Partners Forever


September 2007




Harry Penny and I worked together as Los Angeles County Sheriff Department Deputies 1963 -1967.  Although we lost track of each other many, many years ago, we “found” each other again in August 1996, 29 years later. Harry and I then worked together as Special Deputy US Marshals, Court Security Officers, at the Federal Courthouse in San Diego, California from October 1998 until April 2005, when I finally retired at 65.


I don’t know why, but whenever the US Marshals Service had a special detail requiring Court Security Officers to provide extra security for the Federal District Court Judges or some other high profile security detail, they always assigned Harry and me to handle the detail.  This of course, “forced” me to partner with Harry again and again.  And . . . our mental telepathy still worked after all those years. 


I had the coveted privilege of being sworn in as a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff on May 8, 1963.  I worked the Hall of Justice Jail (HOJJ) until my academy class convened, I was in Class 98.  Harry was in concurrent Class 97.  I didn’t know this until I was assigned to the HOJJ after graduation and worked with Harry there and later at Technical Services Division (Prisoner Transportation).


Harry transferred to Firestone Park Station (FPK) just before me – and just in time for the ’65 riot.  I was sent to FPK during the riot and then permanently transferred to FPK just after the riot.


After I reported to FPK and was released from training, I worked with numerous radio car partners, one of whom was Harry.  Harry and I immediately formed that unexplainable bond that men in law enforcement subconsciously understand and their women have absolutely no understanding of what that bond is all about.


Harry transferred to Malibu in late 1967.  I remained at FPK and lost track of Harry as he then transferred to West Hollywood from Malibu.  Later, I learned that Harry left the department in 1972 when his Naval Reserve Unit was recalled into the Active Duty Navy.  Harry remained on active duty and retired in 1991 from the US Navy as a Chief Hospital Corpsman.


I left the Department in 1972 and bought a 125 seat restaurant & cocktail lounge.  Big Mistake!  I lost $34,000 in 14 months.  In hindsight, I should have gone back on the Department but instead I went on to what I thought were “bigger & better” things.  Another Big Mistake!


Years later, August 1996, I was working as a uniformed security officer for FPS (Federal Protective Service), assigned to the PM shift at the Federal Office Building, San Diego, California.  One late afternoon as I came to work, I passed the elevators going from the parking level to the street level.  I saw an individual standing with his back to me, waiting for the elevator.  I would have recognized that back anywhere.  He had on a black “Greek” fisherman’s cap and a Navy green flight jacket covered with patches from his various duty stations.  The hair went up on the back of my neck!  I yelled, “918 Victor”!  This had been Harry’s nickname over 30 years ago at Firestone Station. 


Harry’s head jerked around and we met again – eye to eye – after nearly 30 years!  I got tears in my eyes and the years just melted away.  It was as if we had just climbed out of a radio car together at the end of shift last night.  He later told me that he knew that whoever yelled “918 Victor” had to be a Firestone deputy.  You see, Firestone Deputies have that special bond with each other – no matter if they worked a radio car together or not – that will never die, even if they do.


Our individual order of priority with any partner we worked with was: “It’s my ass first, your ass second and the department’s ass third.”  And, “I expect you to have the same priorities.”  “I ain’t gonna give up my gun for you and I don’t expect you to give up your gun for me.”  “But if I call you by MY first name, you had better start shooting because I will be.”


We didn’t have just one partner that we could and would relate to, we had many.  But with all the situations you and your partner(s) go through together, a very few of your close partners always stay in your mind for your entire life.


All of us had one common goal: Get your partner, any partner, home safely to his wife and kids at the end of the shift - today, tomorrow, next week, next month, forever.




Brad Mills

LASD May 8, 1963April 29, 1972

FPK 1966 – 1972