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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

VINTAGE LAPD: THE HAT SQUAD

THE SQUAD THE BAD GUYS FEARED ~ HAT-WEARING FOURSOME WERE LAPD LEGENDS

MARCH 29, 1987
JACK HAWN 
LA TIMES

"Word went through the underworld that they were tough. No question about it. They were intimidating just by their appearance. The hat was their trademark." ~
Lt. Dan Cooke, Los Angeles Police Department

It was slightly past noon, a typical working day almost three decades ago.

A nondescript sedan pulled alongside a curb and parked on Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Four young, impeccably dressed men--in dark, tailor-made, single-breasted suits, wide-brimmed hats, and polished shoes--piled out and approached a hot dog stand. All were well over six feet tall and collectively they weighed more than half a ton.

Momentarily, a Brinks armored truck appeared and rolled to a stop in front of a nearby business. The guards got out and went inside. As they emerged minutes later with a sack of money, they observed the four men at the hot dog stand, looking toward the truck.

Instinctively, the guards spun around and quickly retreated, disappearing inside.

"Well," one of the four said, "it'll probably be about three minutes. . . ."

As he had predicted, police cars--sirens wailing--soon converged on the scene. The officers confronted the suspicious foursome--all munching hot dogs and enjoying a good laugh.

It was not the first time this group had been mistaken for criminals--purely because of their size and dress.

They were, in fact, detectives.

Working out of the robbery division of the Los Angeles Police Department through the 1950s and early '60s, the four became a legend.

They were labeled the Hat Squad--an elite team that quickly gained a national reputation among law enforcement agencies as well as in the underworld.

 FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE
 

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