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not teach us how to handle every situation we might encounter in the field. In such cases we had to be prepared to use common sense and improvise when necessary. My partner, Steve Grenier, and I found ourselves in one of those situations a few nights before Christmas of 1969. It was the occasion of the Hollywood Division Christmas Party. Steve and I, along with several other officers from 77th Division, had been assigned to work Hollywood Division, so that officers of Hollywood could attend their party. During many nights of patrol in 77th we had wondered what it might be like to work a glamorous division of Los Angeles. The time had come. Here we were in Hollywood Division, Mecca for beautiful women seeking fame, the graveyard of countless dreams. It was probably too much to expect that we would see a movie star, or make the morning news, but we were hoping to find something appropriately different. Somewhere, lurking on the streets of this world famous set, we expected to find an adventure—unrequited love, a vicious animal attacking its prey, or a “make my day” confrontation with evil. There was, of course, the impending challenge of finding the location of our radio calls, but overall we were guardedly excited as we finished roll call, checked out our shotgun, fueled up, and radioed, “6-A-25 clear.” The operator, waiting patiently for units to start clearing so she could assign backed-up radio calls, came right back at us with, “6-A-25, a 415 female with a knife, 2556 E. Gaffey, 6-A-25 handle code two. Meet 6-L-30 at the location.” The “L” in 6-L-30 told us a sergeant was rolling on our call. “Isn’t Wousse L30?” Steve asked with concern. Sergeant Wousse was also on loan from 77th Division. We knew him well. We had some great supervisors in 77th, but Sergeant Wousse (pronounced like “Wuss”), was not one of them. From the time of his assignment to 77th as a new sergeant, Wousse made it clear to all that he was grooming for a position in Internal Affairs, and great things after that. In 77th he had rapidly developed a reputation for transforming simple into ridiculous. Everyone knew he would burn anyone to create a greater light in which to powder his darkening brown nose. His incredible resistance to good police tactics made him a front runner for any number of exciting administrative positions. But tonight he was not yet driving a desk, he was bringing his supervisory prowess to our radio call. Steve and I drove to the back of the house on Gaffey where anxiety attacked us as we observed Sgt. Wousse talking with the reporting party. We quickly joined the conversation and learned that the person speaking with us had called the police when her domestic partner, in the heat of an argument, had picked up a large pair of scissors and threatened her. The scissor-wielding 22 year old blonde female had stripped down to her birthday suit and was screaming obscenities from the back porch. She warned that any who approached would be sorry.
After establishing that the reporting party was the victim of an assault with a deadly weapon, we went aside with Wousse to discuss how we would proceed with the arrest. Wousse, true to form and consistent with a Hollywood solution, proposed that we approach her with batons drawn and knock the scissors out of her hand. The academy had taught us several different moves with the baton—all described first by a number followed by the origin of the move. Thus there was the classic “three from the ring” that employed a butting-jabbing force with the end of the baton, instead of the less effective and forbidden “five from the sky,” wherein the assailant was repeatedly beat with a hammer-driving-nails action. In these arrests, which involved subduing an assailant, we were supposed to remain vigilant and aware that someone might be filming our actions. We did not want to be featured on the evening news as “those thugs that beat the poor naked crazy girl with clubs.” So, after listening to the sergeant, I suggested a more camera-friendly solution. I would approach the assailant with a blanket through the porch door that opened to the yard. Steve would wait just behind her, inside the porch door that gave access to the house. As I threw the blanket over her and she thrust the scissors toward me, I would grab the scissors while Steve grabbed her with a control choke-hold from behind. The sergeant would stay in an appropriate place of safety and out of our way. We all agreed. The reporting party gave us a blanket. No matter how well thought out a plan may be, there are those things that by their very nature are impossible to anticipate. Just how many of us would factor a cat perched on a shelf into this well-planned arrest? I have had a couple of cats in my lifetime, but I'm not what you would call a cat person. I'm more a dog person. So I didn't think much about how the cat might figure into this arrest. Steve proceeded inside the house to the access door at the back of the porch. I picked up the blanket and advanced onto the porch through the access door that opened into the yard. The naked assailant, shouting obscenities at the top of her lungs, assuring me that she would tear out my heart, held the scissors in front of her, pointing toward my midsection. The scissors began to look very large. As I advanced toward her and prepared to cover her with a blanket, the sergeant’s plan to use our nightsticks began to seem more reasonable. But in one impulsive bold move I threw the blanket over the female obscenity machine. Just as I grabbed the scissors Steve was through his door applying a bar arm control hold to take the woman to the ground. The cat, an older scruffy male, joined the fray. In a precision leap from the shelf, with an eerie screech, he was on Steve's back biting and scratching. The old plan involving the nightstick now advanced into reality. With one homerun swing of my baton, the cat was swept from Steve back. Steve finished handcuffing the girl. We got a signed “assault with a deadly weapon” and departed the location to get a mandatory medical treatment for the arrestee before booking her into jail. In police work Steve and I encountered a lot of people who exhibited a prejudice toward the police in general. We were often pre-judged as brutal. Many in the medical profession, especially in emergency rooms that examined and treated
prisoners on their way to jail, automatically assumed that we had used excessive force in our arrest. Such a doctor was about to depart from their ranks and join the enlightened ones. Dr. Johns entered the treatment room where my partner and I had earlier, with relative ease, handcuffed Miss “Naked And Proud of It” to a treatment table. The doctor looked aghast. “You can remove the handcuff from her while I examine her,” he spoke softly but with a demanding voice and accusing look. “She is likely to go wild…” I objected. “I need for you to remove the cuff!” He raised his voice a little more and stared at me. In hindsight I guess I should have unlocked the cuff from her wrist first and then the table. But I didn’t. So, when I unlocked the cuff from the table, the formerly quiet “poor and abused” girl swung her now free cuffed arm at the doctor, making convincing contact on his head. Another doctor completed the medical treatment of our arrestee. We radioed in “time and mileage,” our arrestee now wearing (somewhat) a hospital sheet, and proceeded to jail. In the booking cage I was forced to apply a control hold to the wild woman again, causing her to urinate on my cat-hair covered uniform pants. Steve and I never looked at the furry cats of naked ladies the same after that. Hollywood can have all that glamour. We were happy to return to 77th Division. [Each of my police stories is a true story that has been rechecked and corrected for factual content by my former partner Steven Grenier. The names of other persons have been changed to protect their identity. The address in this story is fictitious, but it did take place in Hollywood Division.]
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