LAUREL CANYON—How many times has the tranquility of living in the hills been interrupted by the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of a helicopter circling overhead?  In the old days you’d write down the identification number on the belly of the helicopter ”“ the assumption was that if you could read the numbers, they were too close. Then you’d call the police to see what was happening.  From those early days I learned that police helicopters don’t hover, the news media helicopters do. Now there are no numbers on the bellies of any helicopter.


LAPD has the biggest fleet of helicopters of any police department in theU.S.   The formal title of the squad is the ASD (Air Support Division).  Seventeen helicopters fly out of the Hooper Memorial Heliport, which is a rooftop heliport in downtown L.A.  For those of us who travel the 101 through downtown we can catch a glimpse of a helicopter on a building just south of Union Station. Apparently the heliport comes with its own control tower, which coordinates all helicopter traffic in and out of the heliport as well as maintaining radio communication with LAX.  I wonder if they give marching orders to the news media helicopters as well?  They always seem to join in the fracas.

So this weekend when a helicopter had been buzzing over Laurel Canyon for more than 10 minutes, I got curious.  Just what was Captain James Miller’s team up to?  Because we live in the hills we often see helicopters hoisting injured hikers off the hillside, or cars that have plunged over the side of Mulholland.  Nope those are not the blue and white LAPD helicopters; those are the red and white LAFD helicopters. LAFD runs its helicopters out of the Van Nuys airport.

This one was blue and white.  I did exactly what our senior lead officer doesn’t want us to do.  I went outside to look in the sky.  Daaahh – like I’m going see anything right?

Here’s what our Senior Lead, Officer Ralph Sanchez says we need to do.

  1. Stay inside ”“ you might be mistaken for a fleeing suspect.
  1. Lock your doors.
  1. If there is anything suspicious call 911.
  1. You can call LAPD Hollywood 213-972-2971.
  1. If you have nothing to contribute and are curious leave a phone number for a call back. The police may not be allowed to give out information about the man hunt in case you might be one of the crooks.
  1. You can leave an email for Officer Sanchez @

The event this weekend was a robbery 2-11 (Penal Code) in nearbyHollywood.  An impostor apparently tried to talk his way into a home. The resident was assaulted.  We know there are lots of strangers knocking on our doors claiming to be one thing or another.  Officer Sanchez says don’t open the door.  Call him @ 213-485-4316. And because we are very lucky to have e-mail contact, let your neighbors know.  If you’re a totally Noisy Nellie call 213-485-2600.  They will tell you why the helicopter is “up.”