by Ski Ingram

I had been working as a Vice detective from 1994 until 1998.  Since I was working undercover, I had no need to wear a uniform. I put my uniform in my locker and forgot about it for 4 years. 

On my first day back in Patrol I had an appointment with Carol Rose, an assistant District Attorney. I had been working with her on a number of cases.  We needed to discuss one of my arrests from when I was a vice detective. I had planned to talk to her before going to my first squad meeting in four years. I put my uniform on and started to walk from the Police Station to the Court House. The Court House was on Ocean Blvd, the Police Station on Broadway.  To get to the Court House from the Police Station you have to walk out of the back door to the Police Station across the police officer’s parking lot to the back door of the Court House.

As I started across the parking lot toward the back door of the Court House, I noticed that the rubber soles on my shoes, that I had not worn in four years, were deteriorating. Every time I took a step my shoes would leave small pieces of rubber on the ground.  This happened every time I took a step.  I looked back as I walked and could see little rubber footprints on the asphalt parking lot and then on the linoleum floor of the Court House.

As I walked through the Court House, I could sense people laughing under their breath as they watched this police officer’s shoe fall apart with each step he took.  As I look back on this incident I am laughing also. I didn’t laugh then but, 22 years later it’s one of the funny things that happen on the job.

When I arrived at Carol’s office, still leaving rubber footprints with every step, I noticed a very pretty blonde woman who I did not know.  I immediately told Carol about my deteriorating shoes, and we all had a good laugh, even the blonde woman I didn’t know.  Carol and I began talking about the case with the blonde woman listening in on our conversation.  Carol had failed to introduce us, and I was wondering who this person was. 

At one-point Carol called the blonde woman “Aissa.”   I only knew of one person named “Aissa” and that was Aissa Wayne, John Wayne’s daughter. I also knew that Aissa Wayne had just graduated from law school.  Could this be her?  I had to know, so I asked her.  It was John Wayne’s daughter, Aissa Wayne. 

I was more than honored to meet her.  I knew about the trouble she had with a former boyfriend and didn’t get satisfaction from the courts.  She attended law school in order to help herself and others who may be in a similar situation with our criminal justice system. 

I told her that I was one of her father’s biggest fans. I had almost every one of his movies in my collection.  I had even named my oldest son John Wayne after her father. We had a great conversation until I had to get to the squad meeting at 4:30 pm.  Before I left Aissa told me that she had written a book about her father, and she would give me one the next time I saw her. I’m sad to say, I never saw her again.

By the time I had walked back across the parking lot to attend a squad meeting my shoes were almost unwearable. After the squad meeting and before going on patrol I went to the Long Beach Uniform store and got a new pair of shoes.

As remembered by Ski Ingram November 1998