Roll Call

Roll Call: Just off Probation, Rampart ’74

By Mikey, Retired LAPD

lapd police carI was just assigned PM Watch patrol at Rampart Division and I’m excited that as a brand-new P-2, I’ll be working with another brand-new P-2!

Oh yeah, it doesn’t get any better than that and the best thing is that we get to make our own decisions! Real adults! So, I find that my partner is another Hispanic (We are both Mexicans. Just say it) and he is as excited as I am. We flip as to who is going to drive and the other partner is TGOTR, he is the “guy on the right.” He keeps the books and does the talking on the radio.

Before clearing we grab a cup of mud and discuss tactics, back up gun positions, driver officer’s responsibilities, passenger officer’s responsibilities, who is first up to scratch a traffic ticket, and so forth.

Pretty important stuff as you may not have the time to figure out these things if you get into deep serious. Then we discussed our training officers, supervisors, the hot records clerks, and most important, where we were going to take code 7, eat.

We were westbound Temple Avenue approaching Bonnie Brae Street when we see two guys in the middle of the street in a throw-down, one guy on top of another on the ground.

We go code 6 (busy) at the intersection and break up the fight. After the guys are handcuffed, we sit them on the curb and discover that they speak only Spanish.  S—t, cause neither of us “Hispanics” speaks the lingo worth a crap. We talked about it a long time before we made the decision—to request a Spanish speaker to our location. Then we did it.

The first to respond was our supervisor. He got out his cruiser, walked up to us and yelled, “What the hell kind of Mexicans are you two?”yell-311455_960_720

“Ones that don’t speak the language very good, Sarge.”

“You don’t speak English very well either.” He began. “If I ever find that you two possess more than $5. 00 between the both of you I’m gonna arrest you for theft, ’cause you are ripping off the city. Two Mexicans and you don’t speak Spanish.”

He shook his head as he walked off.

And from the curb came the spoken words, “He don’t like you, huh?”

Yup, from the jerk that was on top.

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings: A Weird Co-worker

By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Did you ever have a co-worker who was just weird? No matter how hard you tried, you just couldn’t find a common ground. The individual I’m about to describe was that type of officer. I’ll call him Jeff. I don’t think that I ever worked a patrol shift with Jeff but I was around him enough to know he was different. Jeff didn’t get along with anyone he worked with. You think spending Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws is a long day; try spending eight hours in a police car with Jeff! He was so difficult that officers volunteered to work the desk or jail to avoid spending time with him.

night ops with the copsEvery so often a police division will loan an officer to another division for a special assignment. If that loan becomes a permanent transfer, they must transfer another officer back. That’s were Jeff comes in. Rampart Division owed us an officer and, just like Fidel Castro, they didn’t give us the cream of the crop. In fact, they gave us Jeff. Now, the short time Jeff was assigned to Hollywood he made quite a reputation for himself. No one wanted to work with Jeff.

I recall two incidents where Jeff called in sick for work. One day, Jeff said he was stung by a bee and couldn’t report for work. Maybe Jeff was allergic to bees. Ok, that’s plausible but the next day at work Jeff couldn’t remember where he was stung. Another time he called in sick saying that he was getting married. Short romance was our guess and we were dying to see who would marry him. Sure enough—Jeff showed up at work the next day still single. Some guessed that Jeff’s bride deflated!

Well as luck would have it we owed an officer to Northeast Division and guess who was at the top of our list? That was the good news. The bad news was that I lived in Northeast Division. Jeff would be protecting me from crime at my house.  I figured that there was slim chance that I’d ever run into Jeff but I was wrong.  Well not exactly. My wife is a good driver and has only gotten one ticket in her entire time driving. Yes, you guessed right, Jeff gave it to her.

cop car in rear viewJeff stopped my wife for speeding. Actually, she was going five mph over the posted speed limit. Now, in my 35 year career I’ve stopped about a dozen police officers for traffic violations. I never wrote one a ticket; the same for firemen. You called it professional courtesy. I have been stopped three times, once in Texas, and never had a ticket. Well my wife mentions my name to Jeff. 

Jeff says, “Oh yea. I know Hal.” Jeff wrote her a ticket. We paid the ticket without complaint.

Some nights when I have trouble sleeping, I think of Jeff. I wonder if he’s still a cop, did he ever get married, or just maybe one of those bees actually stung him! 




Roll Call

Roll Call: The Kitchen Knife and the 5150

By Mikey, Retired LAPD 

Dispatcher Charleston PDRampart Division, 1992, shortly after the riots things were settling down, different, but settling down. Just as this 19-year veteran of the LAPD thinks he has all figured out, reality back-hands you, square on the face. It was a PM patrol watch, business as usual, when a 5150 WIC (5150 Welfare and Institutional Code describing a mentally ill individual), is broadcast on a street in the south end of the division, boarding South West Division. The information we received was that the teenage son had torn the inside of his house apart, threatened his family with a 15” butcher knife and had fled the home with the knife. 

I responded along with several units and the inside of the house looked exactly as dispatch described. The mother and sister of the suspect were there. They were very afraid and the mother warned us that her son was out of control and they feared for their lives. Several minutes after we had arrived, a South West unit reported that it was following a stolen vehicle, armed and dangerous with four occupants, north bound toward Rampart and they needed back-up. The procession was headed in our direction and would be passing us in a matter of a few minutes. I told my officers that I would stay with the family and they should back the South West unit. 

Things were going well for about ten minutes when at the far end of the street, just east of the house I heard a gut-curdling scream. At the corner standing illuminated by a street light, was the teenage son, knife over his head clutched in his right and pointing in our direction. Mom and sister were standing behind me screaming at the teenager to put the knife down.

silhouette-of-hand-with-knifeWell, I joined the chant as well, as I unholstered my 9mm and told him to drop the knife. I broadcasted a “Help” call, “man with a knife.” The standoff lasted 30 seconds before the teen charged us, knife raised, in a full sprint. I yelled to him that I would shoot if he did not stop. From behind, me I heard the women yell, “don’t shoot him.”

Then it happened. One of the bravest, selfless acts of love I have ever seen. Both women ran toward the man, wrapped their arms around him put their heads down and waited to be brutally knifed or for me to take the shot. I’ll never forget that scene as they held him back from moving any closer to me. At that moment officers arrived and surrounded the trio, but I still had the shot. This is where it all came together for me, 19-years on the department, a tactics, self-defense instructor, Vietnam vet and now this reality.

I heard an officer yell, “Don’t shoot Sarge. He’s holding a twig.” The 15” knife went from a blade to a twig just as fast as the words came out of the officer’s mouth.

The women were pulled away from the man and he was taken into custody. What would the headlines have read and the evening television news described? In my mind’s eye, he WAS holding a 15” knife but in reality, it was a 9” twig. Even with the experience I possessed, the “power of suggestion” had me spring-loaded to the deadly force position.

I included the incident in subsequent tactics classes along with a 15” butcher knife and a 9” twig, the same one the teen used that night. 

cops talkingAnother sergeant was there as the man was taken into custody. The sergeant was a Vietnam veteran as well. He came up behind me and whispered into my ear, “Heard the pounding of the elephant, didn’t you, Mikey?” 

“Did I sound like it?” 

“Yes, you did Mikey. Yes, you did.”

Back on August 10, 2016, Ed Meckle wrote a post about the origin and meaning of this significant phrase. It’s worth your time to click on the link.