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.    

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

%d bloggers like this: