By Cameron Mooney
On a hot day in early 1981 I went out to FPK on a body swap for a
deputy being rolled up for being a coward.... the paperwork on him
said he couldn't cut patrol training but the real reason is that he didn't
back up his TO when they were in the Jordan Downs housing projects
together (fortunately that wus (I think his name was Ruben G------) got
arrested by ELA for 211'ing whores)
I was entering the place of legends... FPK was my first choice...
I was coming there from being a policeman on the east coast but
I was still the FNG and 22 years old. I didn't park in the parking lot
but on the street, reticent at entering the lot without permission.
I waited at the back door until a trusty came out,,, no way I was going
to try to buzz in...
As I entered walked past the booking cage towards the W/Sgts
office I looked to my right seeing Dan Cruz the jailer. As I took my first
view of my home a man entered the front lobby, jumped over the counter
and began fighting with Deputy Cruz.... before I could think I ran to his
aid and we all began struggling (the guy was dusted on PCP)... the
dispatch center emptied out and we all went over the counter and out
the front door. I had the suspect in a carotid restraint, which actually was
more like a choke hold and I remember Lt Al Chancellor, the watch
commander, putting his hand on my shoulder and telling me
“harder... softer.. that’s good...”
I hadn't been in the station 20 seconds... what a beginning to a career
“A girl? I was going to get a GIRL as my FTO.. at FIR ESTONE? no way”
What I got was one really good policeman... Jackie Yarborough... the locals knew her as Blondie....
When I arrived at FPK a contract had been put out on her as she was mistaken for shooting
some gang banger the week before... the walls south of Firestone were placa'd with her
name "X'd" out.... She was a smart savvy woman in mans world and she knew how to fit in and
how to jump in.. six feet of legs and flashlight. Well the entire station took umbridge to
any gang member threatening us so I got to learn every vehicle code, county muni code, every
penal code imaginable and myself and another trainee Mike Goldfeder probably arrested
more than 100 people that first week between the two of us. Jackie made me stop to get
her a road coke every night at G.I liquor at 94 and Central. She would drive home, gun in
lap, not stopping for any lights in the ghetto... sounded like a smart woman to me.
Her husband, John, still worked at Lynwood and occasionally we would meet somewhere
so they could say hi... a welcome second for me to write.
Training... what a roller coaster ride... I want you old heads to know that the legend
of Firestone lived in each of our hearts.... we were taken to each place a FPK
Deputy was killed... other FPK deps would query us on occasion to remember we didn't forget.
I really remember that I lived at the station for about 4 months ..usually wearing
County underwear, socks, and T-shirts.
For about two months I never knew there was a bunkroom so I slept in the shower...
My secret sleep spot was discovered one day by Lt. Dennis Slocumb who asked me
what the hell I was doing. Bunk rooms were for real deputies....
I remember turning a report in one day after shift to A/sgt John DeMooy (sp?)
waiting anxiously like a lotto winner for it to be approved so I could go to sleep
(usually four hours after shift and NO overtime was EVER requested...
or considered.. it was reminded always it was a privilege to be at FPK).... anyway
I heard "Trainee Mooney report to the W/Sgts office ASAP with a fire
extinguisher and a field fire report"///Upon arriving I found the remains of a burg report
burning in the waste basket.... to be extinguished and documented... Great incentive to get
up on the learning curve quickly. It seemed like I was always being tested by A/sgts who
took great joy in making life interesting for a trainee... many asked if I wouldn’t like to just
take a swing at them... boy I’m glad I wasn't that stupid. These guys became people who
would have died for me.
Remember the idiot I was replacing?.. well he was assigned to station Jailer while
he awaited his fateful transfer from FPK. One night I brought in a Duster with some Sherm.
While I was booking him a 998 went out and the station emptied (Even George Ramos
the station mechanic had a plain wrap and his 2 inch). I threw my sealed evidence and property
package onto the jailers counter, acknowledged he had it, and rolled out to the scene.
When we came back I went to this deputy, Ill just call him punk from now on, and asked for my
evidence and he just looked at me blankly.... WHAT evidence..... He told he never saw it
(which would just be what a coward would say). A station wide search found me standing
in front of the trusty dorm. As I looked in the window there was a dusted trusty looking
out the window stoned out of his mind.... 6 dusted trusties and 8 hours later I had just about
finished the paperwork. The jailer refused to take any responsibility for his failure and
I learned a really good lesson. Sgt Murry Carter wrote me up for it in the black book for
failing to secure evidence properly.... amazing that page disappeared.... should have been
listed as "work damage".
Ever try to be different as a deputy.... at Firestone? How about being a vegetarian and
into health foods and tofu and stuff... with places like Spartan Burgers and Stops.... and
deps who thought veggie boys were fags.... that story and more will be for the next installment.
--- Cameron Mooney