By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
My best D/O sheet arrest came with a lot of effort. I had a probationer who was hard-headed. I think he was the beginning of the “Why Generation.” He questioned everything I tried to teach him. One night, or morning, depending how you describe 2 AM, we get a radio call: hot prowl, suspect just left, in the Oaks. The Oaks is an exclusive neighborhood in the East end of the Hollywood Hills. All the streets have the name Oak in them. The narrow streets are in the hills and have lots of curves. The chance of catching a burglar is slim because he can see and hear you coming for blocks. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and a Chief of Police of the LAPD lived in the Oaks. Guess who got the most extra patrol.
Wrong, it wasn’t the chief!
I was teaching my hard-headed probationer how to read the D/O sheet and where to get his own copies. He suddenly saw the light after he had to write a couple of hot prowl burglary reports in the Oaks! The Oaks was not in my patrol area but I spent a lot of spare time driving around. I had to dodge a few flat possums and the much faster raccoons. One night my probationer suggested we head up to the Oaks and look for the burglar. I think I found the soft spot in his head or he just got tired of taking crime reports. We drove up into the Oaks and just as our police car crested a hill we saw a flash of something duck behind a parked car. I raced up alongside the car and expected to see a coyote with someone’s pet in its mouth.
Lo and behold, it was a human. He fit the description of the hot prowl suspect we had been looking for. He told us he had jogged from 42nd and Western to the Oaks, a good 15 miles. At the time, I jogged 3 ½ miles after work and soaked my t-shirt with sweat. Our suspect lacked any sweat. Glad I didn’t have to chase him.
We booked him and a up and coming hard-working Hollywood detective connected him to fifty (50!) burglaries in Hollywood and the adjoining division. Our suspect served a few years in prison and when released was again caught committing hot prowl burglaries in the Oaks.
So much for prison reform.
I had other successes from the D/O sheet but the sad end to my story is that one day I returned from vacation and went into records to get a few D/O sheets and found the folder empty. I asked the record clerk what happened to the D/O sheets. She told me they were too time consuming for the record clerks to type every day.
She then asked me if I wanted to buy some Avon Products she was selling.
I think the department missed the boat when they did away with the D/O sheets but then maybe that’s just the dinosaur in me. Hal