Guerrero talks in glowing terms about the reputation of the county sheriff's department. "they kick ass," he says admiringly, "the saying on the steet is: "77th (precinct, L.A.P.D.) will blow you up, Firestone will kick your ass, Compton is all right".
Firestone is the local station for the county sheriff's department. Their patrols crisscross the heavily black neighborhoods of unincorporated Watts and Compton, which has many intersections and streets that come under county jurisdiction. The Sheriff has an elite corps, called S.E.B.; Special Enforcement Bureau. At times they wear riot helments and reportedly their deputies are just about as tough as Marines' drill sergeants. (All the S.E.B. units I saw were lily white). Guerrero said he's seen gang members giving Compton cops a bad time in a touchy street scene, but when a Firestone patrol car cruises into the situation the word goes out quickly; "Firestone! take off? Cool it! Firestone!" Guerrero said Firestone has the gang punks trained so well that when one of their cars cruises slowly down a neighborhood street, the gang guys come up and put their hands on the hood of the police car in the traditional frisk position. In particulary tough situations, the Compton cops, even use the threat of Firestone. "if you don't cool it we'll call Firestone," they are know to warn gang troublemakers, thought the treat is more often than not given with tongue in cheeks.
"There's this one Firestone Deputy who has a portable tape recorder in his car, and when he gets a Code 3 call he turns on the William Tell Overture and plays it over his loudspeaker" Guerrero said laughingly. "That's his siren. I've seen him pull up to a gang fight and have everyone start cracking up.