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

Partners, part 1 “the bad”


By Hal Collier

The following stories are true. After 35 years of working patrol, I have been exposed to a variety of partners. Some were rookies, some became your close friends, some were your immediate supervisors, and some were the captains of your station. Some were “good,” some were “bad,” and some were just plain “ugly.”


Dallas police partners
Dallas police partners

I read in the paper recently where the L.A. Sheriff’s Department has a program where they rate their leaders, anonymously of course. Some of their quotes were amusing and some probably true. I’ll pass on a few.


“I wouldn’t follow him to a free buffet lunch.” “I wouldn’t follow him out of a burning building.” “He couldn’t lead a sing along.” “He couldn’t inspire a flea to jump.” He plays favorites like a DJ at the VFW.”   “Couldn’t make a decision if he had a pocket full of quarters.” OK, the last two were mine.


In some business environments, you work around a co-employee. If you’re talking about a patrol partner, you spend eight hours or now days, ten to twelve hours in a car with your partner. After a few days working with the same person, you know everything about them. Their financial situation, how their marriage is working out, and yes, even their sexual history. You know their kids and their wife’s/husband’s names and in some cases, you know her menstrual cycle, like it or not. Partners become very close, or bond as they say. Some are easier to bond with than others.


I’m going to break down partners into four categories. Those partners you work directly with, those who you supervise, or who supervise you and your commanding officers (if you’re lucky they don’t even know your name).


First, I’ll talk about probationers, or rookies to my non-police friends. Probationers graduate from the police academy, wide-eyed, and ready to save the world. They are going to turn prostitutes away from a decadent sex life into the adults their parents hoped they would become. Drug addicts will turn into health freaks, and bums into productive members of society. After their first month in patrol, their balloon has burst or you hope they have come to their senses. Cops deal with the shallow gene pool of humanity and our short interaction won’t change their lifestyle.


In the early days, the training officer probably told them the first day, “Forget everything they taught you in the academy, I’ll teach you the right way!” That means search and seizure rules went out the window. It’s the way you write the arrest report and laws of arrest are a little stretched. If force was used, it depends on how many independent witnesses were present, if it was excessive. Your first day or night, you talk about an hour to get to know your probationer.


The first question you ask is, “Is your gun loaded?” Don’t laugh, some forget or think they’re still in the academy. One real story goes like this. The officers are enroute to a shooting in progress call and the training officer is advising his brand new partner to be careful and stick close to me. The probationer turns to his training officer and asks, “Should I load my gun now?” Never mind, we’ll get coffee first! Don’t laugh, it happens. I’ve had partners with college degrees but not a lick of common sense.


Some partners had the same views and values that you have. You could spend six hours on a stakeout and never be at a loss for words. Then again, I once spent three hours with a probationer who didn’t say a word. No kidding, not a word, for three hours. We didn’t have much in common, I liked John Wayne and she liked sci-fi movies. She didn’t even get out of the car for coffee.


I’ll start out with the bad and in some cases, they were also ugly. You’ll see. I was blessed with some very good probationers which I’ll talk about in later Ramblings. One of the bad probationers didn’t seem suited for police work. I was looking for a common bond to talk about and I asked him his hobbies. I said, “I hunt, do you hunt?” He replied, “No, I don’t think I could kill anything!” Stop the car!!! A lot of cops don’t believe in hunting but do I want to work with a partner who might have reservations about using his gun to save a life, maybe mine?


Exeter PD rookie
Exeter PD rookie

Part of the training program is letting the probationer drive. Driving a police car is more than just driving down the street. Officer safety is very important to his partner who is looking forward to retiring alive. Probationers have a tendency to park right in front of the location of a man with a gun, or they will look for a legal parking spot. They often park next to a trashcan, mailbox, or fire hydrant so the passenger can’t get the car door open.


I had one probationer who thought that red lights were for non-cops. I let him drive twice and both times, I took the car keys away from him. He kept driving through major intersections against the red light figuring that no one would hit a police car. I once supervised a probationer who had never driven a car. He lived in New York and always took a taxicab. I watched his training officer’s hair turn grey. We had a few female probationers who weren’t use to driving big four-door cars with a powerful engine. We didn’t have any two-door police equipped BMW’s.


Florida police partners photo by
Florida police partners photo by

The worst probationer I had was Jeff. Jeff was a graduate from USC and thought that being a cop would be fun. Jeff couldn’t write a sentence without help. No, he wasn’t an athlete. He told me that he paid someone to write all his college papers. I thought that was strange because Jeff was the cheapest cop I ever met.


We were eating at Denny’s one morning and I just had coffee, Jeff had steak and eggs. Jeff wanted to split the bill down the middle. Another time Jeff and his partner walked into a restaurant to eat and spotted a wanted burglar sitting at the counter. The whole watch was looking for this crook. They grabbed him and Jeff objected. He wanted his half price meal instead.


The worst trait about Jeff was that he was a coward. Yep, Jeff wanted to wear the uniform and collect the paycheck but didn’t want any of the danger that came with the badge.


We had a “man with a gun” radio call and the witness told us the armed suspect went into a parking lot. Jeff and I were to go down one side of the parking lot and two other officers were to check the other side. We started searching the parking lot. I was in the lead after about thirty yards I looked back, Jeff was still out on the sidewalk hiding behind a building. I motioned for Jeff to join me; he refused and said it was too dangerous!


Another time Jeff and his partner got into a pursuit. The suspect’s vehicle crashed and the driver fled on foot. Jeff’s partner chased and caught the suspect. He looked around and no Jeff. The partner walked back to the police car and there was Jeff. Jeff said he was guarding the police car! Jeff was asked to leave the LAPD.


I had another probationer, Tom, a nice enough guy, but he use to sit at code-7 (meal break) and tell me he had the next day off. He would ask me if he should get drunk and go to bed or sleep then get up and get drunk. I sent Tom AA cards for years after we worked together. Another time, he informed me that he went to a Doobie Brothers concert in Santa Barbara instead of sleeping. Tom asked me if we could coast tonight. I told Tom that if I caught him with his eyes closed, I’d send him home. He’s my back up. Am I hard ass or just a music critic? Come on—the Doobie Brothers!!


During the height of affirmative action hiring, I had a probationer who had no common sense and couldn’t make a decision. We once were given a bag of possible narcotics to book. He took custody of the bag and then informed me that he had gotten some of the powder on his hand and had touched his lips! I told him that if he started acting strange, I might have to shoot him.  I hope he’s now working as a Wal-Mart greeter.


Some thought my hair loss was hereditary. I think it was probationers. We all learned the hard way.


Next I’ll describe some of the best, or good, partners I worked with or for.     Hal

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