#78 – Police Helicopters!
It began shortly after ten p.m. last night.
A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter started circling above my neighborhood. It happens from time to time, and usually it doesn’t go on for too long.
By 3:15 a.m., however, the constant noise and erratic spotlight shining down from above as the chopper made its endless loops became a bit tiresome even for someone as famously calm, good-natured and even-tempered as myself.
There has to be a reason for this, I figured. They’re after someone.
But after five straight hours of window-rattling, house-shaking whup-whup-whup-whup and unnatural shafts of light shooting through trees and onto rooftops, cars and driveways, my patience had worn thin. I picked up the phone and called the LAPD’s Topanga Station to hopefully find out what the hell was going on.
The officer who answered was, to his credit, friendly and apologetic as he explained.
Someone reported seeing a man with a gun, he told me, so they set up a perimeter. [“Set up a perimeter” – that’s law enforcement talk.]
A man with a gun?! I wondered, confused.
Given the supposed gang presence just east and northeast of me, I was both surprised that ‘a man with a gun’ was such an unusual occurrence that it warrants five hours of searching by air and a little unsure whether this was a good or a bad thing.
But it turns out, the officer added, it was just two juveniles with BB guns, and the whole operation should be wrapping up now, and sorry it woke you up.
I didn’t mention to him that I nor probably anyone in the less than four-block radius below the helicopter’s continuous orbits had been “woken up;” more likely no one had been able to go to sleep in the first place. (Nor did I speak for the entire community and suggest that the LAPD have carte blanche in administering any kind of street justice on these two dumbasses and their Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifles for causing all of this. Because that would be presumptuous on my part and insulting to the professional men and women of the LAPD.)
No, I just thanked him for the information and said good night, relieved that the end was nigh.
…And then the circling and noise and lights continued for another half-hour.