By John Stacy
(Rod Bernsen, LAPD Ret., and his old partner, might be interested in this story)
Art Davis and I were working the PM Shift north end/Brook relief car for quite awhile. We got bored one night and conned the W/Sgt into letting us take one of the night DB units out-the gray beat-up Plymouth. We unplugged one of the front headlights, which made it look like an average ghetto-mobile in the dark. We were able to get close to so many bad guys that we made it a regular practice. One night it worked really well; we drove into the middle of about 20 "Carver Park Crips", who were having a meeting in the n/end parking lot of the park. When they saw two uniformed Deps step out of the car: they were so shocked that they froze in place and didn't try to run.
LAPD-77th units gave us some strange looks-they probably thought we were part of some new Metro-style unit.
Along with the DB unit, Davis and I would take Stoner, the station mascot, out with us many nights, as did other deps. (I'm sure that Vic Cavallero would have been surprised if he had known!) The dog would sit on the back seat and act like he knew he was on patrol. He would have his head on a swivel, checking everybody out. When we would stop and shake someone, the dog would walk in circles around us, pausing occasionally to sniff the subject, which greatly distracted the subjects, who would always ask, "Do he bite?" (Which reminds me of the mascot at LA County Fire Engine 44 in the Brook. They named the dog “Dewey” because of the above question.) I almost believe that Stoner was a reincarnated police or military dog because of the way he adapted to police work and cops, without any training. He could always tell who was a cop and who was a civilian. One night, a female ran up to us in the parking lot and pointed to a car across the street from the station and said there were two guys in the car who had been following her for a long time. When they saw us coming, both ducked down on the floor and we came very close to capping them. I wasn't feeling too friendly as I guided one of them a nearby fence. Stoner had followed us to the susps and when I gently pushed one guy's leg with my toe, Stoner ran over and bit the guy's pant leg, and pulled him to the ground. We were really scared because we thought the brass would make us get rid of Stoner, but after checking the susp's leg, we found no broken skin, and didn't say anything about it. The susp thought he was a regular police dog.
John Stacy 70's