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.