Roll Call

Roll Call: Short Dog-Probation in Rampart ’73-’74

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

Probation in Rampart ’73-’74


roll call West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police, UK


Back in the day, there were no holds barred when it came to messing with rookies—NONE.  Of course, I fell victim early on.


One shift, I had court all day and made it back to the station just in time to get ready for PM Watch roll call.  I opened my locker up and stripped down for a shower. I must have been in the shower for maybe 8 minutes—TOPS! After drying off, I returned to my locker to find my uniforms GONE. Yup, GOA (Gone On Arrival-an often used disposition the reason for the call was not present when the officer arrived-Thonie)!

The senior guys were getting ready. They said nothing; the other rookies dare not say anything. Didn’t want to sound like a baby so, I said nothing. The guys began exiting the locker room for roll call and I stood there, thinking. I wasn’t going to be late for roll call, so I started eyeballing my civilian clothes when my military training kicked in.

“Overcome and conquer.” Whatever, so I made my moves. All the “rooks” had to sit in the front of roll call and the senior guys in the back. Our PM watch commander and supervisors entered the room and the lieutenant took his place at his desk, at the head of the room, facing us.

He started calling the roll and our assignments when the snickering and muffled laughs became overwhelming. He looked up and began scanning the room when his eyes hit the front row left, last seat, against the wall. His eyes bugged out of his head.

Yellow raincoatHe was looking at the rookie wearing his cover, his yellow rain coat and boots and his Sam Browne waist level outside of the rain coat.

He bellowed, “Diaz, what the hell are you doing, son?”

Now the laughter was overwhelming, and I had to wait to answer until the noise settled down. “Misplaced my uniforms sir, returned from the shower to my opened locker and found that I had misplaced them, sir.”

“G-D D—N it! Whoever find’s Diaz’ uniforms gets an early EOW, (end of watch).”

I heard scuffling in the back of the room and then voices yelled out, “We found where Diaz misplaced his uniforms, lieutenant!”

I think I saw a slight twinkle in the lieutenant’s eyes when he made his declaration.

The rest of the night was uneventful.


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Guest Post: What is Your Badge or Star Worth to You?

By Anthony Morgan, Retired Oakland Police Department

What is your badge or star worth to you?

To the new officer it is a sign that says “Look at what I have accomplished, look at what I am.” It doesn’t take long for the badge to become a part of the owner and the owner part of the badge. Maybe that is because it was earned through the trying months of the academy and field training, a successfully completed probation and becoming part of a team.

In the early years of a career the badge rarely leaves the officer. When not adorning the uniform it can be found on the pants belt or filling a badge wallet. It would not be a surprise to find that it was pinned to a shirt while sleeping. Before the newness wears off, the owner’s hand will periodically check to see if it’s still in place. Woe to the person that loses his or her badge.

As the years pass less thought is given to the badge. It becomes part of the daily uniform donning ritual, as common as just putting on a pair of socks. After a shift it frequently remains pinned to the uniform shirt and hung up in the locker to await another shift. Short of an occasional buffing no unusual thought is given to it.

As law enforcement officers we place a black band across the face of the badge in memory of a fellow cop who has fallen in the line of duty. We take a closer look at it and may start carrying it more often. We may think about the meaning of that piece of metal and appreciate it a bit more. When you see the badge of the fallen officer handed over to a family member you are made aware of the value it holds for the spouse, a child, a parent. They rub their fingers over the number, the agency name trying to get a sense of their officer.

It really isn’t until one leaves the police service that the importance of the badge is realized. That badge—your badge—was issued to you a long time ago. It was the ultimate sign that you took the “test” and were found worthy of that piece of designer metal. You were one of dozens, maybe hundreds, of individuals who attempted to meet the standard set so high for police officers.

Each day validated your fitness to be called a cop. You earned the right to wear that symbol of law and integrity by taking on the tasks that others could not or would not do. You sacrificed your youth to wear that badge honorably and to make a difference.

Eventually, the day comes that you walk into the Personnel Office and lay your badge on the counter. A part of you goes with it. That badge said who you were and what you have become. It accompanied you to every disturbance, every heart-wrenching call and, to every funeral. It is the symbol that made you stand apart from others who were not fortunate to wear the badge. That badge is yours. It sat on your chest next to your heart and became an extension of it. When that “cheap” piece of metal, which was paid for at such a high price, is handed over, so goes a piece of your soul and heart.

It is on that day that you remember what that badge did for you the first time you held it. The pride and the excitement that coursed through your mind and body. On your last day you are now aware how important that thing is to you and that it wasn’t just part of the uniform. For good or bad, it is you. It accompanied you on the path of spirited rookie to wizened veteran. And now retiree, who must hand it over.

Some departments have a badge waiting for the newly retired officer. It is something that can be displayed with pride in the following years. Often it is just a substitute for YOUR badge which will probably be resurfaced and reissued to another spirited rookie. Some departments issue a flat badge or nothing at all.

I was very lucky. My Sergeants star was an older style with a different design. I never compared it to any of the others, so I didn’t notice any difference. The Personnel officer said “wow, is that one old. I haven’t seen one of these in a few years. We’ll get you a new one with the ‘RETIRED’ flag on it.”

No way. I wanted my star. He assured me that he would get it back to me after the flag was attached. He was true to his word after many months of waiting. I still carry my star in a wallet to this day.

I happened to write a letter to my chief asking permission to have a copy of my Sergeant Star and my Police Officer Star made for a shadow box. I must have caught him on a good mood day. He granted my request. I have my Sergeant Star #209 and my Police Officer Star #426 hanging side by side along with other mementos on a wall in the house.

It is amazing that a cheap piece of metal with a shiny covering could mean so much. A lifetime of memories and dreams are embedded in each star. Each one is important to its bearer. I hope that everyone who wears a star or a shield will feel the same way.

What are my stars worth to me? They are priceless.

Anthony Morgan
Oakland Police Department



Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: More on Scheduling Days Off

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

So you carefully plot out your days off for the following month. You submit your request and hope you get something close to what you asked for. The rookie sergeant has the entire watch’s days off requests. That’s usually about thirty to thirty-five highly trained officers, all with loaded guns. You don’t want to piss them off.


The first thing the sergeant does is put everyone days off on a master sheet. He is given a “haves” and “needs” for each day. “Haves” are how many officers show working that day by their requests, the “needs” show what the bare minimum number of officers you need to work. You almost always have too many officers working mid-week and never enough asking to work weekends. The master sheet would look something like this: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you had 30 “haves” and only 20 “needs.” Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, you had 10 “haves” and 20 “needs.”  Let me do the math for you. To balance the days off, you have to take away 10 officers weekends and give them a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. That’s just one weekend.


Some brand-new sergeants who didn’t spend much time in the field and is only working patrol until he/she gets off probation. He/she didn’t care if the officers got crappy days off. They only want to get back into the building to network with the brass. If the new sergeant takes the short-cut, he just takes away officers’ days off requests. Some officers get nothing they asked for and end up with a bunch of singe days off. Nothing worse than a single day off on Morning watch (graveyard). An officer could end up with days off that go something like this: work 2, off 3, work 1, off 2, work 10, off 1. The sergeant who did those days off was likely to have a flat tire on his personal car.


The new sergeant, who was pretty proud of himself, submitted the days off to the Watch Commander (W/C) for approval. 10 minutes later, the sergeant got them back to do all over again. The W/C probably saved the sergeant’s life.

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A Commentary from a Friend

By Joe Mariani, a retired Marin and Sonoma County teacher and administrator

re-posted from Facebook, with permission 


First of all, I love to read your Hal Collier stories.

But what sad news last night!

As a school administrator for SRCS [Santa Rosa City Schools] I regularly worked with the SRPD [Santa Rosa Police Department] & SO [Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office] and Probation. Several years before I retired in ’99 and then for the following decade when I was an on-call substitute administrator at all of the secondary schools in SRCS, we finally got 5 campus based PD officers who would split their time between our five high schools and their five feeder middle schools. As a building administrator I also attended the monthly Sonoma County gang- related meetings with the the same three groups at the SRPD main, where we would discuss the previous month’s gang activities & share intelligence.

Most regular citizens don’t have a clue about the dangerous and hard job that police & sheriff officers face every day, and how much we rely on them for our safety.

Also, it was always so great to see the paramedics & fire truck roll up – please no code 3! – when we had a badly injured or really sick student down. I go crazy when I see all if the bad press that today’s cops are getting, when I know from personal experience that all of the people who I worked with were good guys & ladies. And I also know that there is a “rest of the story” about the people who cops deal with every day/night that usually gets glossed over in the news. I dealt with middle & high school kids, non-students coming on campus, and adults for over 3 decades in a zillion “rest of the story” situations. It was so great to call or finally have a designated police officer to help with my 1056 [suicide/attempt], 415 [peace disturbance- can be a domestic or dog barking and everything in between], 242 [battery], H&W [Health and Welfare Code-known also as Welfare and Institutions Code-violation usually pertains to laws specifically to protect children’s welfare] , & even occasional 245 [assault with a deadly weapon], et al!

So my heart & prayers also go out to one more member of our “thin blue line, his Department, and his family.

More Street Stories

Video: Injured K-9 Officer Bruno eats on his own; receives blood from K-9 colleague

Police captain: ‘He’s a tough dog who did his job well yesterday. He’s a hero’

After being shot in the face, Anaheim police K-9 officer Bruno returned to his handler, whimpered once and wanted to return to the action.

Photo by Capt. Mark Cyprien


Even as his handler raced him to the hospital, Bruno’s ears were up and he didn’t want to lie down, police officials said.

“He saved at least one life yesterday,” said Police Capt. Ben Hittesdorf Friday morning during a briefing of the Chief’s Advisory Board.

Police identified the man who shot the dog as Robert Andrew Moreno, 21, an Orange gang member who was released from prison 10 days ago.

His rap sheet includes auto theft, narcotics violations and assault on a custodial officer, officials said.

He was killed Thursday when officers returned fire.

The action began to unfold about 2 p.m. near the intersection of La Palma Avenue and Citron Street when two probation officers approached three men.

Two fled.

At least one of them fired at the probation officer who chased him – and then the other who had detained the suspect who didn’t flee, police said.

Deputy Chief Julian Harvey said the probation officers were shaken up but otherwise okay.

As one of the suspects fled, he confronted a woman who was unloading groceries with her children, ages eight and 10.

The suspect brandished the gun at the children and threatened to kill them if they called police, Hittesdorf said.

About 3:15 p.m., Bruno joined SWAT officers in searching for the suspect. His handler had him on a roughly 20-foot leash when he gave the signal that the suspect was either inside or behind a black trashcan with a lid.

The suspect opened fire.

Anaheim PD K-9 with handler Officer Young
Anaheim PD K-9 with handler Officer Young

Following the unrest of 2012, the police department instituted a policy where it would visit family members following an officer-involved shooting to answer any questions they can and provide them with information about the process that follows, including the District Attorney’s Office investigation.

Early Friday morning, police a counselor, a District Attorney’s Office investigator and a Coroner’s official met with Moreno’s mother and aunt for about an hour.

Police say they plan to have counselors in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred – and also at two schools that were on lockdown Thursday.

At Yorba Linda Regional Animal Hospital, where Bruno was in surgery for three hours, surgeons removed a good part of his lung and worked to reconstruct his shattered jaw, said Capt. Bob Conklin. The round missed his aorta by less than an inch, he said.

A six-year veteran, Bruno is Anaheim’s most senior K-9 officer.

“His vital signs were stable,” Conklin said. “The next 18 hours are crucial. The hospital did an amazing job.”

Police K-9 handlers from Riverside, Los Angeles and elsewhere joined police officials and even community members who visited the hospital to show support for Bruno.

His handler was joined by his wife and young child at the hospital. Police officials said Bruno is a beloved member of the family.

Capt. Mark Cyprien said another K9 officer put on scrubs, was by Bruno’s side during the surgery and gave regular reports to his colleague and his family.

“He’s a tough dog who did his job well yesterday,” Cyprien said. “He’s a hero.”

For more info on Bruno, click the link below:


Video: Injured K-9 Officer Bruno eats on his own; receives blood from K-9 colleague.

Ramblings by Hal

Cop Funerals, Part Two

By Hal Collier

This Ramblings took me a long time to write and it’s Part 2. 


I try to keep most of my Ramblings fun and on a positive note but the fact is that there are a lot of negative aspects of police work.  If you work for over three decades in a dangerous job, there’s going to be some tragedy.


I saw a lot of partners seriously injured and pensioned off.  Some couldn’t even work other jobs.  Think of being sentenced to watching soap operas, or Oprah every day. It’s just like being retired but without good health.  Believe it or not some of them were the lucky ones.


I attended more police funerals then any cop should have.  In the Police Academy they had a class on officer survival taught by Bob Smitson.  It was very graphic with pictures of dead cops on a morgue table.  The class taught that you had to survive any confrontation.  After the class, I walked to my car with my hand on my gun—and I was at the Police Academy.  A month later, I was sent into the streets of Los Angles praying that I’d never be in the pictures shown in that class.


photo by
photo by

I wasn’t even off probation when I attended my first police officer funeral.  My training officer told me that I had to attend; it was my duty. I was a training officer for twenty years and made my probationers attend at least one police officer funeral.  It’s something that you will never forget.  You see an American Flag-draped coffin, knowing that it contains a police officer who last week was doing the same job you did last night.  If it’s an open casket, seeing a cop lying there in uniform is a sight you’ll never forget.  You see the grieving wife, kids and family.  It’s a real wake up call.  You suddenly realize that you’re not invincible.


I couldn’t tell you how many cop funerals I attended, but it was more than I should have.  For a while I attended every LAPD officer’s funeral, and a few LA County Sheriffs.  There were also a few smaller city officer’s funerals.  It was the least you can do for officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.


The news media will make an appearance and show a thirty second clip of the funeral on the 5 o’clock news.  They will then show two minutes on a drug rehab for out-of-work actors.



Funeral band on badge
Funeral band on badge

A police officer’s funeral is a fitting tribute.  I have seen officers attend from all over the country.  All wearing their best dress uniforms, their leather gear shined to a high gloss.


All had that black elastic band across their badges.  Some come thousands of miles to honor a fallen comrade.  I have been at funerals where the procession of police cars stretched for miles, sometimes lined with citizens who appreciate the sacrifices we make.


The first funerals I attended just had the service and the 21 gun salute at the cemetery.  My partner, Jim Tomer, collected a shell casing from each funeral we attended.  Later funerals had a helicopter flyover with the missing man formation. 


Riderless horse
Riderless horse

The LAPD Mounted Unit has a riderless horse with the boots reversed in the stirrups.  Then there’s those bag pipes.  Those damn bag pipes!!!  I can usually control my emotions at funerals until those bag pipes play Amazing Grace.  I have learned to bring enough Kleenex for both my partner and I.


Most of the funerals I attended, I didn’t personally know the officer. They were easier, if there is such a thing.  You still see the grieving family and know that their Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries will never be the same.



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