After attaining the experience of over two years working in a downtown LA 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.
At the 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 sixteen 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
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 Smith
is the author of The BCMC: The Big City Motor Cop.