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Hunk Calendar Captures the Essence of L.A.'s Finest

July 23, 1987|BEVERLY BEYETTE | Times Staff Writer

This is the city--Los Angeles, Calif. They work here. And you'll find them in "L.A. Blue," a 1988 hunk calendar wherein 12 of the Police Department's finest pose for pictures that are, well, more arresting than provocative.

There's Mr. June--Officer Dave Wade, Van Nuys Division--shirtless astride a Honda motorcycle. There's Mr. August--Officer Gene Arreola, Hollenbeck Division--displaying his well-developed pectorals. And there's Mr. October--Officer Mark Oliva, Training Division--emerging from a pool in Continental-cut swim briefs.

The calendar sprang from the imagination of 26-year-old Mark Sample, a stand-in actor whose earlier, and somewhat shaky, marketing endeavors have included a strictly unauthorized "E.T." hat and an inflatable beach ball that converted to a pillow.

"L.A. Blue" is also unauthorized, acknowledged Sample. "As long as we didn't use anything that said LAPD on it, we were OK. It just takes so long to go to get approval."

But it has the unofficial approval of Police Chief Daryl Gates. "The chief's seen the calendar," said press liaison Cmdr. William Booth, "and he has no problem with it."

Sample tested 30 police officers before choosing 12, each of whom was paid $100. Most turned it over to charity, the majority to the Police Department-endorsed D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Through Education) program.

Sample's expected profit is $1.20 per calendar--which sells for $8.95 at bookstores, stationers and card shops. He will give 50 cents to D.A.R.E. for each one sold through a police organization, 25 cents for each sold commercially.

"This is not the Chippendale pretty boy G-string" kind of thing, emphasized Mr. August, Arreola, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound athlete who will compete next month in San Diego for "Toughest Cop Alive" at the Police and Fire World Games. "Our department requires that we maintain a professional image, on and off duty."

"I was reluctant," acknowledged Mr. October, Mark Oliva, "because I work at the (Police) Academy. But it was a lot of fun. Nothing lewd or lascivious was asked of me."

Oliva--for the record, 5 feet 9, 175 pounds and single (as are eight of the 12 pinups) and who once placed eighth in the "Toughest Cop Alive" contest--said, "People have this impression that police officers are real leatherneck types, that their whole life is in that uniform. We're not just a stuffed uniform."

For the cover Sample wanted someone with "a really incredible body, someone where people were going to say 'Wow'. . . ."

His choice? Officer Bob Organ of West Valley Division, 6 feet, 175 pounds (and married). "It's just a picture without my shirt on," said Organ. "No big deal."

"Some people really didn't think I should," Randy Garcia of Metropolitan Division, Mr. February, said. "They thought it wasn't right for a policeman. But we're not different from anybody else."

Garcia has already received a fan letter, "from a girl named Tiger, that's what she called herself anyway, from Iowa. She was real, well, energetic in the letter. She was into wrestling, weight lifting and stuff."

If "L.A. Blue" takes off, Sample plans to do a policewomen's calendar next year, "probably in Bikinis. But I think women in that field are going to be even more uptight than the men are."

Wade said he expects some razzing. "Whenever policemen can find any dirty laundry about somebody else, they'll roast them."

Some of the calendar cops gave their modeling fees to other favorite charities. Oliva specified the fund to build a nondenominational chapel at the Police Academy. "When an officer is down," he said, "instead of going to the bottle or, God forbid, putting a gun to his head, he can go there and pray."

Wade hesitated just a minute before confessing, "Actually, I gave the money to my tanning salon."

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