Sunday, August 26, 2007

Help Calls

Two good LAPD "help" calls in as many days. First one went down late last night in Southwest when a two-man car had multiple suspects and at least one gun behind an apartment building. A few hairy minutes while the backup units got on scene, and the air unit did a nice job of calling the action from above and directing the patrol units into the scene. Suspects arrested, gun recovered.

Second one hit around 9 this evening in 77th Division. Didn't hear what precipitated it, but it was a scramble as units got on scene down in South-Central, and were still breathlessly calling for more help. The zone was quickly flooded and everyone taken into custody.

Must be a summer night.

Hurricane Dean???

Pretty wild that a storm that formed more than a week ago thousands of miles to the southeast--somewhere over the mid-Atlantic, in fact--could eventually pass over SoCal! That's what happened this weekend with the atypical high humidity, tropical clouds and rain, wind and hail. Just our little taste of the wild summer weather the rest of the nation seems to be experiencing.

The Hideous, Hideous Future

This, my friends, is the new ass of the LAFD. Thanks to John Gregory for the shot (outside of the new LAFD FS5 in Westchester). These day-glo yellow chevrons are apparently becoming standard fare on emergency rigs across the U.S. A couple of Federal agencies have decided that bright yellow arrows will increase safety for the public safety crews, so these things are becoming mandatory.

Too bad that conventional wisdom--and the experience of thousands of public safety pros--will tell you that DUI drivers, and, idiots operating motor vehicles in general, already swerve towards the bright, blinking lights of emergency vehicles parked on scene. To me, this seems like a giant arrow directing some drunk asshole right into the back of my shiny new RA. Leave it to the think-tank feds to come up with this idiotic scheme. And it's ugly as sin.

Friday, August 24, 2007

More Kudos...

...for the Blog of LAFD Batt. 14! Way back in January I plugged this blog. Just checked it out again today and it's really chugging along. Some good info both for folks in the Department (and the Battalion) but also for the general public. It really peels back the layers of the happenings in the North Hollywood area and gives a good glimpse into the day-to-day out there. If the 17 other battalions in the LAFD followed suit--over-lorded by Mr. Humphrey--that would be a truly glorious public service.

Have Leopard....No Clothes

In any other city but this one, built upon a queen of angels, a story like THIS would have been front page news for at least a week....but nary a peep out of the L.A. Times, of course (even the usually reliable City News Service, with its often patently ridiculous stories, didn't chime in). Defamer, posted it a few days ago and has some great on-scene photo action of a naked man walking down Melrose Avenue with a live leopard draped over his shoulders.

Let's put aside any sort of an explanation from the man as to why he was walking nude with a leopard: a funny story on its own would be the tale of the two poor-bastard A-unit LAPD Hollywood patrol officers dispatched to the call. I'm sure the story is already legendary at Hollywood Station.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

WeHo Fire...

Don't have any good pics to share on this one, but that probably means I'm not looking hard enough (There is an embedded video on KABC's site. I noticed the smoke from the Micky's gay bar fire about right as the call was going out over LACoFD's Blue 8. Classic clusterfuck on the County's part, but only because of the horrible geographic island that West Hollywood sits on.

The two WeHo stations were quickly committed and LAFD E41 made a fast appearance on scene, along with BHFD E1, E3, T4 and Batt. 1. LACoFD moved units in from Inglewood and Baldwin Hills and East LA, I believe. I craned my neck out of my office window just in time to see an LACoFD engine (171's?) moving Code 3 up San Vicente Boulevard. It gave me the first glimpse of the County's new fluorescent yellow chevrons on the back of the Engine. Ugh.

They got the fire knocked down in a reasonable amount of time, but the highlight of the radio traffic was hearing BHFD's Assistant Chief and the on-duty Batt. 1 BC bitching at each other about the city's resources being used at the WeHo fire. So, eager Batt. 1 rightly committed his three BHFD resources (including the city's only Aerial truck) to mutual aid on this ripping commercial structure. The AC got on the radio and asked when the BH resources were going to be available and was super pissed when the BC told him they were all working the fire, leaving only two engines (E2 and E5) and both BHFD RA's (RA1 and RA2) available for the whole city.

Folks, 1.) this is more fire than BHFD has seen all year so the lucky on-duty crews at Engines 1 and 3 and Truck 4 were totally psyched to be catching some fire after spending most of their days picking old people up from various positions on the floor. 2.) That's what "mutual aid" means--it doesn't mean send your shiny, expensive and almost brand-new fire engines to the scene of a commercial structure with limited County resources available and have them sit at staging. 3.) The city of BH was not going to burn down and if it did, LAFD can throw at least two task forces and three engines that basically border the city at any big fire that came down the wire (especially since BHFD screams for LAFD task forces on big fires anyway).

There was also a big brusher going on out in Hacienda Heights at the same time, so the LACoFD radio traffic was a bit confusing and hectic.

Good times.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Catching Up...

Apologies for my absence. Just a few tidbits, most recent at the top:

--Caught the tail end of the LAX Customs computer meltdown last Saturday night. Got home in time to hear the LAFD medical strike teams in effect at Tom Bradley Intl. terminal. Sounds like they'd been at it for a few hours, and some of the medics were getting quite edgy with the EMS captains who were dispatching them to EMS calls through the throngs of thousands gathered at the airport. LAFD command broke the incident down around 2 a.m., but still managed to hear an LAFD unit (RA 51 or E51, I think) crash into an airport shuttle bus on their way off the airfield.

--Finally laid mine eyes upon the new BHFD Rescues, as one of my faithful readers alerted me to their presence a few weeks ago. Here's why I probably never noticed them before: Because they are the SAME UGLY TRIANGULAR MODS that BHFD seems to be in love with (the link shows the old BHFD rescue units, but it's the same design on the new ones).

This, my friends, is what a brand new Freightliner ambulance should look like. That's a beautiful brand new rig proudly serving the residents and tourists of Las Vegas's Clark County, Nev. Notice the nice rectangular box sitting behind the cab! Not some ridiculous polygonal shape that just looks like it belongs at some crappy vollie rescue squad somewhere. The LED light package is nice and all, but seriously BH; Nut up and get a REAL big, badass, rescue next time. I know you're not hurting for the funds.

--Saw a nice grey Acura TL shear off a hydrant on Beverly Drive in the middle of mansion-ville in BH a few weekends back. Eerie, in that a geyser of water was shooting straight up and the driver was stil behind the wheel, shaken from the deployed air bag. Took a few minutes, but since it was a quiet Sunday night, the cavalry arrived in the form of four BHPD units rolling Code 3, followed by Engine 2 and Rescue 1. Didn't stick around after that.

-- Had a nice little earthquake at 1 a.m. a few weeks ago. Was scanning at the time. LACoFD went into "Earthquake Mode" and started a station recall over the LA. In the City, Battalion 14 came up on the air asking OCD if "we're going into earthquake mode?" OCD clearly didn't know anything about no quake (in their defense, they're a few stories underground encased in a re-inforced concrete bunker) and told Batt. 14 there would be no earthquake activation. That caught the BC by surprise since the quake was centered NNW of Chatsworth, which is most certainly LAFD territory.

-- Heard the LAPD "Help Call" go down in Hollenbeck a few weeks ago. Turns out, suspect got shot and killed after he started choking the female part of the patrol duo. Was a domestic violence suspect who returned to the scene of the crime. I heard the help call broadcast, then a Code 4 a few minutes later. Then heard the LAFD get the shooting call. No other radio traffic in the clear.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Nothing doing...

With me or much on the scanner the past week or so. Heard a high volume of serious traffic accidents in the Valley on Saturday night, but not much else. Hope to get back into the swing of things this week. LAPD's clearly had some good calls, judging by the newspaper reports of shootings and the such, but I've missed them.

I'm just glad I wasn't on duty in Minneapolis last week. That's one of those calls that comes down over the loudspeakers and you immediately think is a prank. Until you're on scene and it's just the most surreal experience of your life. I had one of those in Central Texas a few years back. No bridge collapse, just a structure fire with lots of dead kids.

On that note, happy August! My site traffic, while pathetically small, is creeping up just a bit every week thanks to referrals and some fortunate links on sites like