By Ralph Williams (If you care to email Ralph about his article, you may do so by emailing him at ralphjess@gmail.com)


The 18th Roundup was held from April 2-5, 2017,  in Laughlin, Nevada at the Riverside Resort and Casino.  A total of one thousand, forty (1040) attended this year.  If you weren’t one of them you were likely missed.  To date, this is the largest group to ever attend the Roundup.  More on that later.

With the approval of Sheriff Jim McDonnell and the financial support of ALADS, the HR 218 Qualification was conducted by LASD range staff Deputy Joey Stoker and Jeff Tan.  The two day event is coordinated by Walt Bouman and this year a new record 417 retired shooters qualified and all 417 were 417.

Thanks goes out for the Roundup’s financial support from the Sheriff’s Relief Association, ALADS, PPOA, and PPOA FCU.

The Roundup may be many things to many people but for most, it is the joy of getting together with old co-workers and old friends to share the memories of the past and the joys of today and tomorrow.  Those who worked Aero/ESD, AV Station, Detective Division, ELA,  Firestone, Industry, Lakewood, Lennox, Malibu/Lost Hills, Norwalk and Pico, San Dimas, and West Hollywood Stations, Red Hats and SED/SEB had gatherings.  Next year, both SBI and TST are planning gatherings. 

The Roundup is certainly growing.   While those attending may or may not participate in the different unit functions, all participate in the nerve center of the Roundup.  The Riverside Hotel’s Starlight Room is converted into what we call,  “The Briefing Room,” where the Roundup begins and ends.  You will encounter everyone in the Briefing Room with nothing but big, constant smiles.  The room opens beginning on Sunday at noon and by late afternoon it is filled with happy retirees doing their best to greet one another.  Move fast or the person you want to greet next could be swallowed in a sea of people.  Throughout the 4 day stream of activities the Briefing Room serves as a place to enjoy a continental breakfast, meet between functions to visit each other, grab an evening meal on selected nights, meet old and make new friends.  On the final night of the Roundup we gather for the anticipated raffles and a chance to bid farewell for what may be a year before many gather again.  One person posted the following on Facebook:

-I had a blast catching up with former partners and co-workers.  I’m sure this will get bigger next year.  To those of you who missed it because you think only “old guys” would go; you’re missing out.  Yes, there were some attending who may fit that bill but, 1-there are so many retirees attending you do know and you wanted to say hello to and 2-the history you are missing out on! The deputy who is the father of ESD was 97.  Imagine his stories.  Sit down with him next year, if you can, just to hear stuff you’ve never heard before.

A word about us “old guys;” that should be everyone’s goal….to be one of the “old guys.”

When the question was posed, this is what some of your fellow retirees had to say about the Briefing Room:  First however,  I want to express my gratitude to those of you who emailed me the responses below because you always support the case for why we all attend this fantastic yearly event:

-What I enjoyed about this year: 1-listening to those who had been retired for more than a few years and attending the Roundup for the first time, not realizing how great of a gathering it is and wishing they would have come sooner and 2-standing back seeing so many “heroes” who retired at all ranks from so many diverse positions just enjoying fellowship with one another as a retired deputy sheriff from LASD along with their spouses, significant other, or family.

-I made it my mission to tell people how much they meant to me and influenced my life for the better.  I have learned from my kids how a small conversation can change someone’s life and if you are a good person trying to do what is right you will have an impact on others. 

-We had never been to the Roundup in our 12 years of retirement.  Now we realize that we have really missed out!  We just keep saying over and over, “we had the time of our life.”  Everyone and we do mean everyone, was so wonderful, kind, and loving. We smiled so much!  We are still overwhelmed by our experience.  We do feel sad that many or our retired personnel don’t take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  I hope that next year we will see many of our dear Department friends that have never attended this event.  Lord willing we will never miss another Roundup.

-My most memorable moment was seeing my former Explorer advisor, Ray Finnegan, and sitting at the same table with the very first deputy with whom I did a Ride-a-long when I was still in high school.  That Ride-a-long set in motion my career with the Sheriff’s Department.

-My most emotional experience was seeing retired Detective Sherry Blank on Sunday night.  I actually walked past her to reach the table to fill out the form for qualification.  She had her back to me and I said, “excuse me” as I stepped to her side.  She said she recognized my voice so she waited until I turned around.  As soon as I saw her I shouted, Blank; Sherry!”  Totally awesome!

-Having my wife finally get to put faces to all of the many war stories I’ve told over the past 34 years.  To see the look on her face when she would recognize the name and connect it to the story and she would say, “oh, you’re deputy so and so!”

-The Roundup was terrific as usual.  My favorite memory is visiting with my field training officer (Mike Preston) and other LASD friends who made such a significant impact on my career and life.  It truely was the best of times.

-This is a comment you have probably heard over and over. It is finding friends still doing well even though age has its challenges and toasting those who have passed that makes this reunion very special.  Thank you to each of you who are part of the organizing and ensuring it is a successful time for all of us to come together and smile, hug, share our retirement experiences and to simply be able to let others know we think of them and really enjoy seeing them again year to year.  It is difficult at times to express that our work experiences are more than history at a challenging yet enjoyable career.  It is a gentle reminder that all Department members are family!

-A special moment.  Sitting at a table when I glanced up and immediately recognized someone I haven’t laid eyes on in over 45 years.  Jim Lyle was my first training officer when I left the jails and transferred to Lennox in late ’69.  This was Jim’s first Roundup and I’m very glad that I didn’t miss this one and had a chance to visit with him. 

-I was thinking about your question and my emotional experience in the briefing room was like changing a black and white photo into a color print.  Most of the pictures in mind of partners, friends, and colleagues of mine on the department while I was active were taken in black and white with some gray tones.  What I mean by that is I never seemed to get to know folks on a truly emotional, honest, down to earth, personal level.  It seemed that many wanted to impress or out compete one another.  Many wanted to obtain and show power and control.  The black and white photos in my mind of them seldom revealed their true feelings, emotions, family, and meaningful experiences and goals they had in their lives.  The Roundup; the Briefing Room has changed many of those black and white mental pictures to full blown color.  Color so enhanced the pictures that now I see real friends with loving concern for one another.  I see stories about family joys and hardships that I didn’t see in black and white.  With compassion, respect, and empathy, I see a family environment.  I’m sure I was seen in black and white by many during my career.  I have so enjoyed the Briefing Room with the opportunity to meet so many friends again for the first time, in color, with all the emotions and feelings and love that only come from the law enforcement family.

-That first moment in the Briefing Room is always a favorite; always special.  People smiling, talking, laughing and hugging and reminiscing about events and adventures that really weren’t so long ago.  Were they?  Looking into the eyes of people I admire and respect, role models who guided and shaped my life from the time I was 16.  The gratitude never wanes nor does the comfort in knowing that so many are still here among us with their very existence making the world a better place.

-I was listening to Walt Bouman and during this conversation he stated, “where can you go and instantly have 15 friends?”  I personally welled up inside and thought how true this was.  I was delighted to see so many friends at the Roundup.

Those comments are common to all who attend.  Some are very personal and heartfelt.  The Briefing Room is certainly one of the happiest places on earth and if you’ve never been to a Roundup, you owe yourself a trip. 

Back to our record attendance:

Debbie Ryall has contacted Guinness World Records regarding the attendance at the Roundup.  The current record for “Largest gathering of Retired Law Enforcement” is 1000.  We have beaten that record with 1040.  I don’t know who had the record of 1000 but we cannot let them or anyone else have that record back.  Therefore I am challenging every able bodied man, woman, and child to plan to have themselves at the 19th Roundup next year and let us make a record attendance that no group will ever come near.  All you have to do is mark your calendar for April 811, 2018 and wait for the announcement in the fall of 2018.  One of my favorite old sayings is, “we do what we plan to do.”  Plan to set a new record at the Riverside Resort and Casino in Laughlin next year!