Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Retiree's Stories

A retired copper who probably taught more than a few of our readers at some point, has a blog.
This is something we're surprised more old timers aren't doing. You've got the Internet, all sorts of free blogging software, all sorts of time, and a million stories that are begging to be told. Some enterprising people might even be able to market a few of the better ones to Hollywood.

That is, as long as the statute of limitations has run out on a few of them.

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38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not enough coppers on the job who can write in complete sentences, I have a feeling their paper looked good too. Nice Job...

4/23/2011 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! What a treasure to have these old tapes of some of the best dispatchers the CPD has EVER had. The "old hillbilly" (as he proudly used to refer to himself) was none other than the great Harry Hewitt who was a staple on Zone10 for almost 2 decades.

Harry's southern drawl and machine-gun delivery speed made him sound more like an auctioneer than a police dispatcher. No computer-aided dispatching system, no moving maps, no GPS but Harry knew you by the sound of your voice and he always knew exactly where you were. These were the days of handwritten dispatch cards which were placed in slots on the console. The slots, when full, would turn on or off a light on his console map telling him which beat was clear or on a job.

Just being able to listen to these men, who had been cops before becoming dispatchers, one can hear the stress in their voices. Exasperated, stressed, overworked (but knowing how many coppers depended on them every night) made their jobs almost unbearable. Yet these guys came to work every tour knowing that other cops depended on them to make sure they went home to their homes and families.

ALL POLICE OFFICERS, young or old, should give these recordings a listen. Try to picture Harry sitting on that crappy office chair, trying to listen to the radio traffic, his partners to his left and right and the "super sergeant" all hovering over him trying to get his attention.

These men were honest-to-God heroes and I consider myself BLESSED to be able to say I worked for the same organization that they did: The Chicago POLICE Department.

4/23/2011 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a story for ya..


Violent Beating In McDonald's Baltimore County; YouTube Video Goes Viral

There's an ugly trend of fighting that's happening at McDonalds Restaurants, this one in Baltimore County. And a beating incident so awful that it reportedly caused the death of a young girl. This is my YouTube video vlog commentary on this American Tragedy

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=87628#ixzz1KKgGUTmU

4/23/2011 03:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stories!! I loved hearing the dispatchers, man those guys were great!! If only we had guys like that today!!!

4/23/2011 06:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
... who had been cops before becoming dispatchers ...
4/23/2011 02:14:00 AM


We know what you are sayin, but many a CPD dispatcher is bristling or spinning in their graves at the concept that as a dispatcher, they somehow were no longer cops. There was a short window of time when OEMC first started where they actually DID bring back ex-cops to be dispatchers. Apparently that was too intelligent a concept, however, so they stopped doing it and started hiring political hacks and friends of the West side revruns instead.

The ol' timers took great pride in being both dispatchers AND the big city police and often jokingly referred to themselves as the "Rubber Gun Squad" which then came to be a nickname for all desk jockeys.

4/23/2011 08:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can remember when I first got on the job back in 70, working in 013 on the south end, which was Zone 4. Harry was the dispatcher and one thing that I can remember about him was that you never had to call him twice. He always answered on the first request. He may have not known your name but he knew who was out there "working". A great man and a great dispatcher. That man was "Machine Gun Harry"

4/23/2011 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger NorthSide said...

I couldn't agree more with 2:14 AM. You were listening to perhaps the two best dispatchers in CPD history, both coppers who paid their street dues. Both were like an extra guy on your car watching your six.

John "Dogs" DUNLAP on City-Wide II and the legendary "Machine Gun" Harry HEWITT on Zone 10 (formerly Zone 4) still covering 010 and 011 which would rack up over 100 homicides every year. Harry was the very best. On occasion, by noting the stressful inflection of an officer's voice he could sense the situation when a 10-99 unit merely asked for a back-up car on the double. Harry would call the 10-1 generating a score of screaming sirens and flashing blue lights skidding in to bail out a brother cop. When necessary, the old-fashioned "wood shampoo" would also be administered with maximum effect.

Great pinch by Jim Padar and Mike Schull of the old "JewTown" (as the local bad guys referred to Maxwell Street) Homicide Squad. You've got great chops to write a book, Jim.

Trivia question: What did Harry mean when he announced that it was "Coca Cola time in Fillmo'?"

4/23/2011 08:35:00 AM  
Anonymous INSANE FISH I/F said...

Anybody remember "Stan the Man" and the wild wild west side. I remember during the first Bulls celebration (RIOT) he refused to leave the council until it was over, 14 hours of dispatching to his fellow Officers who needed him.

4/23/2011 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My favorite Padar story is when I was being run through the range exercise, think it called Hogan's alley" and the targets come up and some oare bad guys and some are civilians and one was a camera man, and I shot the camera right in the lense and Padar looked at me and said: Damn good shot.

4/23/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Violent Beating In McDonald's Baltimore County; YouTube Video Goes Viral

There's an ugly trend of fighting that's happening at McDonalds Restaurants, this one in Baltimore County. And a beating incident so awful that it reportedly caused the death of a young girl. This is my YouTube video vlog commentary on this American Tragedy

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=87628#ixzz1KKgGUTmU

4/23/2011 03:22:00 AM


...as McDonald's rethinks the whole "I'm lovin it" marketing campaign.

4/23/2011 09:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome ! Todays dispatchers suck compared to those old pro's that held Cops lives in thier hands. Everyone at OEMC should be made to listen to those old tapes ! Anyone remember "The Polish Prince" on "Zone 9 ra-dio" ? "All cars stand by....The polish prince is about to attack a ham sandwich". "Who ran that hot and cold on that last plate? Or was that a deluxe ?"
Was that you, 71 ? Ok, who's coming in with that hand waiver ?

4/23/2011 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Retired Guy Here;
I have to stick my two cents worth in on this one.
Great, Great Great !!!!!!!
I worked in the 011th. District, 4001 W.Fillmore. I was there from 1970 to 1975. I remember the Great Harry Hewitt, and Recognize some to the voices of the other dispatchers. I really feel the old way of dispatching, three PO's on the panel, was better than the high tech stuff today.
SCC Keep Up The Good Work.

4/23/2011 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know you people are doing a great job out there and the danger and such is just as great as back then, I worked out of Area 4 from 1969 to 1977 and it was the greatest time to be the police. God Bless All of You.

4/23/2011 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous 4001 W. Fillmore St. said...

"Shaved" has Jim Padar's story up also. Scroll deep down and check beneath photo of Chicago skyline.

Harry Hewitt was the best CPD dispatcher ever. He followed Capt. Phil Moss' watch in rotating shifts and always attended our 011 watch parties. Whenever we were running an assignment to 1121 State, we'd bring coffee, pizza, BBQ ribs, etc. for our "guardian angel".

4/23/2011 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>These men were honest-to-God heroes and I consider myself BLESSED to be able to say I worked for the same organization that they did: The Chicago POLICE Department.

4/23/2011 02:14:00 AM<<<

I can still hear their voices even if I sadly cannot remember their names, like Calvy. Some of the great adventures of my life began with their voices crackling on my shoulder like pirate's parrot.

You trusted these man and women because you knew that they had been there; oft times patrolling the same streets you were on now. They could tell you details of streets and buildings.

We still do our best to keep it the Chicago POLICE Department.

4/23/2011 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take note of the calm interaction of all involved from the street deputy, to the officers at the scene, to the dispatchers. No acrimony, no name calling. Everyone was doing his job sorting through the normal confusion to achhieve the end result.

4/23/2011 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The old Zone 4 was 011, 012, and one half of 013. ABLA, Henry Horner, Rockwell Maplewood Gardens, Black Panther Headquarters, and much more. It was an exciting place.
The Reverend Morgan, Conors, McCabe, Machine Gun Harry Hewitt and the rest could dispatch rings around the current bunch and were considered the third man in the squad not an adversery.

4/23/2011 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stuff. A clear line between right and wrong. This same scenario played out today would have 16 year old Tyree as the victim, his Momma' on the front page of the local rags along with Jesse Jackass demanding "justice", and a concerned citizenry wondering why he was shot in the ass. Because after all, he was clearly running the other way.

4/23/2011 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a guy on Zone 2 in the last year or so (on mids) with a low, soft spoken voice. Im not sure if hes still there( I hope so) he is the real deal, right out of the 70s. If you are in 019/023 you know whom im refering to.

4/23/2011 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being an A/4 guy I remember hearing these guys and never giving a thought as to how great they were as dispatchers. Listening to the recording does bring back memories and pride at being able to understand "police talk" on the radio. I also remember when the simulcast pedal would stick on the Zone 10 console and they would broadcast on City-
Wide until it was brought to their attention. I think they replaced the return spring once a week in the 70's.

Never having worked Fillmo as a PO, I'm guessing that Coca-Cola time in Fillmore had something to do with the Coke Plant nearby and non-Coke liquid refreashment.

4/23/2011 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous answer to trivia question said...

"Coca Cola time in Fillmo'" - Harry Hewitt

There was a Coca Cola parking lot on Fillmore St. just west of the station where some midnight cops parked. The Coke employees would fill the lot in the morning so Harry would remind us about dawn that it was time to move our personal cars out of the Coke lot.

Do I win a cocobolo nightstick, Northside? A 2-liter bottle of Coca Cola? How about a cold 40 ouncer in a brown paper bag to wash down my flamin' hots?

Remember when Capt. Ronnie Nash would "counsel" Alma Pride and Queenester behind his closed door?

All the district janitors had to mop the floors except poor Archie in 011. He had to mop the walls too. Looking back, even the riots were fun.

Great times living on the edge.

4/23/2011 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What made them great dispatchers? They were all police officers first!

4/23/2011 07:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two more of the best from the 70's:
You can't forget Zone 8, John Gibbons and "Big"John Kuzmenskus(sp.?) R.I.P. to both

Retired 14yrs..........

4/23/2011 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous COS sgt. said...

23/2011 08:35:00 AM

INSANE FISH I/F said...
Anybody remember "Stan the Man" and the wild wild west side. I remember during the first Bulls celebration (RIOT) he refused to leave the council until it was over, 14 hours of dispatching to his fellow Officers who needed him.

4/23/2011 09:06:00 AM
I was the on-duty sergeant that night. And I can attest; Stan kicked off his boots and rode the pedal all night.

We had stacks of lower priority tickets that had not been dispatched because of more important jobs like backing up street coppers.

It was a night to remember. Stan Nowinsky will never be forgotten.

4/23/2011 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never having worked Fillmo as a PO, I'm guessing that Coca-Cola time in Fillmore had something to do with the Coke Plant nearby and non-Coke liquid refreashment.

4/23/2011 06:19:00 PM

Oh you critics of the golden age,the Coke plant and its parking lot were in the 4100 block of Fillmore. Parking was a constant problem at 4001 (the address of the station for all you latter day Fillmore Rangers, sorry that till makes me laugh). On midnights the 011 personnel were allowed to use the Coke lot. Around 0430 we had to move our cars for the Coke day shift. The dispatchers on Zone 4 knew this and made the following announcement on the zone, "It's Coca Cola in the 11th District." We went in and moved the cars.

4/23/2011 09:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It' Coca Cola time was a popular ad for Coke in the '70's. It's Coca Cola time in 011 meant it was time to move our private vehicles from the Coke plant lot.

4/23/2011 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember John Fisher or Richie Whelton from COS?

John was a dispatcher and back in '79 when the plane crashed on takeoff in elk grove twp he had the air that day, taking care of business.

Great men. Rest in peace John and Rich!

--CCSPD Sergeant.

4/24/2011 06:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When zone4 moved to cover 001, 018 and 1/2 of 019 for a bit "Corky" Corcoran, Steve Kern, "Spinner" Reid (confined to a wheelchair) et al were some of my fondest memories during 1968 on.
Later followed by Chuck, (Monotone Marty) Marty Gatton and a few that I forgot.
On midnights, "Corky" would do the wakeup call at 0600... "Attention units on zone4, 'EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL, EVERYBODY OUT OF THE POOL' last call for garbage (lunch) for the early cars!"

4/24/2011 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1171?

1171?

1171, check out a sidewalk inspector at Wilcox and Pulaski.

"Downers Grove"

4/24/2011 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

06:19:00 Says, I stand corrected about Coca-Cola Time in Fillmo, but I imagine many of us had a cool one at breakfast club in a district parking lot after first watch. I know I did especially on Sunday morning on hot summer nights.

4/24/2011 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous 1127 said...

INSANE FISH I/F said...
Anybody remember "Stan the Man" and the wild wild west side.


Stan was AWESOME! There will never be another of his ilk. I was out there for Bulls riots 1 and 2. Don't know what we would've done minus Stan.

I think he'd be proud of the job Sandy is currently doing on zone 10, on his beloved "Wild Wild, West side"

4/24/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stan "the man" Nowinski was the best! Stan's "Wild Kingdom" was the place to be. He used to sit at his council with a safari hat on and control the wild wild west on Zone 10. The wrote across the top of his panel: "World's Largest Open Air Drug Store!"

Never had to call for an assist when he was on, took care of that for you. He always knew where every car was too, no GPS in those days either.

"No description, no prescription!"

4/24/2011 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Retired Guy Here;
Coke Time In 011th. District was a call to the 1st. Watch Crew That The Coke Plant Across The Street Was Opening. You had to move your car out of the coke employee lot. You also had to move your car if you were blocking their loading dock.
It would come in about 0600hrs. during week days. On the weekends you could leave your car in the lot.
Question; What was the pet a Fillmore during the early 70's ? What was it's name ?

4/24/2011 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That old Zone 9 guy used to say" All right gang, here we go ! Cars on the Zone, Cars on Citywide....
In progress...

4/25/2011 01:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the 60's and 70's Zone 6, which was 7,8,9 and 10 had Jimmy Jausly, who remembered everything. Zone 5, 2,21 and half of 9 had the great "Lum" McGuire, who remembered everybody by the sound of their voice. They were all good back then.

4/25/2011 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a guy on Zone 2 in the last year or so (on mids) with a low, soft spoken voice. Im not sure if hes still there( I hope so) he is the real deal, right out of the 70s. If you are in 019/023 you know whom im refering to.////////////// not from 19 or 23 but i think i know who your talking about. he was on zone 12 midnights about 5 years ago. real calm too. good dispatcher.

4/25/2011 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger paddyo'chare said...

"All cars in 006, all cars on the city wide." He had a very nice cadence to his voice. Never shouted or got ruffled.

4/28/2011 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Kat said...

The stories are golden, but not everyone can tell or write a story in a manner in which anyone else can appreciate. That's when writer's can step in to record our history before we forget it all. Unfortunately, our "free" press no longer seems to see the benefit in such stories and the grant money for such projects has dried up. When we lose the stories, we lose ourselves, our past, our present, and our future. I would love to be able to afford to interview and write the stories that have built the city and how things have changed so drastically.

5/03/2011 11:04:00 PM  

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