By Gene Gleeson
VAN NUYS - The oldest police officer on active duty at the LAPD can still remember his first day on the job, like it was yesterday.
Sgt. John O'Toole remembers a lot from his 53 years as a cop. O'Toole recently turned 80, which makes him the most senior officer on the department. When he started, the LAPD was all male and nearly all white. Then it's image was fine tuned by Sgt. Joe Friday in the TV show, 'Dragnet.'
O'Toole may be 80, but he shows up for work every morning at 4:30 with a smile and gleam in his Irish eyes. He's a detective at Valley Traffic. Working felony pursuit and DUI cases. Co-workers say he's like a walking history book.
O'Toole's the only World War II vet left on the LAPD. He fibbed about his age and enlisted when he was only 16. Serving in the Pacific as a tail gunner on a navy bomber. After the war he bounced around, until he found his calling, as a cop.
O'Toole served for years on the Metro squad. Helping provide security for visiting dignataries; including then Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960 and the year before Soviet Leader Nikita Kruschev.
All that's behind him now. But Sgt. John O'Toole is not quite ready to say goodbye to police work.