By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
Any copper’s career is made up of many, many hundreds of moments frozen in time, some memorable for one reason or another and some gone as they occur.
I have tried to take note of as many as I can remember as they come back to me. Here, then, are two.
I was a police officer assigned to Metro on a training loan to Juvenile, working alone I am seated with the Vice Principal (VP) in her office at a local high-school about to interview a grand theft suspect.
Th student is sullen and given to one-word answers or shrugs and I am getting nothing.
He finally asks, “Why are you accusing me? You don’t have no evidence of nothing.”
Bluffing, I ask, “How about your finger prints?”
“I never been arrested, and nobody ever took my fingerprints so how could you think they was mine?”
Where this thought came from I will never know but I said, “You were born in a hospital, weren’t you?”
Ok. “Ever see your birth certificate?”
“Well, if you had you would have seen that little baby footprint they put on there.”
“That footprint is the same as your fingerprint.”
The VP gave me a “What in the hell are you talking about look?”
My frown and shake of my head silenced her.
Sometime later he stated he might have been there and might have touched something.
The VP just rolled her eyes and gave me the tiniest of smiles.
Many, many years later after I retired I received a phone call from a man who had done some handyman work for me years before. Remembering I had been a police officer he wondered if he could ask my advice regarding a problem.
He lived on the second floor of an apartment building in a small nearby town and while seated at his kitchen table cleaning his legally owned handgun noticed what he took to be rust spots on the barrel.
Knowing he could see them better in the sunlight rather than under artificial light, he stepped onto his balcony, held the gun up and examined it.
At that precise moment a woman across, the way saw him and did what some women are prone to do—screamed at the top of her lungs then ducked back inside her apartment.
Hearing the screams but not seeing the woman, unnerved him to the point of ducking back inside his own apartment wondering what had just happened. Should he go back and check? Does the woman need help? Should he call the police? What to do?
The decision was made for him when he heard sirens, the sounds of running feet, shouts and then the whomp, whomp of a helicopter.
After a few minutes of silence, he opened his door to find a police officer, gun drawn, crouched close by.
“Get back inside,” the officer commanded.
“What’s wrong,” he asked.
“Stay inside. There’s a man brandishing a gun on the loose in the building.”
I gave him the advice he needed to get his gun back.