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CHiPs on Display

Florin, CA, United States
20 Kudos
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Inside the California Highway Patrol Museum one of the fun sights you will see is a display dedicated to the TV series “CHiPs” which ran from 1977 to 1983. The series stopped just before I went into the Academy. I used to watch Ponch (Erik Estrada) and Jon (Larry Wilcox) before I went to the Academy. Even before graduation and working the job for a short period I knew that the series was not like the job in “Real Life.” The show gave the CHP world-wide recognition and years ago when someone found out what I did for a living they had the, “Oh, CHiP’s” comment. The one thing that has always made me laugh is when they had a CHP Cadet assigned to the Central Los Angeles office and riding a motorcycle. That Cadet was Bruce Pennhall who was a World Speedway Champion. I had the opportunity to meet him in Culver City one evening while working the graveyard shift during my first year on the job. THe call signs Jon and Ponch used were 15 seven Mary 3 and Mary 4. Most of this is correct, however, the extra “seven” in the call sign does not exist in real life. The 15 is a designator that every CHP area has, for example, Central Los Angleles use the 15 at the beginning of radio transmissions, “15-Mary 3” would mean theat the person on the radio is assigned to Central L.A. and is the motorcycle officer third in the line of seniority on motorcycles in that area. Another example is when I was in West Los Angeles their radio designator is “79.” So, a regular beat unit (car cop) would use the call sign, 79-60, which is/was a real beat along the I-405. I got a little off the CHiPs track.
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Points of interest

California Highway Patrol Academy
A full display about the TV series CHiPs is available for your viewing at the CHP Academy in the museum

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