By Hal Collier, LAPD retired
Ok, this is the absolutely (next to—from Thonie: there will be one more next Sunday 4/24/2016) last Ramblings on Code-7. Some of you must think that all I did for thirty-five years was eat. Actually a lot of times cops miss Code-7 due to an arrest, a busy night, or no other police cars available to cover while you ate.
Then was something called a Tactical Alert. A Tactical Alert was called when a major incident occurred anywhere in the large city of Los Angeles. Tactical Alert means no one eats and the waitresses throughout the city get stiffed on our quarter tips. Sometimes an incident has occurred in the Harbor, LAPD Communications Watch Commander will broadcast a city-wide Tactical alert. Now, if I drive up to Mount Lee just above the Hollywood Sign I can see the harbor but there’s little chance I’ll be sent there. Later, they would scale the Tactical Alert down to a bureau. It still means that you’re likely to eat Code-7 off the hood of your car.
Ok a last code-7 interruption (we already discussed this–it’s not the last).
When I moved to day watch, the locations to eat Code-7 multiplied by 800%. I liked a little Italian place, “Stephano’s.” It was family owned and run plus they had the best lasagna and garlic bread you ever tasted. If you weren’t very hungry they served a baby pizza. So one beautiful day, I’m dining at Stephano’s with my former partner, Lindy, and her future husband, Lou. He’s a LAFD firemen but I’m not prejudiced. I’ve eaten with the homeless if you remember a previous code-7 Ramblings.
So we’re sitting in a booth with a view of Vine Street. Just as we’re being served our lunch, Lou yells, “Look, a perpetrator.”
Who calls them perpetrators?
We look out the window and see a guy fleeing from the Pavilion’s Market across the street. Someone is chasing him. Now I might have thought they were just out for a midday jog but Lou said it loud enough that the rest of the restaurant patrons are now looking at us. Crap, keep my food warm. My partner and I run out to our car and catch up to the suspect—see? A suspect. I never caught a perpetrator in my entire career. He had been shoplifting when the security guard tried to arrest him. We had another police car meet us and take the suspect to the station while we returned to Stephano’s and finished our meal. We were then tied up with the shoplifter for the rest of the watch but at least we had full stomachs.
Sometime later the LAPD equipped their officers with handheld radios. They were carried on your gun belt which was already overloaded. There were advantages and disadvantages. The advantage was you were always within sound of Communications. The disadvantage was you were always within the sound of Communications! If you were eating and an, “Officer Needs Help” call comes out, you dropped your fork and responded. Later you had to go back and pay for the meal you didn’t eat. If you were still eating and a little over your allotted Code-7 time, the communications dispatcher would ask you if you were clear. That usually meant they had a call for you.
Read the absolutely and for real last Code-7 post next week.