Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Lost on Loan, part 3

By Hal Collier, retired LAPD

In my last Ramblings, I couldn’t find another officer who needed help when I was on loan to another division. This time I got lost looking for a whole police station. In November of 1980, Sarai Ribicoff, niece of US Senator Abraham Ribicoff was shot and killed during a street robbery in front of a restaurant in Venice Division. Sarai was also an editor for the LA Herald Examiner newspaper, so the murder was carried on the news for weeks.


A few weeks later, nine employees and two customers at a Bob’s Big Boy in West LA Division were herded into a walk-in freezer and shot-gunned during a robbery. Three died and several others were wounded. These all occurred in LAPD’s West Bureau which included West LA, Venice, Wilshire, and my Hollywood division.


Due to the continuing publicity, the West Bureau Deputy Chief formed a special squad of cops who were handpicked to combat the senseless crimes. They picked two officers from the four Bureau divisions and two other officers to even out the squad. 

I was one of the officers from Hollywood. 

We were to be called the Operation West Bureau (OWB) Violent Crime Task Force or OWB-VCTF. We were strictly plain clothes. Haircuts were optional as well as shaving. We kind of looked like the dirt bags we were hunting.

I’ll go into more detail of the OWB-VCTF in a later Ramblings.


So here we are working the four divisions of West Bureau. I’m again out of my comfort zone, except when we worked Hollywood. A couple of times we were assigned to work with Narcotics Division on Buy Bust operations. The Venice boardwalk was a prime location for buying drugs.

“Prime” means easy.


This particular Saturday, we were looking for bad guys. We had a female officer with us. She was wearing roller skates, as was common among the locals on the boardwalk. We weren’t supposed to buy narcotics but it was hard to resist an easy arrest. She made a buy and we sat the dope dealer in the back seat of the plain car I was driving. I headed to Venice Station when I realized I’ve never been there before. I asked my partner, “Do you know where Venice Station is?”

He was also an old-time Hollywood cop.  He said, “No.”


Our arrestee said, “Geez I got arrested by a couple of rookies.” I tried to tell him we were handpicked but he just laughed. Then in a sarcastic voice he told us the directions to the station.

We were embarrassed but never told this story until now! 



The Call Box

The Call Box: More Deuces Wild

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

I am now three years older and smarter (?) and working Vice with my regular partner, Frank Isbell. We find ourselves behind Hollywood’s exaggerated version of a deuce: curb to curb, then on the sidewalk, slowly through a red light then stops on green where he immediately falls asleep. Needless to say, working Vice, we are “dressed down” trying not to look “cop-like.” Our car however, is the cheapest version made and wouldn’t fool a child. Yet, it fooled the deuce.

We really, really didn’t want to get involved here but you do what you gotta do. Out of the car, he is a friendly and happy drunk. He asked who we were and when told, asked, “Are you sure?”

When asked to walk the line, he got to the end and took off running, yelling for help. With him in the back seat, we pulled into the station parking lot and he asked where we were going. When told it was the police station, he asked, “Are you sure?”

We walked into the watch commander’s office to get booking approval and he told the sergeant he didn’t think we were really the police and he was being kidnapped.

jailBy now, Frank and I realize we have not only a happy drunk but also a funny one. In the small holding jail, he got serious and asked me, please, not to book him for 502 V.C. (Drunk Driving) as he had several priors. I promised I wouldn’t but told him he was being booked for 23102 V.C. I didn’t, however, tell him the vehicle code had been completely re-written. 502 had become 23102.

Then he asked the jailer who he was. His response to the jailer was, “Are you sure?”

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: But I’m a Woman!

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD 


Ok, this Ramblings goes back to the mid 70’s. As always, I was working AM Watch (11:30 PM to 7 AM). I arrested what I thought was a commonly referred to as a Drag Queen. A drag queen was a man who dressed as a woman and usually acted as a prostitute. Now days in our politically correct world they are referred to as transgender and use whatever bathroom they choose.

Oops, I let that slip out.


They were pretty common in Hollywood at the time and were often arrested for prostitution, lewd conduct and various theft charges including robbery. The thefts and robbery usually involved a late-night encounter from some Hollywood street corner. The high crime statistics were causing the captain to yell at my lieutenant, who yelled at my sergeant, who yelled at guess who?

It always rolls downhill and I was at the bottom with the shovel.


So, this one night I arrested this drag queen. I don’t really remember for what and since this story is over 40 years old it doesn’t really matter. I transported him to the station and preceded to book him in the Hollywood jail.  Hollywood jail was a men’s only facility and the policy at the time was a strip search of all felony arrests. I thought, this shouldn’t take long and I can get back out on the streets and fight crime. My arrestee said, “You know, I’m a woman!”

Huh? “You were a man months ago when you were arrested for warrants.”

He/she said, “But I’d had some surgery and now I’m a woman!”


I flashed back a few months ago to a partner who arrested a drag queen for the fourth time. He had always been a man and this time when he was arrested and strip searched him he discovered he was now a woman. The man had surgery that changed his sex to female. The story made a few gay newspapers and a complaint was made to our internal affairs.

 My undetermined-sex arrestee said the magic words, “I want to speak to your

Watch Commander!”


Part 2: Search or don’t Search? What would you do?



Writer's Notes

Check Out The Thin Blue Line


By Thonie Hevron

The September 2016 issue of the Los Angeles Police Protective League Thin Blue Line will feature an ad for my books, By Force or Fear and Intent to Hold. Designed by Michelle Wing of Las Cruces, New Mexico, I think it blends the covers nicely with a minimum of text. I’m marketing to cops here so I have to pander to a short (microscopic?) attention span. I know. I suffer from the same.

My advertising budget is limited so I decided to spend my bucks where I’d like to find readers. The Thin Blue Line newsletter reaches over 18,000 active and retired LAPD personnel. My books are not fine literature—I have no illusions about them. They’re entertainment, pure and simple. There’s action and adventure steeped in the procedural, authentically rendered world of law enforcement. And just a touch of sex? No. Romance? No. But there is an undeniable attraction (although the characters spend a lot of time denying) based on the premise that they’re partners who trust each other.

If you’re associated with LAPD and receive this newsletter, look up my ad. See if you think it’s as terrific as I do. And feel free to share!


Thonie Hevron
Thonie Hevron







Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Dispatchers and Computer

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Computers changed police work in a disturbing way. I was taught to use police instincts which you only gained by experience. You questioned what was obvious and never take what someone says at face value. It didn’t matter whether you were questioning a victim, a witness or the suspect, they all told their story that benefited them. Good questioning is now a dying art.

As an example I was training a young probationer and, to put it mildly, he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. We stopped a car and I told him before he got out of the car, “Careful. I think the cars stolen!”

He walked right up to the driver’s window with his flashlight in his gun hand!

Geez, no wonder I lost my hair. The car was an unreported stolen and later, when I asked the probationer why he walked up to the car he answered, “The computer said it wasn’t stolen!” The new generation of cops are relying on computers to tell them how to do police work.


As everyone knows computers can have bad days or maybe they just screw up. I was walking my foot beat in a dark alley when this Ford pulls into the parking lot.  The driver looks rather nervous as he walks away from the car.

I run the license and the RTO (Radio Telephone Operator or dispatcher) replies, “No want. DMV [says it’s] a 75 Chevy R/O (Registered Owner) lives in Northern California.”

Cool. I have me a possible stolen vehicle with cold plates. This car is a Ford. I track down the driver and using the academy-taught tactics, I make him lie on the ground while I point my Smith & Wesson 38 Caliber revolver at center body mass!

As I’m handcuffing him he is demanding my badge number and name. I have had so many people ask for my badge number I thought it was common knowledge. It was Policeman Badge #3845 for those of you that forgot it.

I had the RTO run the VIN [vehicle identification number] and she returns with a 75 Ford, and the license plate that’s on the car.

Oops. How can that be she just told me it was a Chevy? The RTO runs the license again and even a third time, it’s a 75 Ford registered to my soon to be dusted off suspect. My suspect hands me two forms of ID, one is a California driver license and the other is a LAPD ID card which indicates my suspect is a RTO for the same department I work for. How can this get any worse?

My sergeant comes out to the parking lot and documents the RTO’s complaint. I go to the station to try and figure what the hell went wrong! I barely get in the back door and the Watch Commander [W/C] tells me I have a phone call from the Communications Watch Commander.

Oh goody. Probably more bad news! I was about to be surprised.

The Communications Watch Commander advises me that the RTO was not in error but the computer fouled up. She also told me that the suspect RTO I stopped is a disgruntled employee and no one likes him. The Communications W/C says they will be doing an investigation on him for being in a known drug location while on a sick day. See? Sometimes the sun shines in the middle of the night. I never heard another word about the incident and I didn’t ask either.


Ok one more story about Dispatchers. I was a sergeant in Hollywood, that’s right working in the dark just before the newspaper boys deliver your paper. An ambulance “cutting” call comes out at 1640 Las Palmas. That’s just a half a block from Hollywood Boulevard. I’m sitting in my car as the RTO broadcasts another ambulance “cutting” at Hollywood and Las Palmas. I advise the RTO that it’s the same call and to cancel the second unit.

The RTO responds, “No the computer says it’s a different reporting district.”

I advise her, “It’s the same call and the computer is wrong.” I’ve just committed a sin; computers don’t make these kind of mistakes.

She again politely tells me that there two different calls.

Ok, time to stop arguing. In my best firm “I’m the Sergeant” voice I say, “I’ve worked Hollywood for 30 + years and I’m looking at both locations from the front seat of my newest model police car. Assign me the second call!”  It was the end of our discussion.

Trust the veteran who’s at scene.


Next — open microphones!   Hal

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: Dispatchers and MDT’s

by Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

I’ve given you some of my true stories of the good and bad dispatchers. They can all be verified by listening to me talk in my sleep.

I was not brought up in the computer world but was dragged into it by my employment and my kids. I think my first experience with a computer was an Atari 2600 and playing Space Invaders. My kids beat me regularly.


Before computers in the cars you received radio calls by voice from the dispatchers. On a busy night in Hollywood it went something like this: I’d pick up the microphone and in my ‘please don’t give me all the crappy calls tonight’ voice say, “6A65 Morning Watch Clear, Good Morning.”

The RTO responded, “Good morning. Stand by for five calls.”

The RTO would then pause to give you time to get out my #2 Ticonderoga pencil and a 3”x5” note pad. The RTO would then read off the five calls. I had to write down the time, address and nature of the call. High priority calls came first. That 3”X5” note pad was your log (or DFAR as we called them in the LAPD; DFAR stood for Daily Field Activities Report).

Often at code-7 you would transfer your notes to the DFAR. On real busy nights you spent a ½ hour after end of watch completing your DFAR. That was on your own time, by the way. I wished I’d taken short hand in high school instead of print shop. I heard that some officers that didn’t like RTO’s would make them repeat the calls a second and third time—not my style. I knew where my next call was coming from.


After handling the first high priority call you notified the RTO and tried to move on to the next call. Well, if another high priority call came in the RTO gave that for you to handle first. Some nights it went like this for most of the night. That was why we sometimes handled loud party calls three to five hours late. Hell, the party giver had almost sobered up by the time we showed up. That was Hollywood in the 70’s.


Sometime around the mid 80’s they started putting computers in black and whites. They were called MDT’s (Mobil Digital Transmitters or terminals). A marvelous piece of technology when they worked. Somehow putting a computer in a hot car is asking a lot from a machine invented by a geek. I don’t know what caused the problems with the MDT’s other than most cops resist change. Some old timers refused to even turn them on and others vandalized them. The fact was, an officer either adjusted or rode the pine bench (desk).


The RTO now gives you your five calls by transmitting them to your MDT. I missed her sweet voice as she destroyed the next two hours of my career! Like them or hate them computers are here to stay. Adjust or go the way of the Dodo bird.

Computers had some drawbacks as anybody knows who ever accidently deleted that nice letter to Aunt Millie before you sent it!


Next: How computers changed police work forever!   Hal

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: More on Dispatchers

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Now, I once had a partner who didn’t like the RTO’s. I probably shouldn’t have let him talk on the radio but I was young and it was my turn to drive. We had just finished code-7 (eating) and my tasteless partner clears then burps into the microphone. The RTO professionally thanks us and gives us two calls at opposite ends of the division at EOW(End of Watch). Her revenge!


One night I handled most of Hollywood Division due to low deployment and other units being tied up. I cleared the backlog and requested to eat. After my request, a rape investigation call was broadcast for any Hollywood Unit. I knew I was going to get the call unless another unit cleared. The RTO broadcast the call three times trying to avoid giving me the call. I thanked her and bought the call. The RTO was trying to help me. I worked three hours overtime and didn’t eat that day. By the way, the rape was a prostitute who didn’t get paid.


As a sergeant in Hollywood, I often was asked to give new RTO’s in training a ride along. I gave them quite an eye-opener. I would first drive them up through the nicest neighborhoods and point out which celebrities lived where. Then I would show them the seedy side of Hollywood. Some couldn’t keep their mouths closed, not from talking but from AH! Last, I would drive by where the drag queens were parading the streets of Hollywood. The most common comment I heard was they look better than some women. I reminded them that from a distance in the dark, yea, but as the night wears on the 5 o’clock shadow appears and you’ll notice that they have stuffed a size 10 foot into a women’s size 7 open toe shoe!


Not all dispatchers were great at what they did night after night. We all have some bad nights but when it comes to officer safety, you have to be professional.

Next I’ll give some examples of the lazy dispatchers.   Hal


Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: More Foot Beat Stories

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

My apologies for posting this and Hal’s last in the wrong order. This should have been “Foot Beat Stories One” and his previous post should have gone second. I promise I’ll do better with “Foot Beat Three” and Four. –Thonie

The following story is true and most of the officers are real live cops, some are legends and some fall into the infamous category.  I often say the best of all my jobs on the LAPD was when I worked a Hollywood Boulevard foot beat.  That’s not easy to say: I was a Sergeant for 12 years, a Senior Lead, (Community Relations Officer) for 11 years—both good jobs but my 3 1/2 years as a foot beat officer were the best.


Most of the names are real Hollywood cops and most of the stories are true.  Some were passed down by other Hollywood cops and they might be legends.  That’s in case some ACLU attorney is looking for a civil rights violation.


The foot beat cop of the 50″s 60’s & early 70’s were the toughest cops in the division.  They ruled their beat with an iron fist, with the emphasis on fist.  They didn’t have radios.  If they got in a fight, they won or lost their life.  Foot beat cops walked their area every day and knew the store owners, pimps, drug dealers and pan handlers all by name and those same people all knew his name.  If a store owner was having a problem with an individual he would tell the foot beat cop and the problem disappeared, don’t ask me how.



If you ever watched the TV series “The Blue Knight” or read the Wambaugh novel, that was a tame version of what a foot beat cop was.


First the legends of Hollywood foot beat cops:  Gene Fogerty. I didn’t know Gene very well and never worked with him.  He was the typical old time foot beat cop.  He ruled Hollywood Boulevard and no one had any doubts who’s boulevard it was.  I was told that Gene never paid for anything.  He ate for free, shopped in the boulevard stores and walked out saying “foot beat gratuity.”  Those days were gone when I came on. We were told in the academy that a free cup of coffee led to corrupt cops.  Come on, my standards are higher than 10 cents, the price of a coffee in 1971.  Throw in a glazed donut and I might consider a bribe.  Just kidding, I was never big on eating donuts.


One of Fogerty’s regular partners was Jim Conrad, a former boxer.  Together they handled anything and everything.  I was once told that a street person walked up behind Conrad and tapped him on the shoulder.  Conrad felt the guy was too close to his gun, spun around and knocked him out cold.  Police work in the 60’s was a lot different.


As you already know and are tired of hearing, is that I worked Morning Watch for the first 14 years I was on the job. That’s 11:30 PM to 7 AM. I only saw the Mid PM foot beat for a few hours before they went home.



In 1977, Hollywood Boulevard was out of control on Morning Watch after 2 A.M.  We had two businesses in the area of Hollywood & Highland, that were open all night.  The “International Hot Dog Stand” known by all cops as just the hot dog stand and “Danielle’s.”  The hot dog stand was just that, a small hot dog stand, but it was open all night and behind it was a dark parking lot perfect for dealing drugs or any other crime you can think of.  Danielle’s was a coffee shop which catered to drag queens as we called them in the un-politically correct ‘70’s.  I always thought it curious that Marilyn Monroe’s star was right in front of Danielle’s, a drag queen hangout.  Danielle’s is now a McDonalds’.


The drag queens would eat at Danielle’s, then go to work on Highland.  By work I don’t mean that they were setting out traffic cones for Cal-Trans, they were collecting money for a service for which they paid no taxes or Social Security.  A Drag Queen’s overhead was the cost of their clothes and whatever they stuffed into their bras, usually yesterday’s dirty socks.  No kidding.


Anyway when the rest of Los Angeles closed up, Hollywood and Highland was just starting to go strong.  I approached my Lieutenant and asked if he ever considered a Morning Watch foot beat?  He cocked his head to the side, somewhat like my dog does when I talk to her, and he asks, “What did you have in mind?”  I laid out my plan and the following month I was told I would be working a Morning Watch foot beat.  I was then asked who I wanted to work with.  Holy cow, I was never ever asked who I wanted to work with.


I selected Randy for my partner.  Now Randy was not the easiest cop to work with. In fact half the cops on the watch didn’t like Randy and he felt the same about them.  I picked Randy because he worked. All I needed to do was keep him on a short, tight leash.


Most people think that walking a foot beat is just walking along and watching for crime.  I thought so, too.  I was told that I needed some foot beat experience.  Let’s see: I have 7 years on the LAPD and I’ve been walking since I was around one.  My childhood records have been sealed so I’m guessing.


The next month I’m going to be assigned to work a Mid Day foot beat.  Mid Day, that’s when the sun and all those citizens who pay my salary are out.  Crap.   I going to learn foot beat techniques from a Hollywood Legend, J.J. Brown.  J.J. took over the the Mid Day foot beat when Fogerty retired.  J.J. had been walking a foot beat since before I was a rookie.  This should be fun.  Next chapter, I’m learning how to walk all over again.


Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings Reprise: Foot Beat Stories

By Hal Collier, LAPD Retired

We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us. This was originally posted 7/24/2013. Thought you might enjoy it again.–Thonie

The following stories are true and I’ll use real names as long as it doesn’t get anyone indicted or divorced.  Several posts ago, I talked about how my favorite job on the LAPD was walking a foot beat.  I never worked Vice but I did do a three month undercover tour in an elite West Bureau unit whose chain of command was a sergeant, then the Bureau Deputy Chief.  I still had more fun on the foot beat than any other job.

You ever watch a movie or TV show and the Captain threatens the officer that he will have him pounding a foot beat?  I’d have volunteered in a heartbeat.  I snowed my Lieutenant into letting me walk a Morning Watch foot beat, but first I have to learn how to walk a foot beat.  They assign me to Mid Day Watch with J.J. Brown.  Cool, J.J. is a Hollywood legend on the Boulevard.  He’s been walking for over 28 years, so how hard could this be?

I show up for work like I’m working a radio car, I carry my 40 lb. gear bag with riot helmet, extra ammo, tools, street guide and every report known to the LAPD.

J.J. just laughs at me and says, “We walk little lighter!”  My first lesson, we only need one traffic citation book, one parking ticket book and one handheld radio.  The radio was a Dumont and it only worked on a nice day without any tall buildings between you and the radio tower on Mt. Lee.  Everything you needed, you carried in your pockets or on your belt.  Hats were a must, department policy and you carried a baton which often became your best friend in a fight.

We get out of the car and J.J. asks, “Where’s your flashlight?”  Lesson 2:  You need a flashlight for dark bars and the very dark porno theaters.  Ok, I’ve got my pockets stuffed, I’m ready to start walking.  J.J. said, “Where are you going?”  I’m starting to walk eastbound with traffic.  Lesson 3: Foot beat officers always walk against traffic.  This walking might be harder than I thought.

J.J. and I start walking, facing traffic.  I’m thinking how cool I must look in my fresh uniform and in front of all these business people and tourists.  Three buildings later J.J. grabs me by my Sam Brown Belt and says, “Slow down, we’re going to be walking for the next 6 hours. You’re walking like your late for dinner.”  J.J. tells me, “You walk at a much slower pace and stop every so often.”  OK, I’m wondering if I need to write all this down.  J.J. is very patient with me.  I feel like a rookie.  If I find myself walking too fast I stop and find J.J. 30 feet behind me and laughing.  I’ll learn, maybe.

I soon find that J.J. knows everyone on Hollywood Blvd and everyone knows him.  We stop at various businesses and J.J. introduces me to the owners or managers.  I have worked Hollywood for over seven years and I don’t know any of these people.  We stop at London Britches, a clothing store and J.J. introduces me to the manager.  I don’t remember her name but I’ll never forget that smile. She was gorgeous.

I remember another group of businesses, Artisans’ Patio.  This young sales clerk walks out to talk to J.J.  She is also very pretty, I’m beginning to like this Day Watch foot beat.  J.J. is talking with the young lady and I glance over, she is wearing a white cotton full length dress.  When she stands in the sunlight I can see that she isn’t wearing anything under her dress and I mean nothing.  J.J. asks, “Ready to go?”

I said “Ah, not just yet, I have to, ah, catch my breath.”

J.J. also introduced me to some of the Boulevard people, Bill Conkey & Tillie who were street people.  J.J. and the other foot beat officers took care of them.  Giving them money, buying them clothes and taking them for medical care.  You don’t see that much anymore.  The less friendly street people are advised of the rules of Hollywood Boulevard, known as the “Boulevard Rules.”

Remember the movie, “Pretty Women” where female prostitutes worked Hollywood Boulevard?  Boulevard Rule #1, no whores on Hollywood Boulevard.  They were always politely directed to Sunset.  The tourists were on Hollywood Boulevard.  I soon learned that there were all kinds of rules.  Businesses couldn’t put signs on the sidewalks, no blaring music and most important don’t piss off the foot beat cops.  My second day, we did bar checks and wrote parking tickets.

The Nest Bar was on Hollywood Boulevard and was a known biker hangout.  Not so much on day watch but at night the bikers and the cops were always in conflict.  Parking regulations for motorcycles were simple.  Back tire must touch the curb.  If a foot beat cop can slide a thin piece of paper between the back tire and the curb, the motorcycle got a parking ticket.

I was told that on occasion a passing car would throw something at the foot beat officers.  The foot beat cop would write down his license plate and issue him a parking ticket.  The motorist found out six months later when he tried to renew the registration to his car.  I never did that or saw it done, could be a legend, I just don’t know.

Bar checks—how hard could that be?  Well, you don’t just walk into a dark bar from the sunshine of the Boulevard.  Pause inside the door and let your eyes adjust to the light.  One officer walks to the back and the other stays by the front door.  The foot beat officers didn’t enforce ABC (Alcohol, Beverage & Control) violations, like serving a drunk or bugs in a bottle. We mostly wanted the owners and patrons to know that the cops were around.

My favorite bar was the Tourist Trap.  The Tourist Trap was a dive and certainly not for tourists.  It was a bar frequented by black pimps and drug dealers.  I loved walking to the back where the pool table was.  I would stand next to the pool table, in front of the pocket where the pimp was going to shoot his next shot.  They always missed the shot.

There were other bars on Hollywood Boulevard, like The Powerhouse, The Alley bar, The Frolic Room and a few others I have forgotten.  There were also a couple of porno theaters.  The Cave comes to mind.  It had a live strip show during the day that packed the house.  Porno theaters are not my cup of tea.  They all have the same smell and sticky floors. Use your imagination.

I remember one girl who approached us walking on the Boulevard.  She was sweet and I thought, what a nice girl, I’ll bet her parents are proud.  Later that day I caught her show at the Cave.  Now, I hope her parents don’t know.

I enjoyed working with J.J. a Hollywood Boulevard Foot Beat legend.  J.J. has read this chapter and approved its contents.

Next chapter: The following month I’m assigned to work mid PM’s. A different set of Blvd rules and new partners…

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, 9-11-2001 in LA


By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Ramblings: 9/11/2001 for June 26th, 2016

9-11-2001:  Just about everyone can tell you where they were on 9-11-2001 when four airplanes were hijacked and two planes slammed into the World Trade Centers. It was a Tuesday and the temperature was forecast for mid-70’s. I was scheduled to work the field on day watch as a supervisor. I was preparing for Roll Call when the first plane, American Airlines, flight #11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 5:46 AM PST. As usual the TV was on the news in the Watch Commander’s (WC’s) office, the off-going watch wanted to know if they will hit traffic on the way home. The WC’s Office soon filled with officers watching the horror on TV. Most were wondering what caused a plane to veer off course and hit a building in New York. At 6:03 the second plane, United Airlines flight #175 slammed into the South Tower. The wondering stopped.

We were at war with an unknown enemy! The speculation started on who could do such a thing. Some guessed correctly that it was the work of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

We went to Roll Call and the room was quiet. Hardened cops couldn’t believe what they were seeing on the television. We had an abbreviated roll call and hit the streets. We knew that what happened in New York was going to affect everyone. I headed to the bathroom, figuring it might be six hours before I had another chance.

When we cleared for patrol, we were immediately hit with a barrage of suspicious package

calls. People suddenly saw suspicious packages that they had probably passed a dozen times before on their way to work. I personally handled three bomb calls alone. One was an empty box on Hollywood Boulevard, another was a large cylinder attached to a power pole on Highland Avenue.

America was suddenly waking up to terrorism on our own turf. I raced from call to call for about three hours when I was directed to come to the station. The LAPD had gone in Tactical Alert and each division activated their command post. I was a member of the Hollywood Division command post cadre. I spent the rest of my shift in the command post.

Months and even years after 9-11 we responded to possible terrorist sightings. One Hollywood Hills resident saw a Middle Eastern man asking how to get to the Hollywood Sign, normally a common occurrence. We sent a police car to check him out. Nothing!

Because of terrorism, airport lines have caused hours long delays. It now takes longer to go through the screening process at the airport than it takes to fly to Las Vegas. You can’t even go to a baseball game without being screened.

Bombs have been around for a long time but now they are in the everyday activities of citizens.


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