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PALM LATITUDES

L. A. Speak : Constabulary Vocabulary

March 26, 1995|Christopher West

Adam Henry: n. euphemism for, well, a jerk. Taken from the letters A and H in the police phonetic alphabet. "Hey, Sarge, why can't I book him?He's a real Adam Henry."

beef: v. issuance of a misconduct complaint. These can be initiated by the public or by the department. "I can't believe I got beefed after that bust. What's the department coming to?"

duck: n. abandoned stolen vehicle. Usually identifiable by a conspicuous lack of parts, like seats and engines, or by a forest of parking tickets. "Let's impound that duck; it'll be worth an hour's overtime."

hot shots: n. high-priority or emergency radio calls. "Get in gear, partner, we just got assigned three hot shots."

hubcaps: n. detectives who investigate auto theft. "I've been on hubcaps so long I think every car in L.A. has been stolen twice."

one-time: n. a warning given to a suspect when the officer doesn't have enough evidence to justify an immediate arrest. "Hey, fool, that's one-time:I don't want you hanging around here anymore."

on the pink: v. training to become a traffic-collision investigator. Officers must pass a "pink test"--a term whose origins are unknown--to continue on the beat. "My partner's on the pink, but she's got her test next week."

stinker: n. a decomposed body. Initial investigations are usually dumped on the officer with the least seniority. "You get first dibs, rookie. This one's a stinker for sure."

Willy from Philly: n. LAPD Chief Willie L. Williams, who was top cop in Philadelphia before taking the job here. Also: Bill Bill.

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