Street Stories The Call Box

The Call Box: Intangible

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

INTANGIBLE definition: Unable to be touched or grasped; not having a physical presence

An architect can point to a building or structure he (we are using the editorial “he” here, no disrespect to females). A contractor or plumber can lay claim to any number of projects. Even a factory worker can point to an X count of widgets at day’s end.

There are service persons by the score-waiters, clerks, doctors, lawyers, nurses and the list goes on. But what of the description, “First Responders?”

The law enforcement officer (LEO), aside from arrests and tickets, usually has only his personal satisfaction in providing the daily chores that make up his life. LEO’s must and should take motivation from the service they provide. From finding a lost child, recovering a stolen vehicle or property, and/or settling a dispute ad infinitum. The satisfaction of looking back at shift’s end and knowing that he made a difference in someone’s life (hopefully a good one).

He must take pride in whatever it was he did or didn’t do to resolve the situation; to take from that whatever he needs to bring him back day after day, to provide the fuel that feeds his enthusiasm and drives him no matter how jaded or disillusioned he has become. To prove, if to no one but yourself, that you are a person of character. Then, and only then have you accomplished something.

CHARACTER definition: The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. I prefer, ‘doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’

Part II


Have you ever experienced a LEO being introduced to a stranger and watched how guarded he is until told that the other person is or was a LEO? You would’ve seen a complete personality change right before your eyes. There is almost a “formal rule” or ritual that both parties go through, probably done unconsciously. If you doubt me, read law enforcement blogs or Facebook police pages.  Aside from the usual kidding you will notice a sincere sense of mutual respect and love, yes love. You’ll see an almost elaborate politeness, a sense of warrior meeting warrior.

Civil war painting-unknown battle
Civil war painting-unknown battle

In July 2016, I wrote, “I’ve been to see the Elephant.” This term was common to the Civil War wherein the young soldiers tried to put into words the horror they had witnessed. An unspoken, “we have been there, passed the test and I recognize you for who and what you are.”

Granted not all LEO’s go through this ritual but enough for me to notice. Other than the military no one besides LEO’s are that closely bonded.

I have heard too many eulogies, read to many End of Watch (EOW) notices and heard to many tales of friendship and daring-do to wonder why we don’t reach out—right now—to our old friends and partners and tell them of our feelings. Tell them you appreciate all the times together and tell them as only one man can tell another, “I love you, man.”

It was Shakespeare who told us we were a “BAND OF BROTHERS,” are we not? 

Better they hear it now than before it’s too late. Tell them now.

The Call Box

The Call Box: Four Tales of Five Bandits Who Chose the Wrong Profession

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

March 1

with thanks to Melisa Dervaes for editing!

polic-call-box-pedestal-lapd-gamewell-DCAL2786_dt1Working a radio car, we answered a 211 (armed robbery) that had just occurred.

The 20-something female clerk was composed and gave an exceptionally good description of the suspect. I took notes to put out a broadcast.

She concluded with, “What if I knew him?” 

“Ah, that’s good, how?”

“He was in my graduating class from high school four years ago,” she said. 

“Did he recognize you?” 

“Nope,” she said, “I was a blonde then.” 

“How about a name?” 

She said, “I can’t remember but he is bigger and stupider now than he was then.”  “Do you still have your school yearbook?” 

She did, then stated, “Let’s take a ride,” so we did. 

We gave her that ride and then a short time later, we took him for one, too.  Sometimes it’s just that simple.


 Many years later, I was a Detective Sergeant assigned to the Robbery Detail at Wilshire Division. The following crime report came in for the Business Team.


old timer gas stationTwo male suspects entered the gas station in separate vehicles and asked to use the vise in the closed garage area. They proceeded to hacksaw off the barrel of a .12-gauge shotgun in the garage, then used the gun to hold up the attendant. 

At the conclusion of the robbery, one of the vehicles would not start. The suspects were last seen eastbound on Venice Boulevard in a black 1955 Chevrolet, being pushed by a dark blue 1961 Buick. Recovered at the scene and booked as evidence was the discarded shotgun barrel which had the prints from both suspects.


Yet another simple case.


 This report is good for a laugh and “made the rounds” for its suspect description.

The suspect was described as a black male in his mid-20’s, 6’5” to 6’6” tall with a slender build. He wore a blue bandana for a mask and sported a Jordan High School letterman’s jacket with the basketball logo “Tyrone 1961” embroidered over the left breast. 


Another simple case. 


This last story belongs to my partner and myself.


As the suspect was a “novice bandit,” he is referred to in this narrative as “NB.”

Iver_Johnson_Safety_Hammer_in_original_boxNB had obtained an antique .32 caliber revolver, either a Harrington and Richardson or an Iver Johnson. This revolver was a “break open” model and in order to load it, the barrel and the cylinder needed to be tilted forward. A small nut and bolt assembly served as the “hinge pin.”  This particular revolver, however, was missing this nut and bolt assembly and in its place was a bent nail. When NB had selected his victim, he produced this weapon, and somewhere between “stick ‘em up” and “oh s**t,” the nail fell out. Now, logic tells us that the fallen nail was followed by the barrel, followed by the cylinder, followed by all 5 rounds, leaving our hapless NB holding a gun butt with only a trigger and a hammer attached to what used to be a revolver. The victim then produced his own weapon and shot NB in the foot from about 8 feet away, a point-blank shot. After units went on scene, all they had to do was follow the blood drops to NB’s hiding spot that was located several blocks away in a bush. 


To quote the Russian/American comedian Yakov Smirnoff, “is this a great country or what?”



Writer's Notes

Life Gets in the Way

By Thonie Hevroncropped-cop-loc-auth-close-up1.jpg

This week has been busy. I forgot my Wednesday post so today will have to make up for it. The big delay is because a dear friend and colleague (Maria, the dispatcher in By Force or Fear and With Malice Aforethought) lost her husband of suddenly in a home accident Wednesday afternoon. Greg had just beat cancer—full remission and had been cleared to fly his plane. He and Maria flew two weeks ago. Maria said his smile was practically permanent. A fall from a ladder ended his tomorrows.

Anyway, Maria is like a sister to me so I am spending time with her. Her family and friends have surrounded her with love but I’m there, too. I’m in full-dispatcher mode, taking names and phone numbers, contacting friends, taking care of business, and, of course, being there. This eats up my writing time and drains my energy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the real treasure of life—being able to help someone you dearly love.

lapd callboxSo, this is my Wednesday post that will appear on Thursday evening. Hal Collier’s Sunday Ramblings will return in a week or so. Ed Meckle’s The Call Box will fill that slot.

About With Malice Aforethought—I’ve put off the regular status reports on my third book because it’s complicated. In July, shortly after signing the contract, my publisher at Oak Tree Press suffered a health crisis. The good news is she is recovering. The bad news is her recovery is longer than she hoped and she’s a one-man band. In the hospital, she has been able to hand off projects to work on but no one knows the drill like she does. She does expect to get back in the saddle. I’ve been using this limbo time to polish the manuscript and make it the best it can be. I am about two weeks away from sending her the final draft.

Don’t know how long it will take to get a publishing date but I’ll guarantee you this: you’ll read about it first here!

Oh, another news flash: my website— is up and running! Look it over for book info and buy links, synopsis and samples, bio and pictures, and the Just the Facts, Ma’am blog.

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