the secret room

Lee Baca worked in law enforcement for 48 years . The last 15 years were spent as Los Angeles County Sheriff . He’s retired now . His pension is , I think , a bit fatter than mine ; but , that’s his business .

A few days ago he pled guilty to lying to the FBI . Two sheriff’s deputies had gone over to the house of an FBI agent , one of the FBI team who were investigating improprieties at the jails , and Baca’s  two deputies threatened the FBI agent . Baca told FBI investigators at the time that he didn’t know anything about the incident . He did know about it though , evidently .

Baca might have been sentenced to 5 years in the slammer , but his sentence was set  at a maximum of  6 months in jail . He keeps his pension . What a way to end a career , I think , but that’s his business .

A teacher friend of mine has a son who is a deputy sheriff . When his son  was starting out he was assigned to the jails .   One day a young prisoner noticed his distinctive last name and asked  : ” Do you know the R________ who works at Virgil Middle School ? ”  The deputy answered , yeah , that’s my  father . The prisoner,  looking at him from behind  the cell bars , made an L sign with his hand held against his forehead , and said dismissively : ” He’s a loser .”  One of my friend’s former students , as it happens , but evidently not one of his more successful ones.  Anyway , it’s a small world .

I arranged yesterday to go over to  the local police station storage room , to what we volunteers at the local history museum have always referred to as the “secret room”. The cops , evidently , keep a collection there of photos and police items under lock and key and don’t allow any outsiders in . I’m an outsider and I’m in , though . Sometimes I get lucky . I was imagining all sorts of wonders to be in there . The museum’s curator’s eyes light up whenever she mentions the wonders hidden away in the secret room , although she’s never seen it . So , here I was , being escorted into the secret room by the Community Relations officer. As my friend Bill says , it’s always better to be lucky than to be talented .

It looks a little like my garage , and my garage is a disaster . Ask Ada . But my garage , messy and packed with junk as it is , is way more organized than this place . And my garage doesn’t have several filing cabinets full of finger print files , or police helmets , or badges , or commemorative plaques . I do have one set of blueprints, but the police have several heavy rolls of them on tops of tables . Police Station blueprints . I do have an old police billy club , however , that I found on the street years ago , not knowing , at first , what it was . I didn’t go over the blueprints at the station to find the secret torture chambers , bomb shelters , basement beer bar and strip club ,  etc.  I’m no good at reading blueprints . Another time , maybe . 1912 policeman and crook

No one checked my pockets when I left . That surprised me . I know there are surveillance cameras all over the place , but I don’t think the local cops have x-ray machines to see what I might have slipped into my pockets . If I were still six years old I would have slipped a couple of shiny police badges into my pocket , maybe a lieutenant’s badge ,  or the gold memorial star badge worn for the 100th  year anniversary of the department ,in 2003 ,  and/or  maybe a motor officer’s badge for good measure . Not being six , though , I resisted the urge . Besides , they have a jail over there somewhere , too ,and I hadn’t arranged to visit  that place .  Another time , maybe . Jail la police museum 007



Filed under humor

4 responses to “the secret room

  1. I love the irony of a guy in jail referring to a teacher as s loser. Maybe if he had paid attention…

  2. “The deputy answered , yeah , that’s my father .”

    That is not something you want to do. A better answer would be, “It’s more common of a name than you think.”

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