In 1917 , the Arcadia police chief , according to the newspapers at the time , dropped his revolver as he was bending over to check the tire of his car . The pistol slipped out of its holster , the reports said , and discharged . A bullet struck the chief in the jaw and exited through the back of his head . He died two days later at a hospital . It might have been a Pasadena hospital , if you go with the Sierra Madre News , or a Monrovia hospital , if you stick with the L. A. Times . I’m going with the local paper , the Sierra Madre News , although I suppose it doesn’t matter one way or the other .
A few years later , an Arcadia police chief was fired . The City Council , though , referred to the action not as firing , but they ‘vacated the position’. I’ve had a few of my positions vacated in earlier years . I’ve vacated a few on my own , too . At Salem Wastepaper , in the 1970s , the owner vacated all of us . Vacate and vacation have little in common .
But I digress . Back to the fired police chief .
After he was fired he took to throwing rocks at the homes of the City Council members who did the vacating . The cops then took to staking out the councilmen’s homes . One night they observed a rock being thrown from a car at one of the homes being watched . They pulled over the rock-thrower’s car . Sitting inside were the former chief and his wife , both with loaded weapons and , I assume , a collection of rocks .
This guy and his wife later moved up to northern California . He went to work for the CA Highway Patrol . Within a few years he was shot and killed by a motorist whom he had pulled over .
At least a couple of other Arcadia police chieves ( okay , just kidding ! ) chiefs had their positions vacated , too , in the 1930s . There was political trouble on the city council , lots of turmoil , and eventually two troublesome councilmen were recalled by a vote of the citizens .
I found , over in the secret room at the station , a photo labelled : ” The first bust of a still in Arcadia , 1930 “. 1930 . First bust ? By the way , when they said ‘bust’ they meant bust . The equipment was all smashed up . The photo shows some cops and others lined up behind the broken still , all posing for the camera .
As I remember from my Ken Burns history , Prohibition had begun ten years before this Arcadia incident . I will assume that the photo was not labelled correctly , but who knows ? I will also assume that Arcadia in the 1930s , a small poultry -raising and citrus-growing town , was crawling with bootleggers , and probably had been from 1920 0n . Yeah , and illegal cock-fighting events too ; but that’s another story for another time .
And where were the cops all of those years ? Handing out parking tickets ?
Don’t tell anyone I’m writing this stuff about out local police force . Word might get back to the wrong people and I might not be allowed into the secret room again . They’ll shake their heads and say : We knew it wasn’t a good idea to let that old guy in there .
They wouldn’t put me in jail , though . I was just kidding about that when I wrote it in a previous post . The jails are too full , of former sheriffs and the like , and they’ve started catch-and-release procedures in the county , where non-violent inmates are routinely released early . And , anyway , some convicted criminals just walk out of the jails with fake ID or phony release documents .
If you look like you know what you’re doing then no one messes with you . How do you think I got to the secret room ?
And on we all go .