where most of Hollywood Division and I had their uniforms cleaned. They were the victim of a burglary and cash was taken. Ok, this is getting personal.

I don’t know when the burglaries started but I’ll never forget the day they ended. Part 2, I’ll talk about the aftermath of those arrests. Hal

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