"I said, 'No, no, Jack, I don't want the dog.'
"I didn't realize I was hurting that many people. I didn't think I was scratching the surface," Wooters said, but his gangster pal went on about how the animal would sniff out intruders before they planted a bomb under his car or blasted away with their shotguns or . . .
"I said, 'Where do I pick up the dog?' "
The Wooters' new pet was named Thor, after the Norse god of thunder.
Wooters' sons were learning how to ride the dog around their yard in Arcadia when Capt. James Hamilton told him he was out of the squad. He was being transferred to the city jail in Lincoln Heights, back in uniform on the 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift.
"I said, 'Well, you know, I put in a lot of years. What the hell is going on?'
"He said 'The transfer's effective tomorrow.' "
Wooters swore he never got an explanation. But several squad members knew what had been the last straw: An officer who was newer to the unit suddenly asked to leave it after working on a Wilshire Boulevard bookie. Word reached Sgt. Con Keeler, the veteran bug man, that Wooters had made the officer an unnerving proposal -- supposedly suggesting that the fellow dish him enough evidence to arrest the bookie, after which he'd offer the bookie a way out. It smelled like a shakedown to Keeler, who insisted they tell Capt. Hamilton.
"He said, 'Who's the guy?' " Keeler recalled. "I said, 'Wooters.'
"Cap' looked at me, just kind of shook his head."
Wooters was a couple of months into his exile when he got a call from a familiar voice. Whalen was still out on bail, but not lying low any longer. It was Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1959.
"He says, 'Ah, I got a real rough beef, can you give me a hand?'
"I said, 'What?'
" 'Well, I got a showdown with that goddamned Mickey.'
"I said, 'Where?'
"I said, 'Jack, I'm in uniform. I'm active duty. I can't just walk out and wind up in the Valley. . . . But I'll see if I can get you some help.' "
Wooters phoned his old squad. "I called and said, 'Listen if you . . . go by Rondelli's tonight at around 11 o'clock, I think you're gonna find Whalen and Mickey and some others.' And I said, 'I'm pretty sure you'll find some firearms.' Then I called Whalen. . . . 'Don't take any firearms.' "
And Jack the Enforcer did not carry a gun on the last night of his life.
Times researcher Maloy Moore and former researcher Tracy Thomas contributed to this series.