I was first in training at Lakewood Station in early January 1967.  I worked with, Frank Woodall, a man who idolized, Frank Handley, the top cop at the station.  After being trained by Frank Woodall for three months I was kicked loose and was assigned to work with Frank Handley.  After a couple of months with Handley I was assigned to work with Jess Yandell the second best cop at the station for a couple months.  I had the very best input available from three of the best cops I’ve ever known.  I learned many things that I passed on to everyone who wished to learn.  Most of the techniques I learned at Lakewood were not something there was time to use working at Firestone.  I did however try to pass on anything that I could that seemed appropriate to use. 


During my initial tenure at Firestone I first worked with Gary Rovarino. One night we were working Willowbrook just before the Christmas of 69 at almost midnight.  I was explaining to Gary how you could drive down the wrong side of the street with your lights blacked out moving very slowly along the curb turning in and out between parked cars.  I added that if you did this slowly enough you could drive right up on someone standing in the street and many times they might not even notice you.  I was also explaining how people sometimes burglarize homes just to take whatever small Christmas gifts they could grab.  So this was usually a very profitable time to be cruising residential streets in an attempt to crush Christmas crime. 


I was driving and decided to drive through a residential area in hopes of finding some 459 perps wandering around unsupervised.  We ended up driving south on Aranbe Ave. from the area of 130th Street.  I was purposely hugging the east curb driving slowly between parked cars.  As we continued south we both simultaneously became aware of what appeared to be 2 young Afro teenage men walking rather rapidly up the east sidewalk of Aranbe Ave. just south of Lucien Street.  We stopped the car and got out and greeted the two young men by asking them to step over to our vehicle.  We then directed them to both assume a position leaning against the left side of our car with their feet back and spread.  This was to stabilize them as they submitted to a search of their persons seeking weapons, drugs or stolen property.


Just as we were placing these young men against the side of the car we heard two other young Afro men begin running as they passed by saying, “We go get the brothers”.  It seemed like a full 30 to 45 seconds before Gary and I along with the 2 young men we were searching were surrounded by more than 35 screaming, yelling Afro adults, and young people.  All of them threatening us with every thing from a beating to death.  The instigator, a man who as it turned out was named Cecil Hooks was threatening us both.  This man was responsible for injuries sustained earlier by another Willowbrook deputy when he was hit with a large ghetto blaster in the face breaking some of his bones causing serious injuries.  Gary and I were both standing with our backs against the car holding on to our badges, guns and batons when we could.  We both knew we couldn’t safely step away from the car without going down to the ground.  After the incident was over we both admitted that if either of us were pulled away from the car we had both elected to draw our weapon and start shooting into the crowd in an attempt to survive. 


Cecil was yelling at Gary how he was going to kick our asses, and then he shifted into saying just how he was going to kill us.  Gary asked him to wait just a few seconds stating, “15Boy request three units immediate assistance Lucien and Arnabe, 15Boy”, Cecil became more and more aggressive and finally said he was going to call together all the brothers and they were going to kill us.  Gary then asked him, “Do you have a few more seconds,” to which he responded, “I got all night Mother F—-er”.  Gary then said, “15Boy, 10-22 my request for three units immediate assistance and give me two units code three assistance at Lucien and Aranbe, 15Boy”.   We then waited for what seemed like at the very least a full millennium.   We could hear the four-barrel carburetors sucking air from our request for immediate assistance but nobody had located us yet.  We then started hearing all kinds or sirens and knew that the cavalry was coming eventually. 


The first unit to arrive was driven by Deputy Kenny Westfall who had a cadet with him.  As he skidded to a stop at the intersection of Shauer Street the cadet jumped out and started to run toward us and Kenny called him back to the car.  Ken walked around the front of his vehicle and stepped up onto the curb facing us.  He stood with his baton at high port facing toward us and periodically leaned backwards looking down Shauer Street to the east.  After repeating this action several times he completed looking to the east turned his face toward us smiled widely as he lifted his baton into the air and started running toward us along with his cadet. 

The cars seemed to be coming from every direction and there were more policemen than I had ever seen in any one small location.  I was told afterwards that there was six different jurisdictions represented there that night.  All I can remember is looking up and down Aranbe Ave. and most the intersecting streets there were radio cars with flashing lights on top parked as far as my eye could see in every direction. 


I thought I had seen what it was like to get help when you really needed it when I worked a Lakewood.  The most cars I ever saw there were eleven at one event.  When I worked S.E.B. we rolled 6 four-man cars from the Bureau on Sheila Street in Commerce to Pasadena High School because of a riot of the grounds there.  We had more representation than Pasadena P.D. there that day at least by the time we arrived.  We had what was considered a significant presence as we formed up in skirmish lines breaking up the crowds.