Roll Call


By Mikey, Retired LAPD

It was 1978 and I was assigned to Northeast Division Vice. From time to time, we had loanees from patrol, so they can better understand how we do the job. It was also an effective way to size up future vice cops. Ron was on loan and assigned to me. After a few nights of learning how to work bars and identify things like serving an obviously intoxicated person(s), gambling, prostitution, Ron was good to go solo. We were working a bar on Glendale Boulevard and it was about 9:30pm when Ron entered the bar. If he observed a violation of any kind, he was to exit the bar and give me a sign that we had work to do. I’d meet up with him so he could brief me on what was occurring. Then, we would decide what we had to do to work the problem. I was across the street parked in a vacant gas station, so there was no else around. Across the street was a Bank of America located just north of the bar.

man sitting on bus benchAt about 9:45 I noticed two gangster-looking males sitting on a bus bench in front of the bank. A short time later, I observed a vehicle in a driveway south of the bank. The car was traveling west from the rear of the bank to the front. The vehicle stopped next to the building and I observed two men, in business suits exit the vehicle. One had what appeared to be a small object in his right hand. Both were approaching the night drop deposit door when the individuals got up from the bus bench and approached the two men.

I heard a male voice scream “no,” and then a gunshot. The suited man carrying the objectnight depository 800px-BankOfPilotMountainND fell to the ground. One of the gangsters from the bus bench reached down and took the object from the fallen man. Then both gangsters then ran north from the incident.  The other man began yelling for help. As I approached the scene, I put out, “officer needs help, shots fired, one victim down!”  I identified myself to the uninjured man and discovered the victim had been shot once in the stomach. I had observed a robbery. The men were the manager (the injured victim) and assistant manager of a shoe store that was located two blocks north of the bank and were making a night drop of the funds earned by the store that day.

As the cavalry arrived, I passed the information onto the uniform coppers. They set up a crime scene. The watch commander asked me to brief him and after telling him the story, he asked me why I hadn’t intervened. There I am, looking every bit “non-cop,” driving a rent-a-wreck piece of crap and he wants to know why I didn’t go “cop” and intervene?  My sergeant heard the question. He also saw that I went spring loaded to the pissed off position and was about tell the watch commander where to stick it. My boss pulled the man aside.

inside bar at nightDamn, forgot all about Ron. So, I went into the bar to get him and the look on his face said, “what, did I do something wrong?” When we exited, Ron saw the air unit, all the flashing lights, the coppers and he turned to me an asked, “is this all for me!?”

No one in the bar, including Ron had heard a thing. After explaining things to him, we headed to the station. The two men had been set up by one of their female employees—the girlfriend of one of the gang members. The manager survived his wounds and the gangsters as well as the employee were all held to answer for the crime. Ron decided that he did not want to be a vice copper. After all, it’s not for everyone.

Oh, and the watch commander commended me for “not over-reacting.”


Simple, you don’t play the game until you know who the players are.


Roll Call

Roll Call: Northeast Vice and the 265 Pound Arrestee

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

February 4, 2018

Griffith ParkAt the time that I worked Northeast Vice, we owned Griffith Park and part of the Hollywood hills. Complaints about lewd conduct occurring in several areas of the park required the unit to enforce these laws so that the public could better enjoy the park, it’s many hiking trails and spectacular views of the city.

A particular trail which afforded a magnificent view was a hot spot for the ‘complained of’ activity. Accordingly, the unit focused its efforts on the location which sported an 80-foot drop from the trail to the ground below. The actual 80 feet distance had a slight angle to the bottom, so it was not a straight drop. At the time, one of the lewd conduct violations was the grabbing of one’s private part which was considered foreplay. Once that happened, the vice copper would identify himself and with the aid of his partner, effect the arrest. It was 1978 and if you aren’t old enough to remember, it was a very wet winter.

Wonder view trail Griffith ParkRick, my partner, and I were assigned to work that trail. I drew the short straw and would be the ‘trick.’ Rick hid in the bushes where he could cover me and be a witness to the violation while I stood on the trail, the bait. Soon enough came this rather large individual—about 265 pounds and about 6 feet. I was playing with a twig and my arms were chest level. The individual stood about 10 feet to my right and slowly worked his way toward me. Now, the deal was when the violation occurred, I was to step to the side, Rick would emerge from the bushes, we would identify ourselves, advise the guy why he was being arrested, hook him up and off to jail.

With his left hand the guy grabbed me so hard I grabbed his hand and yelled, “LAPD vice, you are…” He took a swing at me and as I tried to block his punch, we fell off the trail. We quickly traversed the 80 feet I was talking about earlier. Now, I was wearing combat boots and several feet from the flat ground we stop! I say we, because I had a hold of him. My right foot has wedged into a rut, remember the rain, and my foot was supporting us both.

rugged trail Griffith ParkI was laying on my back holding onto the guy when I hear Rick sliding on his butt down the hill, shouting for me to hold on. Then, I heard a “snap,” and I found myself looking at the ground, my left leg out to the side. I let go of the guy as the pain started to get serious. Rick sails past me toward the soon-to-be-arrested violator as I am attempting to dislodge my leg. The boot slipped out of the rut and down I went, landing on my left shoulder.

So, the guy has violated me, caused me to break my foot and screw up my shoulder. I was on the ground watching Rick attempting to place a choke-hold on the guy (we could it then). But Rick can’t get the guy in a seated-up-right position to affect the choke. I crawl over to the two, place my right hand on his left buttocks and my left hand between his thighs in an attempt to push with the right hand and pull with the left.

Rick chokes the man out, as the guy goes down, urinates.

Uh, huh. Groped, broken ankle, messed-up shoulder, wet left arm up to the wrist.

Foot still bothers me to this day.





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