Jim Reed and Pete Malloy, two of L. A.'s finest working out of 1-Adam-12, were halfway through the PM watch when they received a call to help Adam-72 transport three drunken, unruly juveniles to the station. The 17-year-olds, Rey, Chris and Mike, stayed fairly quiet on the ride in. However, as Jim brought Chris inside he suddenly turned nasty. The boy started trying to twist out of the young officer's grasp, kicking and jerking wildly. He kept up a steady tirade of threats.

"You think you're real tough, pig, but just wait 'til I blow this joint. I'm going to put a bullet through that nice shiny badge. I'm going to pump so much lead in you they could use you for a pencil. It'll be a pleasure watching you bleed, cop. I'm going to stand over you and spit." His tirade was cut short as he was shoved into a holding cell and the door slammed to behind him.

"I'll find you, pig. I'll find you!" The boy screamed at Jim's retreating back. Pete had been busy helping with the other violent, abusive teens, putting them into separate cells. As he exited past the first cell he shot in a glare which actually backed Chris away from the grating. After a few moments of silence the raving started up again, but its targets were already out of earshot.

"The people at McLaren are gonna have their hands full for a few hours," the older man said in disgust.

"They sure gave us enough trouble," Jim agreed. "Maybe we can convince the dispatcher to shunt all our calls over to Wells and take it easy for the rest of the night."

"That's not a bad idea. He's always complaining that Thursdays aren't exciting enough."

"Maybe we should introduce him to the ex-wrestler in the Main Street bar."

"Oh, no, I wouldn't wish that guy on anyone, including Ed."

As if just to spite them the activity stepped up. On almost every street they discovered a motorist who'd had a little too much to drink. For once, though, all the drivers who were a danger to themselves and others managed to get home without serious incident. After an hour or two the monotony of traffic stops was broken by the radio.

"1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, family dispute. See the woman, 714 South Flower, apartment B. Code 2."

"1-Adam-12, roger." Jim let out a sigh as he replaced the mike. "The same place as a few weeks ago."

"I hope he isn't trying the same stunt."

The address was a large one-story apartment complex. When the officers pulled up a woman came hurrying towards them, followed by a small boy who was screaming at the top of his lungs. Pete and Jim both got out to meet her.

"I want him arrested, officers! He hit me! And now he won't let me in!" The young mother was furious.

"I'll get Mac and backup," Jim said, turning back toward the car. Pete tried to calm both victims down.

"Is the baby in there, Mrs. Bucher?"

"Yes, and he's got the rifle again too. This time he really did hit me, officer, look!" She pointed to a large red spot on her cheek which promised to produce an ugly bruise.

"OK, we'll arrest him this time. It's just hard to believe you after all the false reports."

"Well, I'm not lying now, am I?"

"No, ma'am. Has he had anything to drink?"

"Of course. You think he does this when he's sober?"

Pete wasn't prepared to say no. Jim reported that Mac would arrive shortly, and both officers quickly made sure that the apartments on either side had been evacuated and that the other tenants were keeping a safe distance. Leaving the manager in charge, they approached apartment B.

"Let's try talking," Pete said quietly. "It worked before." They sidled up to the door with caution; the husband hadn't used his rifle last time, but that was no guarantee.

"Mr. Bucher? This is Officer Malloy. Why don't you let us in?"

"No! Ya' leave me alone. I've still got m'rifle, an' I'll use it!"

"We went through this before, Mr. Bucher. Why don't you make it easy on yourself?"

"Go 'way or I'll nail t' door shut again!"

"Now don't do that. Just calm down."

"Don' tell me wat'ta do! Ya' just be quiet. Whurs the sergeant? I wanna' talk to that sergeant."

"He's right here." Mac was, indeed, coming up the lawn at a jog.

"Same as before?" He inquired of Jim in an undertone.

"Yeah. He's asking for you."

"Mr. Bucher, this is Sergeant MacDonald. Why don't you just let us in the house and get this over with."

"Did sh' tell ya I hit 'er? She's a liar! Y' know she's a liar! I dinn't touch 'er!"

"Did she say he hit her?" Mac whispered.

"Yeah, but it's for real this time," Pete returned.

"If you'll let us inside we'll talk about it," Mac called out.

"I DON' wanna' TALK!" Was screamed in return. The sound of something crashing inside made the three officers hug the walls. After a few moments of silence Mac decided to try again.

"Mr. Bucher, don't do anything you'll regret." That was greeted by a burst of slightly unbalanced laughter.

"Too late. S' too late." The policemen glanced at each other in alarm.

"Mr. Bucher, have you hurt the baby?" Mac called.

"No! No, no, I wudn't hurt th' baby ..." Another silence ensued. "Still there?"

"Yes, we're still here. Just open the door and we'll get this sorted out." Another black and white pulled up; Mac motioned its occupants to provide cover.

"I won' let you git me! You tell her I won' ... I got my rifle ..." There were a few more seconds of quiet, then they heard someone stumbling toward the front of the apartment; all five officers drew their guns. The door opened slowly and the rifle was thrown out; Mr. Bucher knew the routine. Jim picked up the weapon as the man himself looked outside, disheveled and unsteady.

"All right, y' can come in."

Mac turned toward the backup officers. "Get back on patrol, we'll finish up here."

"Right, Sarge," they called back. Mrs. Bucher came hurrying up to accompany the remaining officers inside.

"You'll take him to jail, right? You'll keep him away from us?"

"For as long as we can, ma'am," Mac replied, and shut the door behind them all.

Half an hour later Pete and Jim washed their hands of the incident by booking Mr. Bucher. After grabbing 7 in the coffee room they got back out on the streets.

"How much you wanna' bet we'll run into the Buchers again?" Jim asked as he watched the streetlights flash by.

"No bet here. I just hope next time Mrs. Bucher remembers to grab the baby on her way out."

Jim nodded. "Hey, look at that."

He indicated a teenage girl stumbling down the sidewalk, obviously drunk. Pete pulled the car over just ahead of her and both officers got out.

"Wha, hullo offsers," the girl slurred when she saw them walking up.

"Hi," Jim replied. "Why don't you sit down, miss?" He guided her towards a nearby bench. She swayed so much when she sat down she almost fell off.

"All right, what's your name?" Pete sat next to her to prevent any accidents.

"Ahm ..." she paused, a bleary look of concentration on her face. "Ahm ... 'm sorry, offsers, I can seem t'r'member ..."

Pete wasn't unduly surprised. He glanced at his partner. "Put us Code 6."

"Right." Jim picked up the mike while his partner stood to survey the area, trying to decide which test would be easiest on them all. While their backs were turned the girl lurched upright and a few feet to one side. The next thing both officers heard was a loud, metallic crash. They whipped around to find the girl gone - well, almost. A pair of hands and feet waved lazily from out of a large, round garbage can.

"Ahm sorry, offsers ... ahm sorry ..."

Pete stared, desperately trying to retain control. Jim, on the other hand, was laughing so hard he had to lean against the patrol car to keep from falling over. The girl was obviously incapable of extricating herself, so Pete walked over and lifted her out. She kept apologizing profusely as he led her past his still hysterical partner and placed her in the black and white; he doubted any sobriety tests could prove her state better.

"All right, Jim, let's go." He clapped his partner on the shoulder as he walked back around the car. Jim was gasping for air as he opened the back door.

"Hey," he said breathlessly, "since when do we pick up the garbage?"

That finally broke Pete up. Both officers spent the rest of the night making merry over the incident, letting out the tension that had built up through their shift. It felt good.

These incidents are true. I adapted them, changing circumstances and locations, from Officer Russell's now-defunct Life On the Beat list archive. Jim, Pete, Mac and the others are fictional characters, of course - but there are thousands of real police officers who are just as brave, kind, dedicated and worthy of praise as those we meet and love on Adam-12.