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Cop Shop

October 08, 2006|Randye Hoder | Randye Hoder has written for West and The Times' Op-Ed page.

L.A. provides a colorful canvas--golden sun, bright blue sky (at least after a hard rain), the red carpets of Hollywood. Still, there's no shortage of things to do when you're hankering for a little black and white.

You can grab a big black-and-white cookie at Nate 'n Al in Beverly Hills, gaze at B&W photography at Fahey/Klein or head to Sheltam's News at the Farmers Market with its plethora of out-of-town papers.

Or you could get arrested and tossed into a black and white.

Of course, if that's too much trouble, there's the Los Angeles Police Museum and Gift Shop, which offers a selection of collectible toy cop cars. Among them are a miniature Hot Wheels 1940 Ford police cruiser and a paddy wagon. The latter is mostly black, but with a white roof and white writing on each side, marking it as an LAPD vehicle. They sell for $12.95 each.

Glynn Martin, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, says that before 1936 police cars in L.A. were solid black. But then they went two-tone, probably to increase visibility and enhance safety. The department currently uses Ford Crown Victorias, but over the years officers have peeled out in Chevys, Dodges, Plymouths and others. "As far as the toys go," Martin says, "I like the 1940 black and white." Also popular is a replica 1948 police wagon. It is mostly black, with white doors emblazoned with the city seal. It can be used as a child's bank and sells for $29.95.

"It's a big gift item, like when someone is promoted or retires," says Pam Huhane, manager of museum operations. "I don't think anyone puts a dime in them; they just show them off. Some of them, I bet, don't even realize that they are banks."

Who needs all that green anyway?

Los Angeles Police Museum and Gift Shop, 6045 York Blvd. For information, call (877) 714-LAPD.

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