The Call Box: Motor Cop Stories
By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
I was present for the first two of these tales, as to the third the officer who told the story to a group claims it happened to him. Knowing him, I find it very easy to believe.
I’m working Metro Division, plain clothes patrol in the early evening. We have just turned from a side street to southbound Avalon Boulevard, a busy thoroughfare in south L.A—and a high crime area. As we make the turn, directly in front of us are two L.A.P.D. motor officers. They are about to stop a vehicle containing two males that is directly in front of them. The vehicle is signaled to the curb. Although slowing, the driver seems reluctant to stop. It creeps along for almost a block, is signaled again and makes an abrupt turn to the curb. As the motor officers make the stop, we both observe a small bundle thrown from the passenger window landing in the gutter. It is obvious neither motor officer saw it.
We immediately pull over to watch. One officer writes the driver while his partner stands not three feet from the bundle. When the citation is complete, he is signaled to leave but is again reluctant to move. Signaled again, he slowly leaves. A few moments of conversation and the motor officers leave. We check the package which appears to be heroin. Who could have guessed?
We replace it and conceal ourselves nearby. We wait a long three or four minutes before the car returns. Now, they can’t find the right spot and are off by several car lengths. Finally, finally, they spot it and when one of them picks it up, we introduce ourselves.
Years later, I’m a detective sergeant working robbery when two motor officers bring in an armed robbery suspect for booking approval. It seems the officers were “sitting in” at a major intersection on the high income west side when they observed a male “jaywalk” directly in front of them. While one officer wrote the citation the other gazed about the landscape.
Soon, he saw a well-dressed male, his feet bound at the ankles, hands tied behind him and wearing a gag, hop out of a nearby jewelry store.
Going from traffic enforcement mode to law enforcement mode they immediately suspected something was amiss with their jaywalker. His sweater had been tucked into his trousers and was stuffed to overflowing with jewelry. Underneath it all, a pistol.
I give them booking approval and instructions on writing the report and disposition of the evidence and then complimented them on a damn fine arrest. Instead of being pleased they are “pissed” at losing time from ticket writing to make a felony arrest. I later found out the last thing they did when they booked him: made sure he signed the ticket.
The retired motor cop relating this story tells us he and his partner were working Hollywood Boulevard, night watch when a cabbie with a fare commits a flagrant violation right in front of them. The next night before roll call, the sergeant takes him aside and asks if he examined the ticket after the cabbie signed.
“Take a look at the signature— ‘I’m being held up.’”
True? He says so.