BY FRANK GOMEZ
I'm sure that every deputy that ever sat in a radio car at
FPK thought, at one time or another, that he or his partner
was the “cock of the walk”; well I'm here to tell you there
was no more arrogant, vain, and probably close to correct
partner than Fred Laxton!
I first noticed Fred while I was doing my “cool out period” on the
desk crew (I was framed again). This new guy (Laxton) would
bring his prisoner’s property to the jailer and proceed to
tell everyone who would listen what a spectacular collar this
was, I thought, what an ass! As I watched this side show night after night,
I began to realize that this guy loved to get under peoples
skin and the madder they got the more he laid it on.
Oh, he stayed clear of real legends i.e. Fransen et al,
but the pretenders filling the booking cages with nothing
arrests were his pigeons.
I had to ride with this egomaniac. That was the start of a great,
but brief friendship......... I worked it out and Fred and I rode
together for 4-6 months (the time is a little foggy
after 30+ yrs), you never got long-term partners, for to
long, because of the new trainees coming out. We car pooled,
were family friends, and argued every night! We also made a
lot of Felony Hooks, all right most of the obs were Fred’s!
I had two more years at FPK than him, but his street savvy was
uncanny. Fred’s theory was the rougher the childhood the
better the potential to be a good street cop. His was rough.
He was as strong as a bull, but not sadistic, he could talk the
toughest into not fighting, if he wanted, other than ArtF and
Travis arguably the best r/hand in the post watts era.
Ah it was the good times. Hay Frank/Fred, want a plain car
to patrol in, sure sounds great to us. If that rare night
came up when we blanked at the booking cage, we wouldn’t talk
to one another the entire night ride home or until the streak was
broken the next watch.
Fred and I made a decision that we needed to quit the department
and buy a Liquor store. After a year search we found one
in his hometown of El Monte. It was a done deal! We were
going on a ski vacation with Dave Stothers and our
Wives return and submit our papers. Great time amazing,
A guy who would ride his cycle 100+ mph was afraid of
moderate speed on skis! Fred called me the first afternoon
we returned home and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the
horse races I said no I was all gambled out. He said ok,
but come buy for one drink to celebrate a great week and the future.
We did, a quick drink, hugs all around and we left........... one
hour later I got a call from Lt Dwyer at FPK, he told me that
Fred was at General Hospital and wasn’t going to make it, he had been in
a traffic accident and had been trapped in his burning VW.
No way, Fred is invincible, a Mistake. Lt Dwyer said, Frank get
your ass down to the hospital and help with his family.
I went and what I saw was my partner horribly burnt but still breathing,
the doctor stated he's dead, but the respirator is breathing for him.
I told the doctor pull the plug, don’t let his wife or mom see
him like this, I’ll take full responsibility. That was it. I buried him and
made sure his family was taken care of until his wife remarried. I stayed with
the department for the next 28+ yrs. Fred was arrogant and would pissed you off,
but man could he “book”
Frank Gomez FPK 67-73