Street Stories The Call Box

The Call Box: Intangible

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

INTANGIBLE definition: Unable to be touched or grasped; not having a physical presence

An architect can point to a building or structure he (we are using the editorial “he” here, no disrespect to females). A contractor or plumber can lay claim to any number of projects. Even a factory worker can point to an X count of widgets at day’s end.

There are service persons by the score-waiters, clerks, doctors, lawyers, nurses and the list goes on. But what of the description, “First Responders?”

The law enforcement officer (LEO), aside from arrests and tickets, usually has only his personal satisfaction in providing the daily chores that make up his life. LEO’s must and should take motivation from the service they provide. From finding a lost child, recovering a stolen vehicle or property, and/or settling a dispute ad infinitum. The satisfaction of looking back at shift’s end and knowing that he made a difference in someone’s life (hopefully a good one).

He must take pride in whatever it was he did or didn’t do to resolve the situation; to take from that whatever he needs to bring him back day after day, to provide the fuel that feeds his enthusiasm and drives him no matter how jaded or disillusioned he has become. To prove, if to no one but yourself, that you are a person of character. Then, and only then have you accomplished something.

CHARACTER definition: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. I prefer, ‘doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’

Part II


Have you ever experienced a LEO being introduced to a stranger and watched how guarded he is until told that the other person is or was a LEO? You would’ve seen a complete personality change right before your eyes. There is almost a “formal rule” or ritual that both parties go through, probably done unconsciously. If you doubt me, read law enforcement blogs or Facebook police pages.  Aside from the usual kidding you will notice a sincere sense of mutual respect and love, yes love. You’ll see an almost elaborate politeness, a sense of warrior meeting warrior.

Civil war painting-unknown battle
Civil war painting-unknown battle

In July 2016, I wrote, “I’ve been to see the Elephant.” This term was common to the Civil War wherein the young soldiers tried to put into words the horror they had witnessed. An unspoken, “we have been there, passed the test and I recognize you for who and what you are.”

Granted not all LEO’s go through this ritual but enough for me to notice. Other than the military no one besides LEO’s are that closely bonded.

I have heard too many eulogies, read to many End of Watch (EOW) notices and heard to many tales of friendship and daring-do to wonder why we don’t reach out—right now—to our old friends and partners and tell them of our feelings. Tell them you appreciate all the times together and tell them as only one man can tell another, “I love you, man.”

It was Shakespeare who told us we were a “BAND OF BROTHERS,” are we not? 

Better they hear it now than before it’s too late. Tell them now.

Roll Call

Roll Call: The Calling

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

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

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

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

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

From to run or not to run photo by policemag

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