PDA

View Full Version : Old Timers


Fire in the Hole
06-21-2009, 7:50 PM
I'm borrowing a neighbor's computer to type this. Mine is still in the shop with a virus. My lodge brothers and I went to two convalesent homes today, to just listen to the old guys for a few minutes each. This thread is kind of for Retired, Ron Solo and the other LASD Deputies. I had the pleasure to sit and talk with a 94 year old man. He was pretty spry. Anyway one of the nurses knew I was retired LEO, so she assigned him to me. I think I lucked out. This man had been a LASO Deputy from 1937 to 1960. He retired to take a job at a dairy to make more money. Anyway his stories were fascinating. He and one other deputy lived in a cottage that LA Co. bought from the Navy in Palos Verdes. In the late 30's, they were each assigned an WWI Jeep with a maximum speed of 45 mph. Radio cars didn't come out until later. For guns, they carried whatever they could buy on their own. He carried a 1911. His beat to cover with one other deputy was Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Lomita, Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, South Torrance, Carson, and Wilmington. That was one beat! 3 Hour ETA's were the norm. He said that out of all the crime reports had taken from burglary, to robbery, to assault, never exceeded one page. He took a couple of homicide reports, because the investigators at HOJ couldn't get out there, as there was a John Dillinger Sighting. Those reports did take three pages, due to all the physical evidence, and witness statements. The Academy was one month long, with one month assigned to an FTO. He saw a SGT. about every other month. Somrtimes not that frequently. Arresting people was a pain, to drive to HOJ from Torrance on Hawthorne Blvd., over to Western, then down town, and go back to the beat in that jeep. There were no freeways back then. The radios were GI Issued hand cranks. Reception was poor. Gas Stations and post offices in his beat were issued three flags. The HOJ would telephone one of these businesses, to hang out a red flag for Major Emergency in Progress, an orange flag, for an Urgent call, a yellow flag for a routine call, and a blue flag to just plain call in. He said that he relied on common sense, and the 10 commandments to guide him through his decisions.


Anyway, I thought you might all like to hear this little bit of nostalgia.

Jonathan Doe
06-21-2009, 9:16 PM
Those old timers sure had it hard. I remembered when we didn't have a handheld radio. So, when we leave the radio car, we had to turn PA volume up so we can hear it. Time sure is getting better equipmentwise.

SoCalDep
06-21-2009, 9:39 PM
Thanks for doing that. That guy deserved to have someone listen to him, and you made that possible. Thanks for passing it on.

BigDogatPlay
06-21-2009, 10:10 PM
That's a great story, thanks for sharing.

My first chief retired with 34 years, he started in the 1940's. That man forgot more about police work than I'll ever learn, and the basis of every lesson he imparted on us youngsters was pure, simple common sense.

Those old birds have a lot of stories and they can teach us plenty if we listen to them once in a while.

Fire in the Hole
06-22-2009, 7:08 AM
It was indeed a neat day, even if I'm still layed up with this big heavy cast. Comes off today. WooHoo. Anyway this old Deputy, his name was Herbert, told me that despite how hard he had it in the jeep, he always felt sorry for the CHP. Because back then, all CHP Officers were on motorcycles, from Lt. on down. 365 days a year, rain or shine. I asked him how the CHP transported their in-custody arrests. I already knew the answer, but I wanted to see if his memory was the same as I've read about. He said that the CHP would just put the arrestee on the back of the motorcycle, and head off to jail. I asked about handcuffing. He said that they would cuff one hand, have the arestee get onto the back of the motorcycle, then the Officer would sit down, and take the arrestee's free arm, pull it around the front of the Officer's waist, then cuff up that hand. When finished, the cuffs and the arrestee's hands rested aroung the middle of the Officer's stomach. Off to jail they'd go. A asked about uncooperative arrestees that refused to go along with that program. He said they'd just get sapped a little until they were persuaded to be nice. Also, that the CHP's were issued Thompson .45 sub machine guns during WWII, which they rode around with slung over their shoulders up and down PCH. Pretty cool huh? He also talked about having to assist with getting the crew of the S.S. Dominator off the shipwreck, and standing guard duty over it off Palos Verdes for a week while they decided what to do with it.

sgtbuck
06-22-2009, 9:17 AM
Wow I love reading about LE history. Thanks :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

masameet
06-22-2009, 9:49 AM
Fire, these are great stories! Still how about the next times you visit the old deputy, you bring a recording device and just encourage him to recount his days as a LEO?

His oral history would be great for all to listen to via the internet. If you could find other, just-as-old retired LEOs and record their stories, and put them on the worldwide web, you'd have a unique site.

Fire in the Hole
06-22-2009, 9:55 AM
I'd like to but old Herbert's days are numbered. His voice is pretty low of volumne. It was just a once in a life trime chance I was fortunate enough to capture, and I wanted to break away from some of the things I've been reading on this forum, and share this with all of you. My technology abilities are not up to snuff for the recordings, and collecting that you suggested. It's a good idea for someone to do though.

CaliTheKid
06-22-2009, 9:57 AM
Thanks for sharing those-!! Good stuff.

yzernie
06-22-2009, 10:42 AM
Man, that is just a cool thing to read. As a young deputy in that late 70's I always listened intently to what I called then "old timers" had to say. I saw first hand one of the ole guys take a report on a matchbook cover.

I find as I grow older I listen more intently to the older folks and what they have to say...and not just the old cops. I hope that I can even live to be his age.

retired
06-22-2009, 12:15 PM
Fire in the Hole, thanks for posting that. It would be interesting in any case to read about the experiences of an old time leo, but I have to admit it is extra special since it was from my former dept.

I had heard how it was back in the 1950s before, but not that far back. It is amazing to realize how big of an area they covered and what type of equipment they carried.

Good reading.

ETA: Re what topgun7 said about our handhelds: We didn't go dept. wide with handhelds until late 1989, early 1990. Considering the dept. is the largest of its kind in the U.S., that was ludicrous. Other, smaller depts. had them way before us. Lkd. station did, for a short time, tested a handheld that was also the car radio for a short period, but it was no good.

I bought a scanner from Radio Shack and carried that to know what was going on, so I didn't have to put my PA on at 0200hr. and anger the neighbors in the area.

Fire in the Hole
06-22-2009, 12:19 PM
Thanks. You know there are all kinds of great cop stories of LA Co out there. I remember talking with an old CHP Officer back in the 70's. He was of course a motor cop as they all were. I remember vividly him describing patrolling north of Mullholland Blvd. when the dam burst. We forget now, but that was a real disaster of great magnitude. He said he and a Deputy were trying to do as many evacuations as possible, and they hung around too long. He said the sound of the cavalcade of water was deafening. He ran to his motor kicked it over, and headed north toward Newhall, and high land. He got to where S.R.-126 is now to find Piru flodded. Fillmore and Santa Paula were in the way. The water was rising, and crashing like a wave toward him, and he was out of gas.. He took his hands off the controls long enough to cross himself and ask God to take care of his widow and orphans, because there was no doubt that this would be his last day on Earth. Pretty headdy stuff.

yzernie
06-22-2009, 12:26 PM
I wonder if that Chippy was Jack Allen. I used to race motocross with him in the Police Olympics. He told me a very similar story. He retired several years ago and the last I knew he was driving a school bus in Arkansas or Kentucky or some other hick state where guns are everywhere!!

Fire in the Hole
06-22-2009, 12:31 PM
I wonder if that Chippy was Jack Allen. I used to race motocross with him in the Police Olympics. He told me a very similar story. He retired several years ago and the last I knew he was driving a school bus in Arkansas or Kentucky or some other hick state where guns are everywhere!!


I doubt it. This guy was speaking at a retirees luncheon of the Asphalt Arabs. He was in his late 70's at the time. Probably no longer with us.

J_B
06-23-2009, 3:41 PM
Wow, that's an OG for sure. I nut up when our computers go down and we're on card dispatching.....I have and always will respect those that came before me but that really makes me appreciate having "crap" equipment. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the Corps again....lowest bidder and second hand stuff but it sure beats nothing.

Not that we have crap equipment but compared to some other agencies, we're a step behind...so goes for large departments.

B-Bob
06-23-2009, 8:15 PM
Interesting reading.. I think it would be great if you would share this with other LASD folks. One large group you can get to can be found at LASDRETIRED.ORG. AKA 'The Moon Site'.

270D

retired
06-24-2009, 12:58 AM
Now that I'm retired, I'm a member of lasdretired.org and receive all of the emails. It is a good organization and helps me and other retirees keep abreast of what is going on in the dept. and what is happening with retirees we know and possibly worked with.

eltee
06-24-2009, 9:53 AM
Those old timers sure had it hard....


In some ways, especially with technology but in many ways they had it easier than us. Back in their day, cops could be cops. Pre-Miranda, etc. etc. minimal paperwork, minimal oversight, no special interest groups to deal with, higher levels of public support, self initiated "community policing" without a 3 day course and a 3 inch thick policy, true discretionary decision making...

and a Thompson SMG slung on your shoulder to backup the 1911 on your hip.

In many ways I wish I could have worked under those conditions.

Of course, I am now considered (almost) one of the old timers. :cool2:

Great thread.

yzernie
06-24-2009, 10:19 AM
It doesn't even go back as far as that old timers story when street cops kept the thugs and gangsters in check. Now, the gangsters are who are running the neighborhoods of see no fear in the street cops...and I think that is just a shame. I miss those days terribly but the light at the end of my retirement is getting brighter every day. 2 years, 8 months, 1 day and 6.5 hours...but I'm not counting!!

socalsheepdog
06-29-2009, 4:04 PM
Someone get Ken Burns on this. A Ken Burns documentary on early American Law Enforcement would be the best.

I was in a guys house once who was Ret LASO from way back when. This guy was old and had a wall full of memories. He was pretty cool, and loved to talk about the old days. It was a medical aid call and I think he felt a lot better just being around a few cops again. Fascinating stuff.

jafount
06-29-2009, 4:22 PM
Wow. Awesome stories indeed. I feel old when I talk about driving diplomats and having repeaters in the car that made your handheld radios work. That's all high tech compared to these stories!

A324
06-29-2009, 5:42 PM
Also, that the CHP's were issued Thompson .45 sub machine guns during WWII, which they rode around with slung over their shoulders up and down PCH.

I've seen photos of CHP motors with Thompson's patrolling the perimeter of McClellan AFB in Sacramento during WW2. I believe those photos are on display inside the Capitol building along with other CHP memorabilia.

Fire in the Hole
06-29-2009, 5:53 PM
I've seen photos of CHP motors with Thompson's patrolling the perimeter of McClellan AFB in Sacramento during WW2. I believe those photos are on display inside the Capitol building along with other CHP memorabilia.

The justification was written up after Pearl Harbor, by the Govenor to equipt them to patrol from Cresent City to San Diego, on Hwy 1, looking for any Japanese Submarines, or shore boarding craft. The Gov. diverted them from the CA National Guard which already had M-1's. The reason you see McClellan AFB in many early photos is because this was where the CHP Academy was located prior to being moved to it's own facility in Bryte, (West Sacto), during Gov. Reagan's Administration.

5shot
07-01-2009, 2:31 AM
Those old timers sure had it hard. I remembered when we didn't have a handheld radio. So, when we leave the radio car, we had to turn PA volume up so we can hear it. Time sure is getting better equipmentwise.

Yep, remember those days. If you took off on a foot pursuit, your follow-up had to figure out where you went from your last broadcast.

brode
07-07-2009, 12:00 AM
Hi, thought I'd intro myself. Retired from Burbank PD about ten years ago after putting in 27+ years. I've been teaching College and practicing law full time since then and doing some JAG work with the 40th ID on weekends.

retired
07-07-2009, 1:24 PM
brode, welcome to Calguns and to the leo forum also!

Sounds like you are enjoying your second career. Feel free to jump in upon reading any of the questions posed by our non leo members as it sounds like your experience will be very helpful in answering the questions.

Also, don't hesitate to reply to any of the posts by any active/retired leo (I'm retired), as I'm sure you have some interesting insights on many subjects.