By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
One of the benefits of becoming a “senior” is that many of your mannerisms and idiosyncrasies are overlooked or excused with a shake of the head and a shrug. Occasionally, while lost in thought or just plain daydreaming, I will sometimes smile, chuckle or even snort while reliving past experiences.
As I have said before, any officer with any tenure has a collection of funny, weird, strange or just plain memorable events, adventures, urban legends, or just out and out whoppers.
I will share a few.
She was a sweet old lady and due to the number of calls to her home and visits to the station, most of us knew her or of her. Her constant fear was of exploding; yes, exploding. She knew someone was bombarding her body with electrical rays and she was fearful of a fatal buildup. She was always treated with utmost respect, but, we could not solve her problems with explanations and logic. Finally, someone came up with a brilliant solution.
Fuel trucks, as I am sure you are aware (especially gasoline) drag a chain (or nowadays, a grounding strap) from the rear axle-area that touches the road as they move. This grounds the truck and reduces static electric buildup which could cause an explosion.
This was all explained to her very carefully. Someone even tied a red ribbon to her brand-new chain which she dragged any time she felt a “buildup.”
Sergeant Stan Modic was a quiet, intelligent man but when he did have something to say he was generally pretty funny. On this occasion, he also displayed an unusual type of courage.
As a patrol sergeant, he responded one night along with the radio car assigned to the call: “See the man about a lion.”
Meeting the party reporting, Modic asked, “You mean like a bobcat or mountain lion is what you think you saw in your backyard?”
“No, sir. It was a real honest to God African lion with a big mane and everything. and I did see it.”
The two officers and Stan began a search of a very large and very dark back yard overgrown with bushes, hedges, etc, when what should stick its head out of a large bush but “a real honest to God African lion with a big mane and everything.” Not one to negotiate, Stan stepped in, grabbed it by the scruff of its neck and pulled a half-grown honest-to-God African lion with a mane and everything out of the bush. The lion did not object.
He handed it to Officer Sid Nuckles (my friend and the man who told me this story). “Here, you know what to do with him,” said Stan, as he departed. Now this is in the day before seat belts so the lion sat comfortably in the center of the rear seat, unshackled, his yellow eyes watching both officers on the trip to Ann Street Animal Shelter. Once there, they obtained a leash and marched him indoors. 100 plus dogs immediately went totally and completely berserk when they caught the lion’s scent.
Mr. Lion, (I’m sorry, I never found out his name) let loose a deep roar that would have made the MGM studios proud. Sid said you could hear a pin drop.
Some years later I had the good fortune to work for him when I was a new sergeant and he a new lieutenant. I asked him about the incident and how he could do what he did without fear of being bitten? He just gave me a half smile and said, “We had met before.”