Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rattler Season

KTLA reporter Eric Spillman had a close encounter with a sun-tanning rattlesnake over the weekend. Temps have warmed into the mid-80s a few times in the past week, which means rattlers (and their non-venomous cousins) have emerged from their winter slumbers.

It's always amusing to hear fire crews heading out on early-season brushers reminded on the radio to watch out for the creatures. Probably not as amusing to get bitten by one, which is why the guys wear boots.

H/T to Kevin at LAObserved for the item.

Speed Trap

I like that the LAPD has chosen to run speed enforcement two blocks from my house on a busy stretch of San Vicente Boulevard. Especially when I know it's happening and don't get caught by the Man. But I'd like it even better when the motor officer gets issued his new BMW bike and ditches the ugly-ass Harley that makes the LAPD motor corps look like they're riding up PCH on the weekend for a bite at Neptune's Net.

Here's a great blog post from 2008 detailing various issues with the LAPD's Harley purchase.

But if you're a Harley fan, this video might be worth your while.

In the photo above, the Harley's in the back, the sleek Beemer is up front.

photo: Mayor Sam's Sister City Blog

Friday, March 26, 2010

End of Watch: Robert "RJ" Cottle

Veteran LAPD officer and United States Marine Corps Reservist Robert Cottle was killed by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Southern Afghanistan on Wednesday. Sgt. Major Cottle, 45 years old, joined the Marines at 18 and and the LAPD in 1993. His various LAPD assignments included Hollywood Vice, Southeast Area, LAPD Dive Team and, most recently, SWAT.

Officer Cottle was the first LAPD officer killed in action while serving as a reservist in the military since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. The LA Times has a decent story here and this is the press release from the LAPD.

RIP and Semper Fi, Officer Cottle.

photo: LAPD

Friday, March 12, 2010

Taurus Rising

It seems that the long, storied run of Ford's Crown Victoria police car is on the wane. The gearheads over at Jalopnik did a nice Friday Feature on police vehicles, leading with this post on the debut of the new Ford Police Interceptor. End of the day, it's a Taurus.

I'm not a car guy, so I won't go into the technicals on this one or the merits vs. any other vehicle. I'll be interested, however, to see which local agencies take delivery of these cars. I assume most PD's who have fleet contracts with Ford will choose to take the new Taurus. Though it definitely provides a good opening for Dodge to increase market share of its Charger squad car.

My thoughts on the Charger have been previously expressed. And they haven't changed. It'll be interesting to see what the LAPD does with its fleet. I've seen less than five marked LAPD Chargers on the road in the past year and tons of new Crown Vics. My guess is that the Taurus will be entering the fleet soon.

photo: Ford

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Missing the "Big" Ones

Once again, my travel schedule saw me out of town for the LAFD's latest Major Emergency Structure that went down on Feb. 16th. The official LAFD Blog tells the story here.

Granted, it's unlikely I would have been awake and scanning at 2 a.m. (these days, midnight is "late" for me), but there's been a dry spell of good, big fires recently. And I tend to be out of town when they hit. Luckily, the city has no end of fire-traps that are just waiting for the call.

photo: LAFD Photo Harry Gavin

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Small Town Vibe

On rare occasions, I have the patience to lock in the Bearcat on one LAPD frequency. Usually, I choose to avoid the busiest areas, like Southeast, Rampart, 77th or Van Nuys. I can't really handle the steady slew of Domestics, Code 30 Ringers, or the dozens of "ID check by name"'s foisted onto gangsters who wander around the hood without any ID.

I tend to like listening to Wilshire (my home division), Hollywood (for the sheer absurdity of the calls), Pacific (close to the beach and includes LAX) or West L.A. (rich neighborhoods produce interesting calls). It's also easier to hear the units when they switch to simplex, because they're geographically close to my house.

On a recent Sunday night, I locked into Wilshire and spent a leisurely evening being entertained by the various happenings in my home district. A few traffic stops here, a "critical missing" there, and a brand new Jeep Commander stolen directly off the dealership lot at closing time by two white dudes. That call led to an amusing, if pained, exchange from the copper on 7Adam22 who called up an Airship on the Tac channel to advise him to BOLO for the white Jeep. He informed the amused observer on the helo that the stolen Jeep had no Lojack, but did sport bright orange paper plates from the dealership, not seeming to consider that the perps could easily remove those.

The Jeep was boosted by two white guys in their mid-to-late 30s (not a common descriptor for GTA suspects in that neighborhood) who took the vehicle with the keys still in it as the dealership employees were moving cars around before closing for the night. I figured the Jeep was a goner, but an hour and half later, an enterprising sergeant, patrolling on his own, apparently located the vehicle--and at least one suspect--about four blocks from where it had been stolen. About six A-cars blasted to the scene Code 3, but it was an uneventful recovery.

And I realized as I shut the scanner off when I went to bed that L.A. can at times--on a quiet Sunday night--boast a police department (and scanner traffic) that resembles that of any small town in America. Pretty cool.

Fits & Starts

So it's been going on nine months since my last post here. As I have said in the past, these things take a modicum of energy that I can sometimes not muster. But I do miss musing about things that relatively few people care about and I find that writing here regularly assists me in my other writing pursuits. So I'll try to be back here a bit more often in the next few months.