From the Cop side: This is a cop story about a caper that happened …oh, about maybe 20 years ago…? I lost track. Anyway, the story you are about to hear is true, the names and locations were changed to protect….something or somebody. Remember, all suspects are guilty, I mean innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The county I’ve worked in since 1981 is made up of many small police departments, a sheriffs department and the freeways are covered by the California Highway Patrol (CHiPs). When you add in State and Federal Parks and a few other odds and ends…I have no idea how many Law Enforcement agencies we actually have.
In the old days, we used to get into all kinds of pursuits and stuff. In all the pursuits that I was ever involved in, the only persons ever injured were the bad guys…and in each case, they got what they deserved. I still feel if you try to outrun the police, you are putting everybody else on the road in jeopardy and you deserve what you get as punishment. A motor vehicle is a very deadly weapon!
In this caper, there was a “Jewel Thief” who had a habit of going into jewelry stores during business hours, asking to look at expensive things, and then running out of the store with the loot. He was doing it so often and because he was so fat and drove an unusual car, I couldn’t figure out how he had not been caught a lot sooner. We called him the “fat jewel bastard, or FJB for short.
FJB drove a 1964 Lincoln Continental. This car is huge and was so unique…they only made this for a short time---unlike cars nowadays where you can’t tell one year or model from another---today’s cars almost all look the same. But the 64’ Lincoln was a boat! The back doors opened backwards (suicide doors) and the car must have weighted 500 tons. If you knew cars, it would have been an easy one to spot.
The day of this caper, I was working patrol on dayshift in the “valley” area. My beat was 2 miles west of the freeway. If you continued west, the next town was what I call Mayberry One, then further west, the next town was Mayberry Two…then the next town west was Mayberry Three. If you put all of the Mayberrys together, it still wouldn’t make a decent small size city. But each little town liked to have control over the police department, so there were four different jurisdictions.
Now also keep in mind, even though all these little towns were right next to each other, they all used different radio frequencies for each police department. So they often didn’t know what the cop a few blocks away was doing until the dispatchers called each other up and told them.
Now if this all is confusin’ the heck out of you, just think about how screwed up things are on a daily basis. Too often, by the time us cops heard about something that could have just taken place across the street from where we were, it was too late to do anything. And as you can likely see, this waste not only time, but a waste of money. Each department has a chief and a support staff on duty where if you combined all the departments, one chief could run the show.
So, back to the caper. Fat Jewel Bastard had pulled up to a little jewelry store in Mayberry Three. He parked his 500 ton Lincoln in the street---where no cops noticed it. Walked into the jewelry store, where the clerk didn’t notice the Fat Bastard…and he asked to see a few expensive items.
Of course, he grabbed the jewels and ran---as fast as a fat bastard could run---out to his 500 ton Lincoln. If he hadn’t burned rubber leaving, the cop in Mayberry Three wouldn’t have noticed…
So what does cop in Mayberry Three do? Instead of taking off after FJB, he calls it in and ask for the cops in Mayberry Two to stop the guy. Of course, by the time this goes from Mayberry Three dispatch to Mayberry Two, the guy is in Mayberry One---heading towards the freeway.
The cop on duty that day in Mayberry One was “Baby Feet”. Now Baby Feet was a good cop and I like the guy. (He had to retire on a disability many years ago.) Baby Feet tells his dispatcher that he behind a 1964 Lincoln traveling East Bound at a high rate of speed. (in Mayberry One, a “High Rate of Speed” was anything over 35 MPH.)
Now, since Baby Feet was so smart, he quickly figured out that he was behind the Fat Jewel Bastard. So, Baby Feet calls for back up before he does his car stop. He knew I was on duty west of him, so he asked for me.
Then…before Baby Feet could light up the Lincoln, the Fat Bastard takes off. driving up on sidewalks and running red lights and all kinds of crazy shit. So, instead of waiting for back up, now Baby Feet has to stop this asshole before he hurts somebody. Baby Feet calls out “In Pursuit!”
Now, I don’t care who you are, or how long you’ve been a cop…but when you hear those words, you got to do something to help…so off I went. The problem was, we were driving the old P.O.S. Dodge Diplomats and full speed was only about 90 MPH….going after a car that could do 120 MPH.
To be cont.