My Personal

                                         Relationship With J.C. at Firestone South

                                                  BY SLD SMITH

I’d bet you thought this was going to be some kind of a spiritual testimonial about my relationship with my personal Deity. Sorry this time it is about my friend, trainee and former partner, Deputy Julie Cabe. 


I think I first met Julie Cabe sometime after I went to Firestone in late 1969.  I recall Captain Wert allowing the ladies to go out and ride with us during their slower hours on the desk.  Julie seemed to like working early mornings and she wanted to ride with us many times.  She had never encountered the wild variety of sounds and noises that penetrated the dark nights in South Central Los Angeles.  She learned first hand that there were frequently sounds similar to wolves howling at the moon.  She also heard verbal invitations to come see many popular 1950’s rock and roll entertainers at the El Monte Legion Stadium live each Friday night.  She learned that the Lone Ranger and Tonto were alive and well riding their trusty steeds throughout the NorthEnd, the Brook and Carson too.  She even heard first hand the sounds of the Lone Ranger yelling, “Hi Ho Silver”, and Tonto shouting, “Get Um Up Scout’. Both their horses raced across the territory in their ongoing search crushing crime as they came upon it throughout the city.  This of course was accompanied by what sounded like the, “William Tell Overture”, blaring loudly over a public address system.


Julie was a bright girl with an insatiable appetite to learn all she could about working patrol.  Regardless of her sex she was the single most dedicated, committed and openly willing trainee I ever encountered.  At the time Pat Sullivan got fired she had been exposed to many different situations. She seemed to have learned for the most part all she needed to know about handling most any kind of call that was dispatched to her. All she needed from me was a bit of polish in her investigative techniques and some direction as to how to handle herself physically when trying to physically fight with a larger male suspect.  It almost seemed like Julie believed that if she kept working out she could bulk up and keep up with the real men.  I had to convince her that no matter how much work she put into her muscle mass she would never be a Stu Reed.  Stu had one of the most highly developed upper bodies for his size I had ever encountered.  He was short compared with Baby Huey at 6’7”, or me at 6’5”, but he hit with the force of a kicking mule or a Roo for those of you who have been down under. 


We began working PM shift at first.  One day Julie and I were called back into the station.  I had no idea why we were there but Julie was excited and finally told me they had planned a presentation for her as one of the first fully trained female deputy rape investigators in our department.  We went downstairs where there were a group of ladies seated in the briefing room awaiting Julie’s arrival.  I believe, LeRoy Baca, the community relations’ lieutenant, introduced her. Julie got up and explained what her official training consisted of.  She told of her new commitment to the victims of rape and her skills in handling these women.  She told the audience just how important it was to her to do the very best job she could. I recall that there was even refreshments of coffee and cookies. 


After the presentation was over we returned to our area.  Within just a few days we got our first rape call sometime in the early afternoon.  Julie went in and interviewed the rape victim all by herself because I wasn’t welcome under the new rules.  When she returned she had learned the name and address of the suspect.  She was chomping at the bit to go find and arrest this perpetrator as soon as possible.  We checked the local area in an attempt to locate and interview the suspect.  He was not at home and we only had the name of the company where he was supposed to work located somewhere west of our location.  I went to the station and checked the directories for the name of the meat packing plant where the suspect was supposedly working.  I found a similar name in the directory located somewhere in Lawndale.  We were supposed to handle the call to its conclusion so off we went just a little out of our area. 


We drove the distance and ended up locating the suspect at a meat packing plant in Lawndale.  I went inside the company office and asked for the man by name.  The person I talked to obviously respected the man very much and was quite concerned if he would be going to jail.  When the suspect walked out of the plant area he was dressed in a white shop coat.  He appeared to be well groomed, clean with articulate and clear speech. He didn’t talk jive or any kind of Ebonics.  Julie was really jumping up and down ready to put the hooks on him without as much as one question of interview.  I motioned to her to put her cuffs away and to come and talk to the man with me.  She got pissed off, took his driver’s license and went back to the car to run him for warrants.  She did this with the outside speaker on so everybody at the plant could hear what she was doing.  She really got upset when they asked what her 10-20 was and she had no clue where she was. 


There was a spot right outside the back door of the business where there was a double handrail extending down the entry ramp.  The suspect and I sat down on the rail and I asked him to tell me his side of what happened between he and the victim.  He explained that he asked her out and they went somewhere together then returned to his home.  It was there that they engaged in consensual sex.  When he finished he took her home and left her they’re thinking that everything was all right.  He couldn’t understand why she would claim that he raped her because they had sex fairly regularly.  All of a sudden he recalled that she had asked him to practice oral sex on her after they finished.  He forgot her request, as she was fairly messy after sex.  He seemed to be a very responsible person who owned his own home and had money in the bank.   Julie came back about then and was still having a kitten about getting the hooks on him.  I did what I did next just to teach her something about investigations.  I asked the man to come into the station right after work to be interviewed by my partner and I.  I thought Julie was going to go ballistic but she said was,“Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).” Indicating that she thought that I had descended on my maternal side from a dog.  She still had a very cute way of saying that.


I think the suspect was supposed to get off work around 4:30 PM.  Just about 5:00 PM we got a call that our suspect was at the front desk.  I breathed a sigh of relief that he showed up but I was convinced he would.  Julie and I then interviewed the suspect together.  After the interview she had more than a few questions of the victim.  We agreed to let the suspect return to his home for the night.  Julie then went back to talk to the victim.  She was in there for some time and when she came out she was pissed at the lady for lying to her. Julie’s first official rape investigation didn’t even produce an arrest, prosecution or a conviction.  She did learn to be very careful and complete in her interviews after that.  I think it was a really good experience to teach her to not prejudge people because of her personal bias as a female toward rape victims.  It was also a very basic lesson on the fundamentals of investigations.   


One day right out of the parking lot Julie saw a small young man walking along in the street just off the sidewalk on 215th Street.  It was fairly warm and he was carrying a Levi jacket under his arm.  She wanted to go talk to him so I stopped very near his path.  Julie got out and started to pat him down as she was asking non-stop questions.  I didn’t think she was paying much attention to his facial features because she was so interested in finding some drugs on his person or in his jacket.  The young man’s eyes were darting from one side to the other and back again.  If I had ever seen a potential rabbit this surely was a live one.  Just as Julie dug a baggie of marijuana out of one of his jacket pockets he spun around and took off running.  


Julie was a very athletic girl and had run some mini marathons as well as her daily running for conditioning.  I told her to go ahead and chase him if she wanted to.  She took off running just has he turned south down a side street.  I got back in the car and started following, picking up the microphone and switching on the PA system.  I said over the PA, “Go get him Julie” she seemed to speed up.  A few doors south of 215th Street there was several people standing in the front yard looking through an open gate toward the east.  Julie seemed to get angry and started yelling asking,  “Which way did he go”.  It was obvious that he had gone through the back yard and over the block wall.


 I attempted to get Julie back in the car but she was still trying to find some way to run after him.  I then yelled loudly at Julie to come back and get inside the car right now.  She complied and we began driving around the immediate area.  The location into which the suspect had jumped the fence was a tract of three streets with one entrance out onto a passing main road.  I purposely drove to the northern most street and continued driving westbound past each one of the three north/south streets carefully looking down each one.  We drove to the north end of the street that was furthest to the west, which was close to where we lost him. We looked down the street and saw the suspect run eastbound across that street near its south end. 


I immediately backed up and started down the middle north/south street anticipating the suspect would appear soon.  As we approached the southern end of the street he ran eastbound across the street in front of us.  I told Julie to run after him around the corner onto the southern most street.  I pulled over against the east curb and parked the car almost into the southern street then got out.  From where I was I could see Julie had jumped up onto the hood of a car parked in the driveway in front of the block wall, which surrounded the back yard.  I immediately ran back around the corner to the west and stopped standing at the west backyard block wall. This was opposite from where Julie was waiting for the suspect.  I anticipated the suspect would jump over it in that area.  I drew my baton and held it with both hands like a baseball bat.  Almost immediately the suspect appeared on top of the wall on his way over.  As his feet hit the grass I hit him across his mid chest area with my baton and he went immediately fell to the ground.  Within just seconds I heard Julie running around the corner behind me.  When she saw that I was handcuffing the suspect one more time she exclaimed, “Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).”  At this point I began to wonder if Julie was going to repeat her descriptive verbiage concerning my lineage every time we did something new. 


On another afternoon we got a call to respond to CHP headquarters on Hamilton Ave off the Harbor Freeway around Del Amo.  We responded and were led into an interview room where there was a young boy about seven or eight years old.  He turned out to be Hispanic and was unable to speak or understand English.  I called the station and was told by the dispatcher to do everything I could to reunite this lad with his parents and/or guardians. 


We contacted another deputy who spoke some Spanish and made meet with him.  He interviewed our little ward and discovered that he was a émigré from El Salvador.  He was supposedly here alone without any of his family.  We then learned that he was currently working for a man who ran a business from the area around the Santa Monica Pier.  We decided to go up to Santa Monica to see if we could find someone to leave little Hernando with. 


The very next thing we knew we were in full Los Angeles County Sheriff’s uniforms with our little ward walking westbound on the Santa Monica pier toward China at sundown.  It was beautiful but it was also many, many, many miles outside of our assigned area.  Julie started to get concerned and I told her we had something we had to do.  We spent over an hour at that location and eventually located the person with whom little Hernando was living.  We released him to his guardian then returned to our area.        


We were assigned to work early morning shift for a month. We got a call about a possible fire down at the very east end of Deloras Drive.  This was a dirt road, which led into an area of old junkyards filled with junk cars and car parts.  Near where the dirt road ended in a dead end we found an old couch that had been abandoned there.  We walked over to it and noticed that the upholstery was smoldering in one area.  Julie took off running back toward the car yelling, “ I’m going to request fire equipment”.  I chased after her and told her to hold off on calling for the fire department.  I explained that it would be counterproductive to have them dispatched because it would tie us up for quite a while over virtually nothing.  I then explained that it was usually a good idea to use your personal initiative to solve simple problems with whatever resources you have available to you.


I then instructed Julie to sit in the car and look forward through the windshield while I walked back to where the couch was sitting.  My habit was to drink from 20 to 24 cups of coffee every day.  I had coffee when I woke up, coffee while driving to work, coffee in the station before and during briefing.  I then had numerous cups of coffee as often as I could at various places while on patrol, after shift I always drank coffee while returning to my home in Mission Viejo. 


Coffee is of course a diuretic and causes your body to loose a lot of fluids through the urinary tract.  By the time I reached the location of the smoldering couch I really had to void my bladder.  I did so onto the smoldering portion of the cushions with real gusto.  Apparently it was done so fastidiously that it in fact extinguished the fire which we came back to check on at least a couple of more times that shift. We found the fire was completely out. 


While I was busy extinguishing the fire Julie couldn’t help but see the cloud of steam caused by the liquid being sprayed onto the fire through the rear view mirror. Incidentally when I walked back to the radio car and got in Julie said “Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).”  She continued to have a very cute way of saying it though.


On another night we got a call of a suspicious person on top of a grocery store building in our area.  We rolled to the location, which was on Carson Street.  We checked the location out by driving completely around the building and checking any possible point of access.  I explained each of the possibilities to Julie and pointed out what shoe scuffmarks looked like when someone climbs up a pipe to the roof.  In my mind I eliminated every possible access to the roof from my inspection of the exterior of the building.  Julie however was much more zealous in her attitude.  There was no cotton-picking way I wanted to do anything to subvert Julie’s enthusiasm.  She was bound and determined that she was going to climb up and check out that roof.  She asked me how I would get up on the roof.  I looked around and told her that she should look for whatever resources were available to access the roof. 


She started to get angry at me then she asked me,  “What do you mean?”  We were parked behind the store and I shined the spotlight up onto a power pole against the wall of the building.  There were a series of galvanized steel bars screwed into opposite sides of the pole at regular intervals that were there as steps for linemen.  The lowest one was at least 10 feet above the ground.  She then said, “How on earth am I going to get high enough to climb onto the first one of those steps?”   I again told her to use whatever resources she had available to her.  She then asked me, “What sort of resources do you mean?”  I told her to take a look at the Dempster Dumpster parked against the fence over there.


She jumped out of the car and ran to the dumpster and tried to push it with her body.  She couldn’t budge it and I got out and to check it and discovered it was filled with rotten produce.  It probably weighed close to a ton.  Julie began to get angry again asking me, “What do I do now I can’t possibly move that thing.”  I told her to look for whatever resources she might have that could help her move the dumpster to where she may want it to be.  At this point she really got angry.  She raised her voice and said sarcastically, “Just what kind of resource could I possibly find to move the dumpster?”  I asked her if she had considered the radio car.   I thought she was going to go ballistic.  She started yelling at me, “Just how am I going to use the car to move that huge thing?”  I told her to get back into the car then pulled it around so it was behind the dumpster.  I gently used the car to push the end of the Dumpster with the push bar until I moved it over next to the power pole against the building.  Julie jumped out of the car and scrambled up on top of the dumpster. 


One more time she was obviously getting really frustrated with the whole thing.  She still couldn’t reach the steps along the sides of the pole.  I tried to calm her down when she snapped at me, “What can I do now to get up that pole?”  I told her to look around and see what else she had in the way of resources she could use.  She really got anxious and told me there was nothing else there.  I then asked her, “What do you have here that resembles a ladder”?   She nearly screamed. “Nothing, nothing at all”.  I then told her to take a good look again at the radio car.  She didn’t understand what I was getting at.  I explained to her to look at the car and see if it couldn’t possibly be used as a resource to climb up high enough to reach the steps on the pole.  I then pointed out that if she did whatever was necessary to get her foot onto the bottom window frame of the door she could then climb up to the top of the car.  From there she could easily climb to the top of the light bar where she would possibly be high enough to reach the steps on the pole. Julie then stated, “Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).”


She did manage to climb up the pole and onto the roof, which she checked out completely by herself.  When she came down I gave her an atta  girl for all her effort because it was good police work.  I really thought that Julie learned a lot that night in particular just because I got her to think about what resources we had to take advantage of to use for something other than what they were manufactured for. 


Just after she began driving the radio car I had a lengthy conversation with Julie about stray animals in the street.  She had in the past found loose stray cats and dogs and taken some of them home.  She nursed them back to health and apparently kept several of them.   I told her in no uncertain terms that if she were driving while responding to a hot call and saw an injured or even stunned animal in the middle of the road under no circumstances is she to take any evasive action or think about slamming on the brakes.  The best and safest course of action in this case is to press the accelerator pedal to the floor and continue in a straight line.  It is better for us to survive and continue on to the call to help someone than to get rear ended by a driver following us if we decide to try to stop for or avoid an animal in the roadway. 


A short time after my lecture Julie and I were at Harbor General Hospital.  As we were leaving we got a hot call somewhere south of Carson Street.  We drove east to the Harbor Freeway then entered the on ramp to southbound.  Immediately after entering the freeway Julie and I both looked in front of the car and saw clearly in the headlights a cat lying in the middle of the lane ahead of us.  It’s head was extended upward it mouth opened crying its body and legs appeared to have been crushed in some previous accident.  Julie looked over at me then turned back forward gulped hard.  She pressed the accelerator to the floor and continued in a straight line running over the cat as we heard a fairly loud thump.  I turned to her and gave her an atta girl for her actions.


After midnight one shift all the Carson units got a call about some suspicious persons inside a commercial business off Figueroa near the 405 Freeway.  It wasn’t terribly busy so before we arrived at the location there were two or three units already on the street surrounding the location.  I purposely parked almost a quarter mile away and pulled out my binoculars.  Julie was really antsy and wanted to roar up to the location.  I pointed out how there were already units there some with their red lights on.  I also asked her to make note of how many cars were driving slowly or quietly around the location.  It appeared that every one of the units at the location were roaring around like they were responding to some emergent call.   Julie wanting to race over and drive around the commercial location where three suspects were seen with all the other Carson units that were speeding up and down the streets.  I made her calm down and tried to explain the situation. She said once again, “Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).” I believe it was at this point I accepted that this particular quotation from Julie would be an ever-present modicum of verbiage within our continuing relationship I wasn’t going to be able to live without. 


 Most of the time when there are suspicious persons inside any large location and police show up in marked vehicles making themselves obvious by loud noises such as accelerating up and down the surrounding streets or displaying bright or emergency lights the suspects go to ground.  Sometimes they will not attempt to come out of the location for many hours’ even days.  Most of the time the best way to catch them is to stay some distance away from the location where you could see at least two sides of it.  You then sit and watch the location through binoculars looking for what appear to be little dark lumps coming over the fence sometimes carrying things with them.  I told Julie that I had captured a number of suspects this way and it worked very well.  We sat on this yard for some time then I took Julie over to the adjacent street and showed her how you could drive along the wrong side of the street with all your lights out driving in and out between parked cars very slowly.  I explained how I had learned this technique and been quite successful with it.  I used it to drive right up almost on top of a fairly large group standing in the middle of an intersection.  The folks standing there didn’t even notice us until we were within less than 30 feet of them. 


One night while we were working Willowbrook we were enroute to the fire station located on Redondo Beach Boulevard for some reason.   I don’t recall the station number but it was the one where you could go any time, Deputy Nicolenko, was working anywhere near the brook and find Nick there.  We were driving westbound along the street when we saw what appeared to be a dog that had been hit by a car.  The dog appeared to be severely injured lying on it side with both front legs dangling as if they were crushed.  Its head was covered with blood and it was madly kicking with both back legs as its body spun round and round in a circle leaving a wide path of bloody flesh all over the street. 


I stopped and turned on my excuse me lights, got out of the car and drug the dog up onto the planting area between the curb and the sidewalk where it continued to spin round and round.  I then requested animal control respond to our location.  The RTO came back with a two and half-hour delay.  I told her to 10-22 my request I would handle the problem to conclusion myself.   At this point I had made up my mind what had to be done.  Just because I didn’t want to endanger Julie while I was shooting rounds toward the ground I told her in no uncertain terms to sit right where she was and not get out of the car under any circumstances.   I then walked back to where the dog was still spinning round and round. I drew my Smith & Wesson model 66, 4” from my Hoyt holster, and put 2 Remington Peters, 125 grain jacketed hollow points right through the dog’s circle X ring.  The dog bless it heart immediately stopped spinning round and round.  When I returned to the car I was greeted by Julie as she said, “Sled, you’re a son of a (-----).”


We were very close to where the animal control office was so I drove down there to inquire as to what their policy was when an officer had to put down a dog.  I was given a special plastic bag to put the carcass in and asked to bring it back to their office.  We drove back got the dogs remains put them into the bag and returned them to the animal control office.   


When I finally released Julie from training I felt that she was going to be an intelligent, well trained, proficient field officer capable of doing an outstanding job on the streets.  From what I heard of her work it sounded like she did excel at her chosen profession.  This especially considering she was one of the first ladies in patrol.  Later when I was off IOD I started hanging around the Long Beach Airport.  I heard that she had been transferred to Aero Bureau as an observer.  Later I ran into her and learned that she sold her red Porsche 911 to pay for her own helicopter lessons and earned her ticket.  She then becoming the first and only female helicopter pilot in law enforcement in this nation.  She was clearly before her time in that field.  All I can ever say about that girl is, “ATTA GIRL JULIE CABE”.  In my opinion she deserves any and everything she earned in return for her total and complete dedication and commitment to this job.  She certainly was going against all odds and I think she accomplished an awful lot.