Roll Call

Roll Call: Rampart and the Baby Powder Caper

68 Plymouth Belvedere labeledBy Mikey, Retired LAPD

March 25, 2018



In the summer of 1973, as a rookie copper in Rampart Division, I was learning the ways of the LAPD. Every day was exciting for me. I was assigned morning watch, so I got to work at 2230 for a 2400 roll call.


One night, I was in the locker room talking with another copper when four sergeants swarmed into the room and began taking names and serial numbers. One of the senior officers asked what the deal was, and he was told that he would find out later.  At the conclusion of roll call our lieutenant told those of us who had had their names and serial numbers documented to report to the Area Commanding Officer’s (CO) office. 


In the hallway were five officers standing outside of the CO’s office. Just as I got in line, an officer exited the office, looked at us and said, “that was B**l S**t!” and stomped off. All the guys before me said pretty much the same as they exited.


Then it was my turn. A sergeant and lieutenant (LT) were in the room. The sergeant stood by the light switch and the LT was behind a desk. On the desk was a lunch box, the kind that is rectangle at the bottom and half oval on the top.  

The LT instructed me to approach the desk and put my hands out in front of me. He then told the sergeant to turn out the room lights. I heard the lunch box lid open and suddenly an ultraviolet light came up, illuminating my hands. Barely visible were some very little shiny “flakes.”  The LT called the sergeant over to the desk and told him to look at my hands.


 “What is that?” the L.T. asked.


 My response, “I don’t know, sir.” 


 “Well, it’s on your hands!”  


The sergeant turned the lights back on and I found them both eyeing me suspiciously. 


“What’s up” I asked.


Silence. Then, “you can go. What car are you working?” 


I replied, “2 Adam 3.”


Something told me I’d be talking to the LT again, very soon. My training officer asked me why I had been in the CO’s office, but I did not have an answer for him. 


Sure enough, 15 minutes later, “2 Adam 3, see the watch commander.” 


Back at the station, I reported to the watch commander and he told me to go back to the CO’s office and report to the LT. In the LT’s office, I was again asked me again what the flakes on my hands were. This time I had an answer for him.


In a somewhat weak voice I said. “Baby powder, sir.” 


“Baby powder?” 


 Johnsons_Baby_Powder_1,5_OZS_talc,_pic1I told him that in the summer I used it because I sweat quite a bit. 


The LT looked at the sergeant with that “ah, ha” look and said to me, “well then, it should be all over your person.” With that he told me to take off my uniform shirt. So, I removed my Sam Brown put it on the desk, pulled my shirt out and unbuttoned it. The LT told me to pull my T-shirt up and he instructed the sergeant to kill the lights. The UV light came back on and wouldn’t you know it, there were flakes all over the place.


Not satisfied with that, the LT had me take my belt off, and pull my pants down. Oh yeah; this is 1973 LAPD, no union rep, nothing. Just as he is working his way down to my knees, the door came open, I heard a hand being slapped and the light came on. From where my watch commander was standing behind me, how do you think it looked? The LT was practically kneeling down in front of me and my pants down to my knees? 


 “Young lieutenant, that’s disgusting!” My watch commander shouted. Then to me, “Diaz, get yourself put back together and get out on patrol!”  God, I felt so, I don’t know, used?


So, here is why this happened. There had been locker break-ins, so the CO’s adjutant had powdered several lockers with the secret stuff and had a couple of the lockers bugged to set off an alarm if they were disturbed.  The night I was there, the alarm tripped, the sergeants arrived, and the baby powder made the LT “hot” and all for nothing. 


The next night, my training officer brought in a super sized container of baby powder. All the guys powdered up their hands, banged on every locker, went to roll call to await the dreaded “swarm” of sergeants, but nothing happened.


I stopped using baby powder. Just saying.


The Call Box

The Call Box: Three Tales of Yesteryear

lapd callboxBy Ed Meckle

I remember reading somewhere that a light bulb burns brightest just before it goes out. I hope this not the case as some of my memories are crystal clear, others not so. Maybe some things are best forgotten.

A long time ago and far, far away, I was a young copper working night watch patrol. My regular partner, Frank Isbell and I had just left roll call with the sergeant’s words, “Now let’s see who can find her.” following us. He refered to a wanted notice he had just read for a “Cynthia [whatever], physical description provided. She was about our age and wanted for assault with intent to commit murder. The detective handling the case had made the appeal in person and let us know they “really wanted her.”

Five minutes out we reached our patrol area and turned into a quiet side street. An alley runner crossed half a block ahead of us. Two minutes into the interview it was obvious we had nothing. A young man just off work hurrying to see his new girlfriend.


Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, Ca

As I handed him his license, I have no idea why, maybe just to leave him with a good feeling, I asked the name of his new girlfriend.


“Cynthia [whatever],” he replied.

Frank and I exchanged “the” look and I asked, “About my age, yea tall, short hair, glasses?”

A dubious nod.

I asked, “Where did she go to school?

“Manuel Arts High,” says he.

“What a small world. We were in the same graduating class. Get in the car we’ll drive you. I just want to say hello.”

He was such a square kid that even after we cuffed her he still wasn’t sure what had just happened.

cop leaning on carWorking with a regular partner, someone you know and trust can make life so much easier. Frank and I had an easy relationship, same age, both former Marines. He was one of the best street cops I ever worked with and believe me I knew some really good ones. He was a natural and we were good together. We laughed a lot, finished each other’s sentences and had an almost “spooky” unspoken communication

We had actually developed “routines” for certain situations.

“Officer, do you know who I am?”

This would prompt a reply, “Hey, partner, I’ve got a guy here with amnesia. Doesn’t know who he is.” Or “Do you have any kind of ID sir. Maybe we can help you.”


“Do you realize that I pay your salary?”

“Hey partner, I finally met the guy who pays us.” or “Thank you, sir. You have no idea how much we all appreciate what you do. I can’t wait to tell the guys at the station that I met you. They are going to be so excited. God bless you sir.”

Did this really happen? I don’t know but heard the story long ago.

TurkeysLate night, officer approaches parked car, strange noises emitted in darkened area.
“I would like to see some ID, please,” the officer says to the sole occupant.
His response, “Who me?”

Leave us pause here for a moment. Any interview that starts this way is going to be interesting.

“Where did you get the turkeys? There are 8 turkeys in the back seat all talking at once.

The reply: “What turkeys?”

I defy anyone, anywhere to tell me of another job that is as interesting, weird, strange and as much fun as this one—and they even paid us.


Roll Call

Roll Call: The Norton Avenue Incident

A new column, “Roll Call,” appears  on alternate Sundays starting today. The author is called “Mikey.” In the ongoing mission to bring the real stories to literature, television, movies, the internet, Mikey has joined Hal Collier and Ed Meckle from LAPD to share his tales.

His creds: Served in the USAF as a military police officer, 1 year in Vietnam.  Joined the Ontario PD in 1971 and remained until 1973 when he joined the LAPD. He worked Juvenile, Narcotics, Vice, Training and Patrol.  Mikey made sergeant in 1990 and retired in 2008, from Hollywood Division.

Here’s his first story: The Norton Avenue Incident by Mikey

Norton Avenue, Wilshire Area 1991

In my eighteen years of being a field sergeant, I was fortunate to have learned early what it meant to appreciate the field officers—both seasoned and the “wrinkle-frees,” as I referred to them. This is a story of bravery and selfless devotion to the communities we serve.

Occasionally, being in the right place at the right time can be a very healthy thing—if not for you then for someone else. I had been a sergeant six months when the Rodney King incident occurred. I was assigned to Wilshire Patrol and usually worked the morning watch. However, because I had been a PT/ Self Defense instructor at the academy I was asked to attend several community meetings throughout the city to explain the department’s use of force policy following the Rodney King incident.


This temporary assignment required me to adjust my work schedule. It was about 1:30 P.M. when I was picking up coffee at the Winchell’s on La Cienega at Washington in preparation to attend a community meeting in the valley. So, I wasn’t supposed to be in that division. The call that we all dread, “Officer needs help, shots fired, officer down,” came out over the air. The call was on Norton Avenue near 9th Street.

I responded and saw a black and white in the middle of the street facing north with a probationary officer taking cover on the right front fender of the cruiser. His partner was lying down behind him. I asked the officer to go to a tactical frequency and to my astonishment, I was talking to the senior officer! He told me that the person lying down on the street was a female shooting victim. The senior officer had taken a position of advantage in the home directly north of the house where the victim had been shot. A neighbor had called communications, mistakenly saying the female victim was an officer. According to the rookie officer, the woman was still alive.

Just then the senior officer reported a shot being fired from within the house where the female victim has escaped. The officer reported a young man, bound and gagged, had been pushed out of the back door. He fell motionless onto the driveway. It was later discovered the young man was the son of the female victim.  Both had been shot by the woman’s estranged boyfriend.

night time shooting policeAdditional units began to arrive and we formulated a rescue plan. As I was instructing the officers what to do I noticed that a lieutenant and a senior sergeant were observing the preparations. I motioned for them to join the group. The lieutenant said, “You’ve got it.”

I had the officers who were not on the rescue team spread their bullet proof vests on the rescue vehicle that would afford the rescue team some protection. The vests were affixed to the cruiser with duct tape. After all, this was 1991 before armored doors.

Five officers were to deploy in the rescue vehicle, one was to exit prior to the vehicle entering the drive way. His job was to assist the probationary officer placing the female victim into the cruiser and proceeding north on Norton and out of harm’s way. The four remaining officers were to proceed into the driveway, two were to rescue the male victim and the other two would cover the officers rescuing the male victim.

LAPD_helo.jpgI asked the pilot in the overhead air unit that when she observed the unit enter the driveway, to flatten the pitch of her rotor. Being a helicopter pilot, I know that this creates a sound similar to a machine gun going off—a great distraction.

Everything went as planned and the officers were able to secure the male victim in the cruiser and safely leave the house. The senior officer, still in his position of advantage, heard a single shot shortly after the officers left.

Now at the scene, SWAT made entry and found the suspect dead from a self-inflicted wound. Both victims survived their wounds.

Now came the hard part. Not only reports, a law enforcement necessity, but those brave officers needed to be awarded for their bravery. I met with the divisional and patrol captains and we discussed the writing of the awards document. I made it perfectly clear that all officers involved were to receive the awards and citations commensurate to their involvement. I told both captains that my involvement was as the scene supervisor and nothing else. I told them that anything higher than a commendation for my involvement would have diminished the bravery of those five young officers. I sent them into harm’s way and they never hesitated. They never questioned my decisions, they were flawless, and they were the best the department had to offer.

All five received their well-deserved medals.




Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, 9-11-2001 in LA


By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD

Ramblings: 9/11/2001 for June 26th, 2016

9-11-2001:  Just about everyone can tell you where they were on 9-11-2001 when four airplanes were hijacked and two planes slammed into the World Trade Centers. It was a Tuesday and the temperature was forecast for mid-70’s. I was scheduled to work the field on day watch as a supervisor. I was preparing for Roll Call when the first plane, American Airlines, flight #11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 5:46 AM PST. As usual the TV was on the news in the Watch Commander’s (WC’s) office, the off-going watch wanted to know if they will hit traffic on the way home. The WC’s Office soon filled with officers watching the horror on TV. Most were wondering what caused a plane to veer off course and hit a building in New York. At 6:03 the second plane, United Airlines flight #175 slammed into the South Tower. The wondering stopped.

We were at war with an unknown enemy! The speculation started on who could do such a thing. Some guessed correctly that it was the work of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

We went to Roll Call and the room was quiet. Hardened cops couldn’t believe what they were seeing on the television. We had an abbreviated roll call and hit the streets. We knew that what happened in New York was going to affect everyone. I headed to the bathroom, figuring it might be six hours before I had another chance.

When we cleared for patrol, we were immediately hit with a barrage of suspicious package

calls. People suddenly saw suspicious packages that they had probably passed a dozen times before on their way to work. I personally handled three bomb calls alone. One was an empty box on Hollywood Boulevard, another was a large cylinder attached to a power pole on Highland Avenue.

America was suddenly waking up to terrorism on our own turf. I raced from call to call for about three hours when I was directed to come to the station. The LAPD had gone in Tactical Alert and each division activated their command post. I was a member of the Hollywood Division command post cadre. I spent the rest of my shift in the command post.

Months and even years after 9-11 we responded to possible terrorist sightings. One Hollywood Hills resident saw a Middle Eastern man asking how to get to the Hollywood Sign, normally a common occurrence. We sent a police car to check him out. Nothing!

Because of terrorism, airport lines have caused hours long delays. It now takes longer to go through the screening process at the airport than it takes to fly to Las Vegas. You can’t even go to a baseball game without being screened.

Bombs have been around for a long time but now they are in the everyday activities of citizens.


Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Supervisors, part 3 of 3

By Hal Collier, LAPD Retired

We are happy that 35-year veteran Hal Collier is sharing his ‘stories behind the badge’ with us.

This is the last of my suggestions on being a good supervisor, I promise!

Another thing I learned as a supervisor is you can’t take your reputation as a street cop with you. I felt I was a good street cop in Hollywood and made some pretty good arrests. I made Sergeant and I was transferred to Southeast (Watts) Division. Only a few officers there knew me and I had to establish my reputation all over again. Your reputation, good or bad is earned and that takes time. Be patient.


I got this advice in sergeant’s school and I used it the rest of my career. Don’t ask your officers to doing anything you won’t do. Get your hands dirty too. Don’t tell your officers to stand out in the rain or cold while you sit in your warm dry car. Once, I was working the Hollywood Christmas Parade and it was bitter cold and the wind increased the chill factor. The parade was over and the citizens scurried home. Our captain made us stand out in the cold for hours as he drove around in his car with the windows rolled up. A large number of us got sick. I was often the Watch Commander and on weekends we didn’t have a custodian. I could have asked a probationer to empty the trash cans but I remembered the lesson I learned in sergeant’s school. I emptied the trash myself.


Write the officers commendations when warranted. Everyone needs to be appreciated. I know it’s extra work but if an officer did a good job, don’t ever tell them, “That’s just your job.” Commendations are in your personnel package forever. If a commendation is not warranted at least verbally commend the officers, in roll call if possible, in front of their peers is even better. Never ever chew out an officer in public or in front of other officers. I hated Hawaii Five-0 and Kojak because the boss belittled his people in front of others.


Roll call—the start of a new day. What mood do you want the officers in when they leave roll call? I attended nineteen roll calls a month for eleven months a year for thirty-five years. That’s over 7,000 roll calls so I consider myself an expert on roll calls. If you’re the supervisor in charge of roll call it’s your responsibility to keep them happy. A while back we had a Chief of Police who publicly stated that officers’ morale was not his job. He was not well liked! Don’t send them out in the streets in a bad mood. The paperwork they will create for you is not worth the aggravation. If you have negative issues, say them early and then leave them on a happy note. We use to call that the sandwich method. Good, bad, good!


Last but not least, this was not required but I found it was a morale booster. I would bring in homemade cookies and See’s Candy at Christmas, a cooked turkey at Thanksgiving, and tubs of red licorice just because. It was much easier to get the officers to meet the goals of the department when they’re happy. I once decided to bring in a big basket of fresh fruit from Costco. I filled the basket with apples, oranges, bananas and pears. I thought it might be healthier than chocolate first thing in the morning. After roll call the remaining fruit was taken to the Watch Commander’s officer to share with the rest of the division. My captain walked in and asked who brought in the fruit. I said “I did, I have to take care of my officers.” 

He thought they were his officers. Ha ha, I let him think that.


It’s not easy switching hats from being one of the boys to being a supervisor. You show up at a coffee spot with three patrol cars and they all get busy and leave you there alone. I had one officer that I knew quite well. We fished together and talked all the time. I made sergeant and he refused to call me Hal. It was now ‘sergeant’. Get used to it.


Being a supervisor can be a hard job and lonely at times but it can also be rewarding. I remember one officer talking about a supervisor who held his retirement party in a phone booth—he wasn’t liked.

These are my suggestions and might work for some newly promoted supervisor or help an older supervisor. 

Good Luck.  


Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings Miscellaneous 3: Just Lucky

By Hal Collier

 Hal Collier is a retired LAPD veteran of thirty-five years. He’s been gracious enough to share his “Ramblings” with us.


The following stories are true. I couldn’t make up this stuff. These stories are my experiences as a police officer. I only mention this again because some of my old partners who read these stories have fading memories. They get halfway through one of my stories and can’t remember if they took their morning pills. As I mentioned in one of my last Ramblings, sometimes good arrests just fall into your lap.


Most non-police people think cops eat a lot of donuts. If a cop does eat a donut you can bet it won’t be a white powered variety. Blue wool uniforms and white power don’t mix. The public bases their conclusion on the fact that they see two or three cop cars parked at a Winchell’s, or Cooper’s Donuts. 


I just aged myself. 


Today’s cops hang out at Starbucks, or Goldstein’s Bagel Shop. Most cops don’t eat donuts, but almost all drink coffee. Be honest just about everyone gets a coffee break. I won’t even get into some of today’s cops ordering a cup of coffee with the word latte in it, or with a squirt of this or a 1/2 and 1/2 of that. Ordering a cup of coffee shouldn’t take twelve words. And what’s with that little sleeve to keep you from burning your fingers? Today’s cops are a whole new breed.



Yum-Yum Donuts
Yum-Yum Donuts

k, back to Ramblings. I’m working A.M. Watch, you know–that 11 P.M. to 7 A.M. nightmare. My partner and I are going to need some caffeine to get through the night. After Roll Call, we drive to the Yum-Yum Donut Shop at Melrose and Highland. We drive into the parking lot and are greeted by the baker. He’s yelling something in Spanish. My knowledge of the Spanish language is to tell a suspect to put his hands up and that his mother is a member of the world’s oldest profession. All I understand him saying is black guy and robbed. He’s pointing toward the alley. I guess our coffee break is going to have to wait.


We drive into the alley and see two black guys pushing a car. They finally get it started and jump in. We stop them. Yep, they had just robbed the donut store. Ok, not everybody I arrested was a Rhodes Scholar, but come on, don’t rob a place and then find out your car won’t start. Double dumb: the driver was arrested once before for robbing this same donut store. I think my commendation said that I have superior knowledge of crime trends, keen observation skills, and outstanding tactics. Reality, I just wanted a cup of coffee.


I’m still working A.M. Watch. It’s been raining most of our shift. We’re driving eastbound Hollywood Boulevard, approaching Western Avenue. We see two black guys running across Western and into a parking patrol car at nightlot behind the Bank of America. Ok, running in the rain is not unheard of. Gene Kelly made a fortune dancing in the rain. It’s when one of the guys looks over his shoulder at us and they both duck down behind a parked car. Ok, we’re going to investigate.

I pat down one of the chaps and feel a large bulge in his right front pocket.

I ask, “What’s that?

He says, “My money, about $12. You can check if you want.”

I pull out a wad of crumpled up U.S. currency. It’s over a hundred dollars.

My partner, Cliff, looks at me and says, “What do we do now?

I tell him “We wait for the radio call.”

Three minutes later, ”Any Hollywood Unit, 211(Robbery) just occurred Hollywood and Western at the taco stand. Suspects two male blacks.”

With a grin as wide as a Cheshire cat, I pick up my radio and broadcast, “Code 4, suspects in custody”.

Again, the commendation said something about experience, tactics, blah, blah, blah.

Reality, luck, and right place at right time.


On TV, a burglar alarm at a closed business means a crime is in progress. In reality, 95 % of burglar alarms are false. It’s often employee error when closing, or the wind, or rain. One hot day, we had a power failure and it triggered every business alarm in a five block area. Yea, we had to check out every business per department policy. A.M. Watch is a little different. Sometimes the alarms are good. Most business burglars prefer to work when everyone is asleep.


I’m working A.M. Watch. Yea, I know, I’m always working AM’s. In fact, I spent nineteen of my thirty-five years working in the dark, maybe that’s why I now get up at 4 A.M. everyday. Anyway, a burglar alarm comes out at a business on Melrose. Doug, a good street cop, who succumbed to a promotion to Sergeant, responds. Doug, being a good cop, drives to the rear alley. Low and behold a business burglar. Doug has caught him red-handed. The only problem is that Doug is in the wrong alley. He’s north of Melrose and the alarm is on the south side. Well, Doug has caught some business burglars. The real alarm was false.


Hotel laundryWe got a suspect and the getaway car. We have to search the business. I’m on the perimeter when the officers search the building. It’s a commercial cleaners, drapes, curtains, and large items. Jim the senior officer comes out of the building and says he can’t find anyone but he has that feeling an experienced police officer gets. Jim feels that someone is in there. He says, “Hal, you take a look. I think someone is in there but I can’t find him”. I think Jim has read my above commendations, he knows I’m not good, just lucky.


I go into the building and look around. Nothing. I’m standing in the work area of the building. I don’t want to doubt Jim’s sixth sense. I noticed a large pile of drapes lying on the floor. I stared at them and they appeared to be breathing. Yep, the burglar was hiding under that pile of drapes. The Judge laughed out loud when I testified in court that the drapes appeared to be breathing.


See you don’t have to be good all the time, just lucky.     

Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings-Misc 2, featuring Childhood Revenge


By Hal Collier



The following stories are true. These are tidbits of things that happened during my career. I was recently asked why I write these stories. Whenever you get three or more cops together, they talk about the good old days. The more alcohol consumed the better the stories. All cops have stories of their experiences. They love listening to a cop’s story and then tell their version of the incident. Some of the replies I get of an incident confirm that my memory is still good. Hopefully, I can put off having my name and address written in my underwear for a few more years.


These stories are sort of my memoirs of my career. I always said that good police work was 75% luck. That’s being in the right place at the right time. It’s 25% knowing what to do with the luck when it drops in your lap. Being a cop is rewarding as well as frustrating. Cops rely on instincts due to their training and experience. Now days, lawyers call it profiling. The first story still bugs me to this day. I missed a big one.


I’m working A.M. Watch—it’s about 4 A.M. I’m driving in the Whitley Heights area of Hollywood. That’s a nice residential area above Hollywood Boulevard. It’s where movie stars first moved to in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. I see this car driving toward me. It’s a beat up clunker, one head light out. As he passes me, the driver has that ‘oh shit’ look on his face. Even my new probationer partner remarks that guy doesn’t fit this neighborhood.police traffic stop


We stop him to investigate. He identifies himself as Roman Jason Elliott III. He says he’s from New York and begins to compliment us on our professional appearance. Ok, I’ve been snowed before, but most attempts were by a female traffic violator. As I question him, I’m thinking he was in that neighborhood to commit a crime or was leaving after committing a crime. His story has so many holes that even the ACLU would be suspicious. His car was registered to a female—he claimed was his girlfriend’s car registered in Kansas. We checked him and the car for warrants and neither was wanted. He gave me permission to search his car. Nothing in the interior, the trunk was locked and he insisted his girlfriend had the key. I tried to figure out a way to get into the trunk. I’ve got that nagging feeling that something is wrong, but I can’t arrest him on hunches. I sent Roman on his way.


I’m off for the next two days and when I return, I’m sitting in Roll Call. They pass out a wanted flier for a Roman Jason Elliot III. Wanted for murder. It seems Roman strangled his girlfriend when she refused to be a prostitute and put her in the trunk of her car. He was looking for a place to dump her body. I’ve got that sick feeling in my stomach. I had him and let him slip away. He was later arrested in Florida and convicted. His girlfriend was a farm girl from Kansas. Roman convinced her that he would take her to Hollywood and make her a star. Yea, she was in the trunk when we stopped him. Win some, lose some and I lost a big one.


I found an interesting article dated Oct. 25, 1998 in the Lehigh (Pennsylvania) Valley newspaper. This wasn’t the only time Roman met the police. There’s even a line indicating he later had a murder conviction in California. Sadly, this is similar to what happened with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies during the Polly Klaas abduction investigation. It’s one of those times when the law dictates what a cop can do–and can’t. If there was no consent to search the trunk in either case, the officer cannot lawfully do it. this is an example of cops doing their jobs to the best of their ability within the law. Unfortunately, the outcome wasn’t satisfactory in either case, although both men were convicted of murder.  –Thonie


OK, on a brighter note, Cliff and I are patrolling a rear parking lot of businesses behind Hollywood Boulevard. As we drive through the parking lot, we see a man come from the back of a business. We grab him and figure we caught us a business burglar. As we question him, I notice a hippy dog with a handkerchief tied around his neck, running around the parking lot. This guy’s story is also full of holes. We handcuff him and put him in the back seat of our patrol car. I leave Cliff to watch over our new friend, while I check which building this guy broke into.


I see that damn dog again.


As I look for a crime, Cliff calls out to me, “Hal, we got a problem.” I return to our car. That dog belonged to our bad guy. He entered our police car through an open front door and jumped into the back seat next to our suspect. The dog is barking at us and showing an impressive set of canines. The dog won’t let us approach our own police car.viciousmuttdog1200


I can just hear the guys laughing at us and imagine the comments and practical jokes.


“Hal, why didn’t you just let the dog drive your suspect to the station?”


“Hal, are you applying for a K-9 job?”


I need time to think.

I go back to checking out the businesses for a crime. Nothing, our suspect might have gone back there to pee or we just caught him too soon.


I’ve stalled enough. What do I do with that dog? I get as close as I can to my police car. I tell my suspect if he loves that dog, he had better control him. I even threaten to shoot the dog if he bites me. The guy gets his dog to calm down. We release the guy and the dog, we saved ourselves a bunch of embarrassment. Since then I’ve hated hippy dogs with handkerchiefs tied around their necks.



I grew up in Eagle Rock and we lived in the hills. Our street was on a hill with the top somewhat level. That’s were all the kids played ball, rode our bikes, played freeze tag and dreaded when the street lights come on, because that’s when we had to go home.


At the level spot of our street, lived a man, Mr. Melman, the scrooge of our block. I’ll bet every kid growing up had a Mr. Melman living in their neighborhood. If our ball landed in his yard, he would run out, grab it, and make one of our parents go get it back. If we were just starting a football game he would back his car out of the driveway and park it on our 50-yard line. He just hated kids, but then come to think of it the parents didn’t like him either. Well, growing up you learn to deal with adults.


Flash forward fifteen years, I’m a cop patrolling Hollywood Boulevard. My partner observes this guy who resembles a wanted suspect. We stop him and ask for identification. I look at his driver’s license and my mouth drops open. It’s Mr. Melman from my street. I didn’t recognize him and he didn’t recognize me. He wasn’t our wanted suspect but he did have a bunch of unpaid traffic tickets that had gone to warrant. I don’t think I ever enjoyed booking a warrant suspect more. I just wish I could have shared my joy with the kids I grew up with. Most had moved away and I lost touch with them.


I still get a warm feeling when I think of sweet childhood revenge.

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