Street Stories The Call Box

The Call Box: New Year’s Story

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

Somewhere throughout the land there are probably a handful of old men who can claim the title connected to this Hollywood icon.

On the east coast in New York City every New Year’s Eve since 1907 the ball has dropped in Times Square. People come from great distances to be there and be part of the action.

3000 miles to the west however, we have the holy grail of locations—Hollywood and Vine. Famous the world around. If Hal had a dollar for every time he drove through this intersection he would have more money than Bill Gates.

I think I can say without contradiction that Hollywood has more strange, unusual, weird and bizarre characters than any place else in the city. If that is not enough thousands more are imported for New Year’s Eve. 

Hollywood and Vine circa 1952

Without having specific instructions, the new comers and maybe some locals too, are largely engaged as follows:

They are required to drink tremendous amounts of alcohol (mostly beer), to wander aimlessly in small groups or herds, to argue at the tops of their lungs with anyone and everyone, to challenge all comers to fight, “You want a piece of me buddy, come on.”

And then either lose interest or forget what they were doing, usually throwing up on anyone within range or themselves, and last but not least to fall down and sometimes fall asleep.

The following is true, so help me. I once saw one of our coppers walking while pulling on a piece of rope, holding on to the rope were 4 or 5 real, real drunks. He said with a straight face that he was taking them to get coffee and if they didn’t have the rope, they would fall down.

I swear.

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FBI National Academy Update 10-29-12

Craig Schwartz posting on Santa Rosa Police FB page:

FBI National Academy Update 10-29-12

About 100 members of Session 251 went to New York City last weekend on the class trip that is arranged for each session by the students from NYPD. We loaded the buses on Friday afternoon and drove up to our Hotel a few blocks from Times Square. The 5 hour bus ride went relatively quickly, and we were able to explore Times Square late Friday night. This was my first time there, and it was an incredible place. I kept thinking of the song lyrics about the city that never sleeps. That is absolutely correct. The place was packed late into the night. The big screens all over the place lit up the streets and many were in costume, hopefully for Halloween.

Real Time Crime Center

NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center

The group got tours of the NYPD Museum, NYPD Headquarters at One Police Plaza, and the NYPD Special Operations Division at Floyd Bennett Field. One of the NYPD students in our class is a Sergeant assigned to the Real Time Crime Center at headquarters and the other was just accepted into the NYPD Aviation Unit to be trained as a helicopter pilot. The Real Time Crime Center is a great concept. It is staffed 24/7 and has giant screens along one wall with numerous feeds available, from NYPD and private surveillance cameras to cable tv. Their detectives and analysts provide real-time data to officers and detectives working cases on the street. For example, when a major crime occurs, the RTCC can instantly access the 911 call and push it out to the officers on the scene. They can run records checks from numerous sources on names, license plates, etc., find links and get that information out right away to help the cop on the street. It is a great capability. We also saw the Joint Operations Center at headquarters. This is an even bigger operation with screens along all four walls, seats and computers for people from numerous departments. The JOC serves as New York’s EOC, and is manned right now for Hurricane Sandy. The amount of information available in the RTC and JOC is incredible, with much of it focused on NYPD’s mission of counter terrorism.

NYPD Joint Operations Center at One Police Plaza

Special Operations Division
The Special Operations Division put on an air-sea rescue demonstration. They co-locate their aviation and scuba assets, so that they are able to rapidly respond to emergencies in the waters around New York. They also have an impressive boat capability. For the demonstration, they dropped two divers from one of their Bell helicopters (looks like an updated Huey) into the water to rescue a “victim”, and then picked them all up with a Zodiac. The NYPD helicopters, and many of the officers, carry radiation detection devices that are so sensitive they have alarmed for people who recently underwent radiation treatment for cancer.

NYC Time Square sensory overload

New York City-an amazing place to be
We were also able to see some of the New York attractions like Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial, and the Empire State Building. It was an interesting and worthwhile trip. The NYPD treated us well and even surprised us with a performance by a group from their Pipe and Drum Band at dinner on Saturday. One of the things that stuck with me from the trip was the tremendous scope of everything in the City, from the size and population of the city to the size of the NYPD and their capabilities. It was a great place to visit, but there are some real differences in organizational culture and attitudes between NYPD and what I am used to in Santa Rosa. It was a great place to see, but I’m glad I live and work where I do.
We’re back in Quantico now, and classes are cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. The storm hasn’t been anything special so far here, but they are predicting the worst winds to hit between 8 pm and 1 am tonight. Hopefully the effects won’t be too bad and people are staying indoors and safe. ‘till next time….
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