Art by the Late Rob Sprattler

Art by the Late Rob Sprattler

In the art game, innovation is the byword. Artists strive for the original idea, the innovative, creative approach and result. However, the most innovative act I have ever been a part of was not in art, but in police work.

My friends all know that I was a Los Angeles County Reserve Deputy Sheriff for 25 years. In 1972, a Deputy Sheriff, Harry Hansen, and I started the only law enforcement documentary art program in the world. I was president of the LA Society of Illustrators and they did documentary art, paintings and drawings, based on the Air Force Documentary Art Program the society had been involved in for many years.

The Sheriff loved the program, but said that a civilian could not run it. A Deputy Sheriff had to operate from the Sheriff’s department. I asked, “Who do you have whose qualified? He pointed at me and said, “You!” I was in the Sheriff’s Academy and before I knew it, I became a police officer in the state of California and a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.

My Reserve Partner Steve Pair and Me With a West Hollywood Customer

My Reserve Partner Steve Pair and Me With a West Hollywood Customer

I was assigned to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station. That is where the “innovative” event happened. Usually, I had a reserve partner, but I was in a patrol car one night in the late 70s, with a regular Deputy.

I can’t remember the Deputies’ name. On the radio we received a call involving an elderly person with serious mental problems. We arrived at the location and found a frantic, near hysterical, elderly woman screaming that the little people were back and were all over the apartment. We got her calmed down so that she could describe the little beings that were terrorizing her.

We had recently been issued the PR24 Side Handle Baton that replaced the straight nightstick, and the deputy drew it from the metal ring on his belt. He told me to do the same. I was sure we weren’t going to beat her to death, but I was a bit confused. He showed the baton to the trembling woman and said, “You are really in luck. We were just issued these batons, and we are going to use them to get rid of these terrible little monsters.”

We held the side handle and pointed the baton into every shelf, drawer, piece of furniture, closet, and every corner of the apartment. In other words, every nook and cranny. It must have taken a half hour to finish.

When we were done he held her hand and said, “They are all gone, and they will never come back.” We walked through the apartment with her, and she was so relieved and endlessly appreciative.

We got back into the patrol car, got on the radio and went ten-eight (call finished). I told the deputy, “That was the kindest, most innovative event I have ever been involved in. I bet those little guys will never be back in her apartment.”

As you can imagine, many things happened on patrol during those 25 years, good and bad, boring and exciting, funny and tragic. I just thought I’d tell you about one night in a patrol car with a great Deputy Sheriff.

…thanks for visiting me.


P. S. I will be doing a paper sculpture demonstration at the Grovewood Gallery on Sat., October 22nd. For those of you on Facebook, here is the event:  I’ll be there from 11am to 4pm. There will also be some new artwork on display, including a white bison.

P. P. S. The Weaverville Art Safari will be the last weekend in October. I am number 27. Click here for my artist listing. Tell your friends. I need all the fans I can get.