After a 28-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, Paul G.
Nelson retired at the rank of Detective Supervisor. After a brief time in uniform (2 years), the remainder
of his career was spent working a series of “Specialized Details.” Paul Nelson spent several
years working in an undercover capacity, chasing down illegal sales of weapons and explosives, and building cases against
these illegal weapons dealers. In that capacity, Paul spent a great deal of time with some very bad people,
acting as one of them to gain their trust.
He worked three, 18-month “tours” of Vice.
The Vice unit is responsible for the investigation and suppression of the three “C’s” of vice activity:
“Complained Of,” “Commercial” and “Conspicuous.” The work included
approaching prostitutes and receiving a violation from them, at which time, they would be arrested, the investigation of Alcohol
Beverage Control Act (ABC) violations regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages to the public whether it is from a bar or
a convenience store, and the investigation of any other vice related complaints.
Nelson worked Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (C.R.A.S.H.), the gang unit for thirteen years, working street gangs
which included gathering intelligence on them and also investigating any gang-related crimes, including homicide.
Because of his experience and expertise, he was selected to join the FBI Gang Task Force. The Task
Force included members of the FBI, along with members of other local law enforcement agencies, and targeted specific gangs
who were involved with the transportation of illegal weapons and drugs into or out of Los Angeles. The
work included both vehicular and pedestrian surveillance on known gang members, often “tailing” them across state
lines and in a few instances, across the country. As cases were built against these individuals, the Task
Force would form arrest teams and arrest the individuals. Task Force members would then testify in both
State and Federal Court as witnesses for the prosecution.
Paul Nelson also worked
the Gun Unit, investigating illegal sales of guns in the City of Los Angeles, checking all retail gun stores for compliance
with City, State and Federal laws regarding the sale of firearms and ammunition, and making undercover “straw purchases”
from illegal firearms sellers and dealers.
Paul G. Nelson’s last assignment was as a member
of the Law Enforcement Related Injury (L.E.R.I.) Unit, which was responsible for investigating “Officer-Involved Shootings”
and preparing Staff reports for the Chief of Police and any subsequent legal or civil proceedings. Besides
a strong investigative background, the position required outstanding written and oral communication skills. Paul Nelson is
the author of To Die for Chocolate.