Goodby, Officer Inderbitzen : Retirement: About 40 grateful North Hollywood and Sun Valley residents attend a breakfast to thank the L.A. police veteran.
Tony Inderbitzen is the kind of guy who’ll go out of his way to stop by a friend’s house just to make sure it’s safe.
But then, Tony Inderbitzen isn’t just any guy, especially to a group of about 40 North Hollywood and Sun Valley friends who honored him Saturday at a retirement breakfast. Tony Inderbitzen is a cop and a darn good one too, they say.
“This guy, he actually cleaned up our neighborhood,” said Phyllis Weintraub, a member of the North East Valley Residents Assn., which sponsored the event at a restaurant in the Hansen Dam Recreational Area.
The Swiss-born Inderbitzen, 55, will retire next month after more than 20 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, 11 of them with the North Hollywood Division. He was named the division’s Officer of the Year for 1990 for capturing a burglary suspect by commandeering a bicycle and chasing him down as the man ran along a freeway shoulder.
The last four years, as senior lead officer in their middle-class neighborhood, he has worked with members of the residents association to lower the burglary rate, erase graffiti, rid the area of abandoned cars and other unwanted elements.
“You helped us make our neighborhood a safer place to live,” said Al Weintraub, Phyllis’ husband and an organizer of the breakfast, as he presented Inderbitzen an engraved clock from the residents. “You not only guided us, but you dug in and worked alongside of us. . . . “
Al and Phyllis Weintraub, Ed Koyama, Bob and Vida Brice, Horace and Betty DeMille and other organizers of the event also arranged for plaques for Inderbitzen from City Councilmen Ernani Bernardi and Joel Wachs, Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman and Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar).
“I’m really overwhelmed,” Inderbitzen told the crowd, his voice cracking. “You guys are the greatest. I’m not going to miss the job. But I’m going to miss the camaraderie, the friendship.”
As a senior lead officer, Inderbitzen is responsible for handling residents’ complaints and problem portions of Sun Valley and North Hollywood. “We’re in close touch with the neighborhood. We’re kind of the fix-it people,” he said of a lead officer’s duties.
But to members of the residents group, many of whom have lived in the area at least 40 years, Inderbitzen is much more than that.
“He’s always been there for us,” Brice said. “He’s spent his weekends working with us painting off graffiti.”
“He is a man who will help anyone out, no matter what the problem,” said Maki Koyama, Ed Koyama’s wife. “You don’t find many people like that anymore.”
“I cater to these people,” Inderbitzen said. “Why not? They cater to me. If it weren’t for them, their neighborhood would be a lot worse off.”
Inderbitzen, who started the North Hollywood Division’s anti-graffiti program three years ago, said that although he will miss the people, he is retiring because “I’m just not having fun anymore.”
Since the March 3 beating of Rodney G. King in Lake View Terrace, he said, the average cop on the street has been afraid to do his job. “He’s scared of being sued, losing his job, going to jail,” he said. “You touch anyone, you get a complaint filed against you. The hierarchy is not standing behind police officers on the streets. It’s sad.”
“Nobody is saying that the Rodney King beating was justified,” he added. “It was awful. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It never should have gone that far.”
Inderbitzen and his wife, Annemarie, will move from their Burbank home to Las Vegas after he retires. He plans to return to his previous occupation--truck driver.
“I always wanted to do two things in my life--be a policeman and drive a truck,” he said. “I’m going back to trucking, this time for myself. I’ve already bought the truck.” As he spoke, men shook his hand and women kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll stop by before I go,” he told several.
“I just hope the crime rate in our neighborhood doesn’t go up after he’s gone,” Phyllis Weintraub said.