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Cleanup in Hollywood

Through high-profile street patrols and tickets, a cadre of reserve LAPD officers keeps Saturday night crime in check.

April 07, 2008|Deborah Schoch | Times Staff Writer

Asian gang members may be convening at one popular Hollywood club, says Capt. Beatrice Girmala, who heads up Hollywood patrols. Firearms have been showing up on Hollywood streets in the past few days. Smashed car windows and thefts are surging along several residential streets.

After being dismissed, reserve officers head for the cars.

John Engels of Northridge prefers an LAPD pickup. He'll be looking for unlicensed hot dog vendors and may have to impound some carts, he explained. In the past, he has found carts swarming with cockroaches and other unsafe conditions. A successful financial officer, Engels said that rather than play golf or take on another hobby, he wanted to give back to the community.

"I can't get enough of it. It's so fascinating to watch this part of Hollywood," he said. Even working the front desk intrigues him. "It's better than the Jerry Springer show. You'll get actresses coming in on a Saturday night. Models. Show people."

Back at the station for the 11 p.m. debriefing, officers grin when they hear the tallies for the night.

They have given out 25 moving violations and 18 parking citations, impounded three vehicles and three hot dog carts, and made one arrest.

Some officers said that as the night went on, the pace of radio calls slackened. They could be right. Final numbers won't be in for a few days, but Girmala was smiling as she thanked the team.

"I guarantee you, it will be very surprising," she said. "If you weren't here, that call load would have been a lot different." Already, she and other Hollywood Division supervisors were talking about the next time. "You guys be here," Girmala said, "and I'll have barbecue for you."

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deborah.schoch@latimes.com

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