Everyone always asks Canyon Country resident Rocky Sherwood if he was named after the movie.
“No, I was 10 when that movie came out in 1973 — that movie is named after me,” he answers, jokingly, adding that his father was a boxer and named him after Rocky Marciano.
“But it took seven kids,” Sherwood added. “My mom said, ‘absolutely not.’”
By the seventh kid, she finally gave in.
That changed when it was time for Sherwood to have kids, as he named his first child Rocky. “Boom: He got the name Rocky right away.”
As Rocky grew up, the similarities to his father continued, and their lives continued to mirror each other past just the name.
Now, 27 years later, Rocky and Rocky celebrated a milestone in their lives at their joint retirement party recently, as one retired from 33-and-a-half years in the Los Angeles Police Department and the other was honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard.
“We didn’t plan it, we never actually ever talked about it and here it was — our official retirement dates were one day apart,” Sherwood said.
Laying the groundwork
“I knew from the time I was a little, little boy that I was going to be one of two things: I was going to play professional baseball or I was going to be a cop,” Sherwood said.
After taking baseball as far as he could, and playing in college, he went into the police academy in July 1986.
With a father who was the former chief of police of the San Fernando Police Department and an older brother with the El Monte Police Department, his career choice was no surprise.
“I worked a variety of jobs over the years,” he said. “From patrol to detectives to undercover, you name it.”
In his last five years, Sherwood worked with a fugitive apprehension team, traveling the country in search of wanted fugitives from L.A. “I got to see a lot of cool places, a lot of places that in a million years, I never thought I would go.”
The apple doesn’t fall far
Sherwood’s son Rocky started playing T-ball when he was just 4 or 5 years old, and like his father, he was a catcher.
It was baseball that took him to Louisville, Kentucky, for college, and once he had his degree, he told his parents he’d be joining the military, which he said was something he always knew he wanted to do.
“We weren’t surprised,” Sherwood said. “As far back as we can remember, he just loved the military.”
Though set in his decision, Rocky said he didn’t know which branch, yet.
“So, I did my research and then loved what I heard about the Coast Guard,” he said, adding that he decided to be a gunner’s mate.
The most memorable parts
The one thing Sherwood knew he wanted to do early on was work homicide, and he was able to do just that for five years in the North Hollywood division.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m so glad I did it,” he said. “It’s one thing I absolutely wanted to do, and I got to experience that.”
In February 1997, while still in the Homicide Division, he heard a call that he remembers to this day.
“We had just left the station and we were about half a mile from the actual bank when the call came out, and we were just in a suit and tie,” he said, referring to the call that would lead to the infamous North Hollywood bank shootout.
They were only the third car to arrive on scene, positioning themselves in the parking lot while the suspects were still in the bank.
He said he remembers thinking that this was the day he was going to die. “I remember thinking, ‘Did I kiss (my kids) this morning? Did I tell them I loved them?’”
To this day, if he drives by that bank, he still gets chills. “I can still smell the gunpowder in the air. I can still hear those rounds being fired.”
While in the Coast Guard in August 2017, the younger Rocky was given just a day’s notice before being put on a plane headed to Texas for Hurricane Harvey relief.
The younger Rocky also said working presidential security for President Donald Trump side by side Secret Service agents at Mar-a-Lago over the holidays was unique.
“Sometimes (when) you’re working, it doesn’t feel that real, but that was something (different),” he said. “Every boat that’s going by, you’re making sure you’re screening them. It was a really neat experience.”
The end of the road
With a plaque and an actual door taken off of a black and white as retirement presents, Sherwood retired as an LAPD detective Jan. 2.
“I enjoyed it so much that I never thought it was work,” he said. “That’s why 33-and-a-half years flew by. Up until the day I retired, I was still having a blast.”
Now that he’ll have time, he hopes to return to coaching high school baseball and is looking forward to traveling with his family. “We’ll see what the next chapter brings.”
The very next day on Jan. 3, Rocky was honorably discharged from the Coast Guard as an E-4 petty officer third class.
“I have the ability now to go and get my master’s in something I’ll enjoy doing,” he said, adding that he’ll be attending National University in San Diego for a degree in homeland security and emergency management. “From there, I’m obviously going to get that degree and then just kind of see what doors open up.”
Time to celebrate
Rocky’s brother threw the pair a retirement party, renting out Richard Rioux Park for the day.
Both Rockys said it was a great way to end their service, complete with a number of family, friends and coworkers they hadn’t seen in years.
“It was a blast, and the day just flew by,” Sherwood said.