Saturday, June 30, 2007

Calls O' The Weekend

One of the great things about scanning the BHPD (still not trunked!) is hearing them leap into action. Sure, if you scan the LAPD "Hotshot" frequency all day, you'll hear some of the gnarliest calls go down. In fact, an hour of LAPD hotshot calls is likely the equivalent of many smaller police department's violent calls for the entire year.

Such was the case on Saturday night when Beverly Hills' finest were dispatched to a report of juveniles shooting at cars and buildings with BB guns from a parking lot on Olympic Boulevard. The location is about two blocks from my house, and despite the temptation to go running out to watch the action, I didn't particularly want to get shot with a BB or, more likely, with a 9mm from the boys in blue.

Needless to say, things in South Beverly Hills were a bit quiet that night, so virtually the entire on duty patrol force responded to the scene. Two units shut down traffic in both directions, while at least four more staged a little ways from the lot. The citizen calling 911 had stayed on the line and was directing the cops in. In short order, the kids with the gun must have realized the absence of traffic on Olympic was a bit suspicious and as they jumped in their cars to make a quick escape, they were surrounded.

The BHPD made quick work of the ruffians and once more opened the busy street to late night traffic. But it's one of those that definitely got the BHPD's blood pumping.

And just when I thought that'd be the best call of the night, the good folks over at LAPD West LA Division requested backup and an air unit in one of the ritziest parts of town--Brentwood.

Turns out, an unruly man had fought with some patrol officers in a backyard and tried to pull the female officer into the pool with him. He was unsuccessful in this attempt, but he ended up in the pool anyway. A few Code 3 units and an Airship later, the suspect was still in the pool, surrounded by officers and a nitesun. They eventually called the LAFD in to fish him out of the pool and they then tased him for good measure.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


The LAFD might have a completely fucked internal culture with lots of bad apples (and a few truly rotten ones), but they're the best fire department in the world because of the way they handle things like today's early morning fire out in Van Nuys.

Don't ask me what I was doing awake at 2 a.m. on a "school night" but I heard LAPD Air 8 tell OCD that they had a single-family dwelling with smoke and fire through the roof near Sherman Way in Van Nuys. OCD sent out the structure assignment and a few minutes later Task Force 39 was on scene in the 13800 block of Enadia Way. I don't know who the Captain (II) was on TF39 last night, but he was as cool as a cucumber.

Until Battalion 10 arrived on scene a good eight minutes or so later, the Task Force Commander of old 39's was directing a finely choreographed ballet of fire-attack teams, search and rescue, truck companies on the roof, truck companies inside, and staging companies as they arrived on scene. No chaos, no confusion, no concern. The fire was raging inside a home under renovation, but each firefighter and captain who got on the radio during the incident was calm, cool and collected--even the guys at the end of the nozzle inside. The boys from Battalion 10 (who catch a decent amount of fire in the modern, generally fire-less, era) obviously work well together.

Knockdown was achieved in only 22 minutes, a remarkable feat, given that likely more than 90% of fire departments in the U.S. would have lost the house completely. Anyway, it's fires like those that make visualizing the LAFD at work through the little scanner speaker such a joy.

Kudos also to the LAFD and LACoFD who played well this morning on the radio on a mutual aid response to a brush fire in the County along the Antelope Valley Freeway. Everyone played nice and kept the fire to only about 10 acres.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Heat and Helos at Hansen Dam!

So I was waiting on this post to see what, if any, photos would pop up on the Internets from Saturday's "American Heroes Airshow" out at the Hansen Dam Recreation Area in the deep San Fernando Valley. Despite my fairly cursory search, I was unable to find any good pics, though I saw at least five or six credentialed photogs out there in the 88 degree heat with their telephotos. The best I can do is link to this from 2006's show taken by some guy (please ignore the many random pictures of dudes, and also note the hardware was slightly different this year, with less heavy military presence).

****I found the one above on the LAFD Blog's Flickr site from this year's show****

This was the first time I've made the trek out to Hansen to see the show (I meant to go last year, but probably overslept and didn't feel like making the 45 minute schlep). Got out there around 11:30 a.m., and just parking in the lot brought back fond/painful memories of many hot summer days more than a decade ago at air shows in places like MCAS El Toro (deactivated), NAS Miramar (now a Marine Corps air base), Pt. Mugu NAS and out at Edwards AFB.

I trudged from my car past the hot dog/churros booth and past a ton of static displays that were part of the "CODE 3 Recruiting Fair". Lot's of helos on static display.


--LACoFD Copter 15 (video), one of the big bad-ass "Firehawks"--a converted Blackhawk.

--USCG HH-65 Dolphin helo out of USCG Air Station L.A. (based at LAX) and an HH-60 Jayhawk out of Sector San Diego.

--The FBI brought quite a presence to the show and career fair! The coolest helo on display was the Bureau's Bell JetRanger SWAT ops model. It's sick JetRanger with an all glass-cockpit in a gunmetal gray profile with a blue stripe. Based out of Pt. Mugu, it's the FBI's sole (allegedly) rotary-wing asset used for HRT, SWAT and (obviously) surveillance duty. There was nothing overtly cool about the bird, but it was so sleek and speedy looking that you know it totally kicks ass in the air.
Meantime, the FBI's static displays were pretty damn impressive, especially give how hard it is to get hired by the FBI (I, for instance, smoked a bit too much dope during my college years and slightly beyond to ever even bother applying for the august agency). Besides the bomb squad, dive team, evidence techs and SWAT team, the Feebies brought along their ridiculous one-year-old Mobile Command Center, which they keep down at the Federal Building in Westwood. Once inside, it's a mess of flat screen TVs, computers, printers and other gadgets...pretty goddamned cool.
All in all, a nice day of public safety porn.
photo: Chester Brown

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Something to Do

If you're in LA this weekend and looking to geek-out with the always killer combination of public safety and helicopters, then I recommend you visit the "American Heroes Air Show" way out in the Hansen Dam area of Lakeview Terrace out in the Valley. I'll be out there looking for some good T-shirts and gawking at the birds.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Always...

...miss the good stuff. Case in point: I was watching the Pitt/Clooney crew in a darkened movie theater while Santa Monica got their first Major Emergency Structure in recent memory around 7:30 last night! Usually I'm stuck in some restaurant while there's a good burner, in this case it was the cinema.

Would have been a good one to scan since it was the first big fire since the LAFD took over dispatch responsibilities for SMFD. Would have like to hear the integration in action. Next time.

Didn't even hear about it until this morning, and it's overshadowed by the terrible LODD's from the South Carolina fire.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

TV Chase

It's often lamented in local news circles that there's nothing more sensationalistic than the fascination with the televised police pursuit. I, for one, love them. Especially when they go down just like they did on Friday night when the hovering news helos near Olympic and Robertson alerted me to the caper a little before midnight.

Turned on the news in time to see the LAPD pursuing a silver pickup truck just a few blocks from my house. Grabbed the scanner, muted the TV, and then it got about as realistic as possible--the helos provided the video and the LAPD Air Unit the audio!

Sort of anti-climactic, though. Suspect surrendered about 10 mins after I tuned in.

Friday, June 08, 2007


So in the few years I've been sporadically posting this blog, I don't think I have actually ever explained the meaning of Code6Charles.

Simply put, it's the term broadcast on the radio by the LAPD when a unit has run a warrant check on an individual and that check comes back with a felony warrant. Instead of broadcasting to the officer that the suspect he or she is standing near is wanted for a serious crime, the dispatcher uses the term "Code6Charles" and then asks the officer if he's "Code 4," meaning is everything okay (i.e. is the suspect in custody and the situation is under control). Usually, the suspect is either already in handcuffs, or the warrant isn't for that particular individual--similar names often confuse the computer and it will issue a false positive for a warrant.

If the officer is not "Code 4" he can request additional units to help him or can then move to place the suspect in custody and still have the element of surprise if the suspect hasn't deciphered the meaning of Code6Charles.

Unlike most police agencies in the nation, the LAPD does not use the so-called "10-code" system made famous in many cheesy movies and CB radio references. They prefer a plain speak radio system with their own codes thrown in and the California penal code designations to indicate the type of crime (e.g. the infamous "187" rap stars love to bandy about in their songs, which is the penal code for murder).

Anyhoo, I stumbled along this slick site today Never saw it before, but it's clearly been around for awhile. Good blanket public safety information site for all of LA County. Hat tip to a guy named Todd Pompey who apparently runs the site.

Code2High is an LAPD term that has been relegated into the dust bin over the past few years.
When units respond to emergency calls with lights and sirens, they got "Code 3." When they go to non-emergent calls, they go "Code 2," with a sense of urgency, but no lights or sirens. Code2High was a middle ground the LAPD used to employ in days before Chief Bratton changed the scheme and now has all the LAPD coppers going Code 3 to all manner of calls. Code 2 High was basically Code 3 without the lights and sirens but lots of fast, dodgy driving.

Anyway, nice to see the old term "immortalized" on the Web.

LASD and Ms. Hilton

Yes, they stupidly let her out early. But it was almost worth it to see her cuffed up and transported back Downtown courtesy of a nice Police Interceptor patrol car. Also, it's sorta hard to tell in this pic, but doesn't the female deputy riding shotgun look--as Paris would say--HOT?


Finally dialed up the old Bearcat in the last few days and heard some good bits:

--BHPD ran code 3 to a report of a woman standing in the middle of Beverwil Drive screaming for help at 1:30 a.m. About four patrol cars went screaming over to Beverwil X Olympic Boulevard to find no woman screaming, just some lady standing by a Jeep in the parking lot of a nearby gas station. No idea what happened to her or any other lady screaming in the middle of the Beverly Hills night.

--Next morning, heard BHFD go out on the infrequent traffic accident with entrapment up on North Rexford Drive. They actually had a trapped pt. and used Truck 4 for the extrication.

--LAFD had a good wee-hours physical rescue at Glendale Boulevard and Fletcher. Solo car wrapped itself around a telephone pole. Not a bad place to get into a gnarly crash since it's right in Heavy Rescue 56's first in.

Otherwise, there seem to be the usual smatterings of structure fires, T/A's and the usual LAPD riffraff capers.

Stay tuned.

Hat tip to for the photo.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Back in the Saddle...

...but haven't turned on the scanner yet. Been home for two days and just havent dialed it up. "June Gloom" is in full effect here these days. I'll probably start listening sometime this week and have some fresh posts then.