The Bcmc

( 3 )


A young, idealistic young man from Iowa comes to California to join the Los Angeles Police Department in the late 1950s. The country is in the beginning of the Civil Rights era and many cities are in turmoil. After a two-year stint in street patrol in downtown L.A., Pete Felix achieves his goal of becoming a motorcycle officer. His fellow officers call themselves "B.C.M.C." meaning, Big City Motor Cops. His first trial is to complete the rigid training required by the LAPD to be accepted as a motor officer. As ...
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THE BCMC: The Big City Motor Cop

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A young, idealistic young man from Iowa comes to California to join the Los Angeles Police Department in the late 1950s. The country is in the beginning of the Civil Rights era and many cities are in turmoil. After a two-year stint in street patrol in downtown L.A., Pete Felix achieves his goal of becoming a motorcycle officer. His fellow officers call themselves "B.C.M.C." meaning, Big City Motor Cops. His first trial is to complete the rigid training required by the LAPD to be accepted as a motor officer. As Pete relates, it was not an easy task. During his motor officer training, Pete meets his future police partner and they begin to experience the challenges and dangers that motorcycle cops face daily on the crowded and mean streets of L.A.. Pete begins his story after his retirement as a middle-aged man watching the riots on TV that followed the Rodney King incident. He fumes at the lack of police attention to the crimes being committed in front of the cameras. Finally, he realizes that he can do nothing to stop the wild scenes and, in frustration, heads off to bed thinking of the past and his time on the job with the BCMCs. He then relates many of his activities, arrests and experiences, which include many humorous incidents mixed with some of the most terrifying times in the City of Angels. The reader will find out what it is like to be a traffic enforcement officer in one of the largest cities in the country. Pete tells how he learned the ins and outs of riding a big police motorcycle on the streets and freeways of L.A. and gives you a personal glimpse of the many personalities that make up the LAPD of that era. Look in on the rollicking times in the police roll-calls as theystart their tours of duty. They challenge authority of supervision and generally raise hell at some of these roll-calls! Pete opens his police story with the chilling and most dangerous motorcycle police action: a pursuit! He describes his thoughts and actions as he chases the suspects and tries to stay alive while doing it. As the story unfolds, you get a picture of the private conversations and relationships between the officers with which Pete works in the various phases of his career. Accidents and confrontations with traffic violators are the daily challenge of a BCMC and Pete has his own way of dealing with them. The manner with which cops deal mentally with the horrors and the sadness of the real life and death that the cops must face will surprise you. Some will say that cops must be hardened and cynical to cope. Some are and some aren't. Go with Pete and his fellow officers as the City of L.A. erupts into the chaos of the Watts Riot. Feel the terror and dangers that faced the BCMCs and the innocent victims of the riot. Pete survives several minor accidents on his motorcycle but, while on a special detail chasing speeders in a busy part of L.A., Pete crashes into a car that makes an illegal turn in front of him. He receives major injuries that threaten his career as a motor cop. Pete recovers and regains his position on the job but things are never the same for him after that. As Pete ages, he looks back at the way things were and the way they for are him now. With a flare for comedy and a dedication to duty, Gary Smith tells the stories that he and other officers lived on the LAPD in his era. The stories in his book are true stories from his personal experiences and of some of his fellow officers. Names have been changed but the realities that Gary portrays here are . . . . The way it was!
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441549976
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/29/2009
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Stephen Smith was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, and migrated to Southern California at age 14 with his family. Gary attended Whittier High School in Whittier, CA, graduating in 1955. In 1954, he joined the United States Air Force Reserve and served eight years stationed in Long Beach and Riverside, CA. and received an Honorable Discharge in 1963. Gary married his high school sweetheart in 1956 at age 19. He took a job with an oil-drilling tool manufacturer in Whittier, CA. and worked there until the company moved to Texas. With a pregnant wife and just having moved into a new home, Gary declined the move to Texas and started looking for a permanent job. He saw an ad in the TV Guide that promoted a career in police work. The more he thought about it, the more interesting the thought became. After passing his police exams to become an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, Gary entered the LAPD Academy in the fall of 1958. He was 21 years old at the time, Gary had been a motorcycle enthusiast since his early teens and longed to become a motorcycle officer on the LAPD. The motorcycle squad was an elite group of men who had to pass several tests of knowledge and experience, as well as pass an exhaustive riding school. Many of these officers were veterans of WWII and the Korean War and reminded Gary of some of the dashing heroes in war movies about fighter pilots. After attaining the experience of over two years working in a downtown L.A. patrol car and walking several foot beats, he applied for the motorcycle position. He entered the motorcycle training school in January of 1961. Although he was a proficient rider on his own bike, the LAPD had its own riding methods and policies. Atthe end of the challenging three-week training school, he went to work in the Traffic Enforcement Division of the LAPD patrolling the metropolitan parts of LA., which included Hollywood, South-Central and East LA., on streets and on the freeways. From the beginning of his 16 years on the motor squad to the end, it was a mixture of comedy, terror and an education in human relations that made writing this book necessary. The public knows little of the stresses and hazards of being a motorcycle officer in a big city. The period in which Gary worked on the LAPD was fraught with riots and demonstrations of the Civil Rights era of the USA. It was a changing world. Motorcycle cops work in a hazardous environment in which accidents are an everyday occurrence. Gary soon found out that it was no easy task to operate a big motorcycle and look for traffic violations and issue citations or make arrests. In 1971 while working a special assignment, he was involved in a serious accident caused by a person who made an illegal turn. For Gary, the accident resulted in two broken ankles, a fractured heel and a broken wrist. He made a fast recovery and returned to the squad. During his years on the motorcycle squad he participated in the motorcycle escorts of the President and Vice President of the United States, as well as numerous other national and international dignitaries. He also participated in the 1965 Watts Riot. During his career as an officer, Gary gained a teaching credential and became a certified motorcycle instructor in a national program. In 1976, Gary transferred to a plain clothed job for the remaining years on the job. Upon his service retirement after 23 years on the job, he was offered a position in the motorcycle division of American Honda Motor Company at the corporate offices. Gary's work at Honda included serving as a motorcycle safety instructor and as Honda's representative on the Board of Trustees of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). He also served on the Motorcycle Industry Council's Land-Use Committee for off-highway recreation. He became an All-Terrain Vehicle Instructor and published two motorcycle related articles in a national motorcycle enthusiast magazine. While at Honda, Gary was promoted to Assistant Manager of the Rider Education Department and The Honda Riders Club of America and was involved in event promotions and motorcycle rallies. His most enjoyable duty was to help to develop and manage a national motorcycle rally that, until its discontinuance, attracted as many as 25,000 attendees annually from 1993 until 2007. Gary now is retired and living in Washington State and still rides motorcycles. His main hobby is singing and playing drums in various jazz bands in Oregon and Washington. He has four sons, 15 grand children and seven great-grand children.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
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    Posted June 27, 2013



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    Posted June 17, 2013

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  • Posted September 4, 2009

    Ride with Officer Pete Felix as he lives the never-told story of the inner workings of the LAPD Motorcycle Squad.

    The BCMC (Big City Motor Cop) is written by retired LAPD officer Gary Smith. The LAPD Motorcycle squad of the 1960's and 1970's was an elite group of men who enforced the traffic laws on both the Los Angeles streets and freeways. Learn how challenging it is to go through the motorcycle officer training school and about the inner workings of the squad.

    The names have been changed, but the stories are true. Writer Smith takes you back to turbulent times in the City of Angels. Experience the Watts Riots of 1965 at the side of Pete Felix (Officer Smith). Ride along on police pursuits and share the various encounters with the motorists; be on-duty with the officers during the San Fernando Valley Earthquake, the Van Norman Dam potential breakage and the Bel Air Fire. Participate in life and death situations where split second decisions have to be made as to whether to shoot or not to shoot. Share the thrill of escorting a U. S. President and other dignataries.

    Scattered throughout the book is the humor that the officers needed to overcome the stresses of life and death they faced on a daily basis.

    Gary Smith has a talent in pulling the reader into the story. While reading The BCMC, I became part of the motorcycle squad and found it difficult to put his book down. Turning the pages my emotions went from hysterical laughter, to great sadness, to sheer terror.

    A great read with adult language.

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