Employees 12,616 (2013)
Annual budget $1.4 billion
|Common name Los Angeles Police Department|
Motto "To Protect and to Serve"
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), officially the City of Los Angeles Police Department, is the law enforcement agency for the city of Los Angeles, California, United States. With 9,843 officers and 2,773 civilian staff, it is the third-largest municipal police department in the United States, after the New York City Police Department and the Chicago Police Department. The department serves an area of 498 square miles (1,290 km2) and a population of 4,030,904 people.
- Board of Police Commissioners
- Office of the Inspector General
- Office of the Chief
- Office of Operations
- Operations Central Bureau
- Operations South Bureau
- Operations Valley Bureau
- Operations West Bureau
- Office of Special Operations
- Detective Bureau
- Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau
- Office of Administrative Services
- Rank structure and insignia
- Supervisory terminology
- Chiefs of Police
- Art Theft Detail
- Cadet program
- Work environment and pay
- Body cameras
- Awards commendations citations and medals
- Unit citations
- Marksmanship Badges
- Fallen officers
- Controversies and misconduct
- Consent decree
- In popular culture
The LAPD has been fictionalized in numerous movies, novels, and television shows throughout its history. The department has also been associated with a number of controversies, mainly concerned with racism, police brutality, and police corruption.
The first specific Los Angeles police force was founded in 1853, as the Los Angeles Rangers, a volunteer force that assisted the existing County forces. The Rangers were soon succeeded by the Los Angeles City Guards, another volunteer group. Neither force was particularly efficient and Los Angeles became known for its violence, gambling and vice.
The first paid force was created in 1869, when six officers were hired to serve under City Marshal William C. Warren. By 1900, under John M. Glass, there were 70 officers, one for every 1,500 people. In 1903, with the start of the Civil Service, this force was increased to 200.
During World War II, under Clemence B. Horrall, the overall number of personnel was depleted by the demands of the military. Despite efforts to maintain numbers, the police could do little to control the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots.
Horrall was replaced by retired United States Marine Corps General William A. Worton, who acted as interim chief until 1950, when William H. Parker succeeded him and would serve until his death in 1966. Parker advocated police professionalism and autonomy from civilian administration. However, the Bloody Christmas scandal in 1951 led to calls for civilian accountability and an end to alleged police brutality.
Under Parker, LAPD created the first SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team in United States law enforcement. Officer John Nelson and then-Inspector Daryl Gates created the program in 1965 to deal with threats from radical organizations such as the Black Panther Party operating during the Vietnam War era.
The old headquarters for the LAPD was Parker Center, named after former chief William H. Parker, which still stands at 150 N. Los Angeles St. The new headquarters is the new Police Administration Building located at 100 W. 1st St., immediately south of Los Angeles City Hall, which officially opened in October 2009.
Board of Police Commissioners
The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners also known as the Police Commission, is a five-member body of appointed officials which oversees the LAPD. The board is responsible for setting policies for the department and overseeing the LAPD's overall management and operations. The Chief of Police reports to the board, but the rest of the department reports to the chief.
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General is an independent part of the LAPD that has oversight over the department’s internal disciplinary process and reviewing complaints of officer misconduct. It was created by the recommendation of the Christopher Commission and it is exempt from civil service and reports directly to the Board of Police Commissioners. The current Inspector General is Alexander A. Bustamante who was formerly an Assistant United States Attorney. The OIG receives copies of every complaint filed against members of the LAPD as well as tracking specific cases along with any resultant litigation. The OIG also conducts audits on select investigations and conducts regular reviews of the disciplinary system in order to ensure fairness and equality. As well as overseeing the LAPD's disciplinary process, the Inspector General may undertake special investigations as directed by the Board of Police Commissioners.
Office of the Chief
The Office of the Chief of Police is the administrative office comprising the Chief of Staff and the Employee Relations Group. Also reporting to the chief of police is the Director of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy, whose office is divided into the Community Policing and Policy Group, Risk Management Legal Affairs Group and Media Relations. The Information Technology Bureau and the Professional Standards Bureau, which includes the Internal Affairs Group, Special Operations Division and Force Investigation Division, also reports directly to the Office of Chiefs.
Office of Operations
The majority of the LAPD's approximately 10,000 officers are assigned within the Office of Operations, whose primary office is located in the new Police Administration Building. An Assistant Chief, currently First Assistant Chief Michel Moore, commands the office, and reports directly to the chief of police.
The LAPD Office of Operations comprises 21 police stations, known officially as "areas" but also commonly referred to as "divisions."
The Office of Operations also comprises COMPSTAT (Computer Statistics) which maintains crime data. It holds regular weekly meetings within a purpose-built suite in the new Police Administration Building with the Chief of Police and senior officers. COMPSTAT is based on the NYPD CompStat unit that was created in 1994 by former LAPD Chief William Bratton, while he was still a NYPD Police Commissioner. He implemented the LAPD version on becoming Chief of Police in 2002.
The 21 police stations or "divisions" are grouped geographically into four command areas, each known as a "bureau." The latest areas, "Olympic" and "Topanga," were added on January 4, 2009.
Operations - Central Bureau
The Central Bureau is responsible for downtown Los Angeles and Eastern Los Angeles, and is the most densely populated of the four patrol bureaus. It consists of five patrol divisions and a traffic division, which handles traffic-related duties such as accident investigation and the issuing of citations/tickets.
Operations - South Bureau
The South Bureau oversees South Los Angeles with the exception of Inglewood and Compton, which are both separate cities that maintain their own law enforcement agencies (in Compton's case, a contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department). The South Bureau consists of four patrol divisions, Criminal Gang and Homicide Division and a traffic division, which handles traffic-related duties such as accident investigation and the issuing of citations/tickets.
The 77th Street Area (#12) serves a portion of South Los Angeles, roughly in an area south of Vernon Avenue, west of the Harbor Freeway, north of Manchester Avenue and points west to the city limits, including the Crenshaw region. A section of South Central Los Angeles that borders Florence, Central and Manchester Avenues to the Harbor Freeway is also part of this division. The division's address is 7600 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003. The division also has a Junior Cadets program separate from the cadet program. The junior cadets age range is between 9 and 13 and after age 13 they can join the Cadets. The junior cadets program is exclusive to the 77th street division.
The Harbor Area (#5) serves all of San Pedro, Wilmington and the Harbor Gateway annex south of Artesia Boulevard. This division often works with the Port of Los Angeles Police. The 260 Harbor division members operate out of a $40-million, 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) police station, that was opened in April 2009 on John S. Gibson Blvd.
The Southeast Area (#18), like the 77th Street Division, patrols a part of South Los Angeles. Their area extends to the city limits north of Artesia Boulevard, includes Watts, and areas south of Manchester Avenue.
The Southwest Area (#3) serves all of the city limits south of the Santa Monica Freeway, west of the Harbor Freeway, north of Vernon Avenue, and east of the Culver City/Lennox/Baldwin Hills area. This section also includes the University of Southern California and Exposition Park.
Operations - Valley Bureau
The Valley Bureau is the largest of the four patrol bureaus in terms of size (about 221 square miles), and oversees operations within the San Fernando Valley. It consists of seven patrol divisions and a traffic division, which handles traffic-related duties such as accident investigation and the issuing of citations/tickets.
The Mission Area (#19) community police station began operations in May 2005. This was the first new station to be created in more than a quarter of a century. The Mission Area covers the eastern half of the old Devonshire and the western half of the Foothill Divisions in the San Fernando Valley, including Mission Hills and Panorama City.
The Devonshire Area (#17) is responsible for the northwestern parts of the San Fernando Valley, including parts of Chatsworth and Northridge.
The Foothill Area (#16) patrols parts of the San Fernando Valley (including Sun Valley) and the Crescenta Valley (including Sunland-Tujunga).
The North Hollywood Area (#15) is responsible for Studio City, Valley Village and the North Hollywood Region.
The Van Nuys Area (#9) serves the area of Van Nuys, California.
The West Valley Area (#10) is responsible for parts of the San Fernando Valley, including parts of Encino, Northridge, Reseda and Winnetka, where it is based.
The Topanga (#21) community police station began operations in January 2009. It is responsible for parts of the San Fernando Valley that are within the city's 3rd Council District, including Woodland Hills and Canoga Park, where it is based.
Operations - West Bureau
The West Bureau's operations cover most of the well-known areas of Los Angeles, including Hollywood, Westwood, the Hollywood Hills area, the UCLA campus and Venice. This does not include Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, which are separate from Los Angeles and maintain their own law enforcement agencies. The West Bureau consists of five patrol divisions and a traffic division, which handles traffic-related duties such as accident investigation and the issuing of citations and tickets. Traffic Divisions also conduct DUI enforcement through a DUI Task Force composed mostly of motorcycle or "motor" officers. In addition to this overt enforcement activity, the traffic detective bureau houses a Habitual Traffic Offender Unit (also known as an H2O detail), which conducts undercover surveillance of habitual DUI offenders and other criminals with suspended licenses.
The Hollywood Area (#6) community police station serves the Hollywood region, including the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip.
The Wilshire Area (#7) community police station serves the Mid-Wilshire "Miracle Mile" region, including Koreatown, Mid-City, Carthay, and the Fairfax District.
The Pacific Area (#14) community police station serves the southern portion of West Los Angeles, including Venice Beach, Venice and Playa del Rey. Some officers assigned to the Pacific Division are commonly assigned to work with the Los Angeles Airport Police at the Los Angeles International Airport. Pacific Division was formerly known as "Venice Division."
The West Los Angeles Area (#8) community police station serves the northern portion of the West Side. Communities within its service area include Pacific Palisades, Century City, Brentwood, Westwood, West Los Angeles and Cheviot Hills. UCLA and Twentieth Century Fox are both located there.
The Olympic (#20) community police station opened its doors on January 4, 2009, with an open house on January 17. The Olympic Area will be a small section of the Hollywood Division, and is composed of areas from Rampart and Wilshire divisions. It provides services to a 6.2-square-mile (16 km2) area of the Mid-City region, including Koreatown and a section of the Miracle Mile, with a population of 200,000. The 54,000-square-foot (5,000 m2) station is located at the southeast corner of Vermont Avenue and Eleventh Street and houses 293 officers. The construction cost was $34 million.
Office of Special Operations
The Office of Special Operations is a new office that was created in 2010. Headed by an Assistant Chief, currently Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, and the Assistant to the Director, which is a Commander, the office comprises the Property Division, Security Services Division, Custody Services Division, the Detective Bureau, and the Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau.
The Detective Bureau, which reports to the Director of the Office of Special Operations, consists of several divisions and sections responsible for investigating a variety of crimes.
Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau
The Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau provides the Los Angeles Police Department specialized tactical resources in support of operations during daily field activities, unusual occurrences and, especially, during serious disturbances and elevated terrorism threat conditions.
Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau was created from the merger of the Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau with the Special Operations Bureau in 2010.
Office of Administrative Services
The Office of Administrative Services is a new office that was created in 2010. Headed by an Assistant Chief and the Assistant to the Director, which is a Commander, the office is divided into RACR, the Behavioral Science Services, Fiscal Operations Division, Administrative Services Bureau, and the Police Sciences and Training Bureau.
The RACR or Real-Time Analysis & Critical Response Division began operations in March 2006. It is composed of the Department Operations Section, which includes the Department Operations Center Unit, Department Operations Support Unit and the Incident Command Post Unit; Detective Support Section and the Crime Analysis Section.
Rank structure and insignia
The following names are used to describe supervision levels within the LAPD:
‡ As detectives are considered specialists within the LAPD, they are normally considered to be separate from the uniformed line of command. The senior-most detective is therefore permitted to take charge of an incident when it is necessary for investigative purposes, superseding the chain-of-command of other higher-ranking officers in attendance.
Chiefs of Police
Since 1876, there have been 56 appointed chiefs of the Los Angeles Police Department. William H. Parker was the longest serving police chief in Los Angeles Police Department history, serving for 16 years as chief.
The Los Angeles Police Department has suffered from chronic underfunding and under-staffing in recent years. Compared to most other major cities in the United States, and though it's the third largest police department in the country, Los Angeles has historically had one of the lowest ratios of police personnel to population served. Former police chief William J. Bratton made enlarging the force one of his top priorities (Bratton has been quoted as saying, "You give me 4,000 more officers and I'll give you the safest city in the world").
The Los Angeles Police Department has one officer for every 426 residents. As a point of comparison, New York City has one NYPD officer for every 228 residents. For Los Angeles to have the same ratio of officers to residents as New York City, the LAPD would need to have nearly 17,000 officers. Further points of comparison include Chicago, which has a ratio of one officer per 216 citizens and Philadelphia, whose officer per citizen ratio is 1 to 219. And the same ratio for London's Metropolitan Police is 1 to 152, to make an international comparison.
In recent years, the department had been conducting a massive recruiting effort, with a goal of hiring an additional 1,500 police officers. The city has three specialized agencies, not affiliated with the LAPD directly, which serve the Port, the Airport, and the Unified School District.
Art Theft Detail
The LAPD's Art Theft Detail "is the only full-time municipal law enforcement unit in the United States devoted to the investigation of art crimes." The longtime head and often sole member of the unit is Detective Don Hrycyk, who in 2014 was described as being a 40-year veteran of the department with twenty years as the only known full-time art detective in the United States. According to the LAPD, the unit has recovered over $121 million in stolen works since 1993.
The Art Theft Detail is part of the Burglary Special Section of the Detective Bureau of the LAPD.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is the labor union for LAPD officers up to the rank of lieutenant.
The LAPD have their own version of the police explorer programs that are present in many police departments called the cadet program. The program was formerly called the explorer program but it was changed to the cadet program after the police commission broke off their partnership with the Boy scouts over their rules policy of barring gays, atheists and agnostics from being troop leaders. In order to join the cadet program a person must be between the ages of 13 and 21, meet certain academic requirements, have no serious criminal record, meet several other requirements, and complete the cadet academy.
The newer cadet program shifted focus from the old explorer program which tried to guide members to a career in law enforcement to a program that tries to give cadets a solid foundation in life and to help them prepare for whatever careers they choose by offering things like tutoring and college scholarships to different cadets in need of assistance. The cadets complete courses not only on law enforcement but also on citizenship, leadership, financial literacy and other different skill sets. Cadets work different positions including ride alongs, crowd control, charity assistance, working in stations, and other tasks. The cadet program has posts at all of the LAPD's regional divisions as well as specialized divisions including the Metropolitan Division and the communications division and as of 2014 there were 5,000 cadets.
Up to the Gates administration, the LAPD was predominantly white (80% in 1980), and many officers had resided outside the city limits. Simi Valley, the Ventura County suburb that later became infamous as the site of the state trial that immediately preceded the 1992 Los Angeles riots, has long been home to a large concentration of LAPD officers, most of them white. A 1994 ACLU study of officers' home zip codes, concluded that over 80% of police officers resided outside the city limits.
Hiring quotas began to change this during the 1980s, but it was not until the Christopher Commission reforms that substantial numbers of black, Hispanic, and Asian officers began to be hired on to the force. Minority officers can be found in both rank-and-file and leadership positions in virtually all divisions, and the LAPD is starting to reflect the general population.
The LAPD was in 1910 to hire the first female police officer in the United States, Alice Stebbins Wells. On the LAPD through the early 1970s, women were classified as "policewomen".
Through the 1950s, their duties generally consisted as working as matrons in the jail system, or dealing with troubled youths working in detective assignments. Rarely did they work any type of field assignment and they were not allowed to promote above the rank of sergeant.
A lawsuit by a policewoman, Fanchon Blake, from the 1980s instituted court ordered mandates that the department begin actively hiring and promoting women police officers in its ranks. The department eliminated the rank of "Policeman" from new hires at that time along with the rank of "Policewoman." Anyone already in those positions was grandfathered in, but new hires were classified instead as "Police Officers," which continues to this day. In 2002, women made up 18.9% of the force.
In 1886, the department hired its first two black officers, Robert William Stewart and Roy Green. Despite this, the department was slow at integration. During the 1965 Watts riots, only 5 of the 205 police assigned to South Central Los Angeles were black, despite the fact that it was the largest black community in Los Angeles. Los Angeles' first black mayor Tom Bradley was an ex-police officer and quit the department after being unable to advance past the rank of lieutenant like other black police officers in the department. When Bradley was elected mayor in 1972, only 5% of LAPD officers were black and there was only one black captain in the department, Homer Broome. Broome would break down racial barriers on the force going on to become first black officer to obtain the rank of commander and the first black to command a police station, the Southwest Division which included historically black neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles in 1975.
According to the LAPD and Latin American Law Enforcement Association, in 2013, the Los Angeles Police Department was 81% male, 34.9% of the department was white, 43.6% of the department was Hispanic/Latino, 11.6% was African American, 7.2% was Asian, 2.2% was Filipino American, and 0.8% Indian and Other Ethnicities.
The LAPD has grown over the years in the number of officers who speak languages in addition to English. There were 483 bilingual or multilingual officers in 1974, and 1,560 in 1998, and 2,500 in 2001 that spoke at least one of 32 languages. In 2001 a study was released that found that Non-English-speaking callers to the 911 and non-emergency response lines often receive no language translation, often receive incomplete information, and sometimes receive rude responses from police employees. The issue of a lack of multilingual officers lead to reforms including bonuses and salary increases for officers who are certified in second languages. Currently over a third of LAPD officers are certified in speaking one or more languages other than English. The department also uses a device called the phraselator to translate and broadcast thousands of prerecorded phrases in a multitude of languages and is commonly used to broadcast messages in different languages from police vehicles.
Work environment and pay
LAPD patrol officers have a three-day 12-hour and four-day 10-hour work week schedule. The department has over 250 types of job assignments, and each officer is eligible for such assignments after two years on patrol. LAPD patrol officers almost always work with a partner, unlike most suburban departments surrounding the city of Los Angeles, which deploy officers in one-officer units in order to maximize police presence and to allow a smaller number of officers to patrol a larger area.
The department's training division has three facilities throughout the city, including Elysian Park, Ahmanson Recruit Training Center (Westchester), and the Edward Davis Training Center (Granada Hills).
From spring 2007 through the spring of 2009, new recruits could earn money through sign on bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Those bonuses ended in 2009. Sign on bonuses were paid 1/2 after graduation from the academy, and 1/2 after completion of probation. Also, $2,000 could be added for sign ons from outside the Los Angeles area for housing arrangements. As of July 2009, new recruits earned starting salaries of $56,522–$61,095 depending on education level, and began earning their full salary on their first day of academy training.
In January 2010, the starting base salary for incoming police officers was lowered by 20%. At the time If the applicant had graduated high school their starting salary would be $45,226, if they had at least 60 college units, with an overall GPA of 2.0 or better, their salary would start at $47,043, and if the applicant had fully completed a college degree, the salary would start at $48,880. In 2014 after negotiations between the city and the police officers union reached an agreement on police officer pay that would give pay increases to nearly 1,000 officers who joined the department since the salaries for incoming officers were cut. The agreement also raised starting salaries for officers to $57,420 with an additional increase to $60,552 after 6 months which would become effective in the beginning of 2015. The agreement would also change the current overtime payment system from a deferred payment system, which was implemented to cut costs, to a pay-as-you-go overtime system as well as increasing the overtime budget from $30 million to $70 million.
Beginning in September 2013, the LAPD started a trial program for the use of body worn cameras with 30 officers in the Skid Row area. Reports from the trial program indicated that the cameras functioned well and that they assisted in deescalating situations although there were some technical issues with the cameras along with slight issues with the cameras falling off of officers during movement. In November 2014 in a sign of body camera purchases to come, the department chose Taser International as the vendor for body cameras to be used by the LAPD after their use in the trial program earlier in the year. On December 16, 2014 Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city would purchase 7,000 body worn cameras from Taser for use by the department. Patrol officers will be equipped with the cameras which will be purchased in the next fiscal year in order to outfit all patrol officers by the expected completion date in June 2016. 700 of the cameras will first be deployed to patrol officers in the Central, Mission and Newton patrol areas of the city beginning in January 2015. $1.55 million was raised from private donors to start the body camera program for the initial rollout phase in order to ease budget constraints for the city with another $1 million coming from the National Institute of Justice, a branch of the Department of Justice. In total the body cameras will most likely cost less than $10 million and will be included in Garcetti's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget. Before all of the cameras are deployed to patrol officers, the Police Commission will create a policy that governs the use of the cameras and video footage while consulting with department and city officials along with outside organizations including other departments who already use body cameras. While the commission has not created a policy yet as of December 2014, several guidelines were already outlined by the Mayor including that officers would have to turn on the cameras whenever they arrest or detain someone for interrogation, but many public interactions such as domestic violence interviews would not be recorded. The cameras may also be turned off in situations where police use deadly force. Prior to the rollout of any body worn cameras, officers were able to carry personally owned audio recording devices starting in 1994 if they file an application and obtain the requisite permission.
Awards, commendations, citations and medals
The department presents a number of medals to its members for meritorious service. The medals that the LAPD awards to its officers are as follows:
The Los Angeles Police Department Medal of Valor is the highest law enforcement medal awarded to officers by the Los Angeles Police Department. The Medal of Valor is an award for bravery, usually awarded to officers for individual acts of extraordinary bravery or heroism performed in the line of duty at extreme and life-threatening personal risk.
The Liberty Award is a bravery medal for police canines killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. The award, which was inaugurated in 1990, is named after Liberty, a Metropolitan Division K-9 shot and killed in the line of duty. Liberty's handler received the Medal of Valor for the same incident. So far it has only been awarded once in the LAPD's history.
The Police Medal is an award for bravery, usually awarded to officers for individual acts of heroism in the line of duty, though not above and beyond the call of duty, as is required for the Medal of Valor.
The Police Star is an award for bravery, usually awarded to officers for performing with exceptional judgment and/or utilizing skillful tactics in order to defuse dangerous and stressful situations.
The Police Life-Saving Medal is an award for bravery, usually awarded to officers for taking action in order to rescue or attempt the rescue of either a fellow officer or any person from imminent danger.
Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1984 Summer Olympics from July 28 to August 12, 1984.
Given to LAPD officers who were used during the September 1987 pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II.
Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1992 Los Angeles riots from April 29 to May 4, 1992.
Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1994 Northridge earthquake from January 17 to January 18, 1994.
Awarded for 4000 hours of service as a Reserve Police officer.
The LAPD also awards Distinguished Expert, Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman badges to those who attain progressively higher qualification scores on its range. Bonus pay is given to qualifiers, and some assignments may require such demonstrated weapons skill beyond that earned in basic training.
Since the establishment of the Los Angeles Police Department, 206 officers have died in the line of duty. In its long history, Randy Simmons was the first LAPD SWAT officer to be killed in the line of duty in 2008. There have been two memorials to fallen LAPD officers. One was outside Parker Center, the former headquarters, which was unveiled on October 1, 1971. The monument was a fountain made from black granite, its base inscribed with the names of the LAPD officers who died while serving the City of Los Angeles. The old monument located at Parker Center was destroyed in the process of being transported but was replaced by a new memorial at the current police headquarters building. This memorial, dedicated on October 14, 2009, is made up of more than 2,000 brass alloy plaques, 202 of which are inscribed with the names of fallen police officers. The cause of deaths of LAPD officers who have been killed in the line of duty are as follows:
Two deaths are unsolved, both of off-duty officers: Fred Early, shot in 1972, and Michael Lee Edwards, shot in May 1974.
Controversies and misconduct
Over the years, the Los Angeles Police Department has been the subject of a number of scandals, police misconduct and other controversies:
The widely publicized case of Christine and Walter Collins was depicted in the 2008 film Changeling. In March 1928, Christine Collins reported her nine-year-old son, Walter, missing. Five months later a boy named Arthur Hutchins came forth claiming to be Walter. When Mrs. Collins tried to tell the police that the boy was not her son, she was committed to a mental institution under a Section 12 internment. It was later determined that Walter had actually fallen victim to a child rapist/murderer in the infamous Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. Arthur Hutchins eventually admitted that he had lied about his identity in order to get to Hollywood and meet his favorite actor, Tom Mix.
Bloody Christmas was the name given to the severe beating of seven civilians under LAPD custody on December 25, 1951. The attacks, which left five Hispanic and two white young men with broken bones and ruptured organs, was only properly investigated after lobbying from the Mexican American community. The internal inquiry by Los Angeles Chief of Police William H. Parker resulted in eight police officers being indicted for the assaults, 54 being transferred, and 39 suspended.
In 1962, the controversial LAPD shooting of seven unarmed members of the Nation of Islam resulted in the death of Ronald Stokes, and led to protests of the LAPD led by Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam.
In the 1970s and into the 1980s "biased policing," as it was known in the LAPD vernacular also known as racial profiling was alleged to have been commonplace in the department. This policing alienated the department from minority residents and gained the department a reputation of abuse of power and bias against minority residents.
Early in his tenure as Chief of Police, Daryl Gates re-instituted the use of the choke hold (placing an arm or flashlight over someone's throat) in order to subdue suspects. In 1982, this technique was used and lead to the death of a suspect James Mincey Jr. Following Mincey's death, the Police Commission barred the use of the chokehold by officers unless it was in a life-threatening situation. An investigation into the use of the choke hold found that sixteen people had died after being restrained by police choke holds.
In 1986, Officer Stephanie Lazarus killed her ex-boyfriend's new wife. Despite the victim's father's insistence that Lazarus should be a suspect in the murder, she was not considered so by the police. In 2012, DNA evidence led to her arrest and conviction.
In 1986, the department purchased a 14-ton armored breaching vehicle, used to smash quickly through the walls of houses of suspects. The ACLU questioned the constitutionality of the vehicle. Ultimately, the California Appellate Court ruled that the vehicle was unconstitutional, violating lawful search and seizure.
In 1988, African-American baseball sportscaster and retired Baseball Hall of Fame player Joe Morgan was detained at Los Angeles International Airport by LAPD and L.A. Airport Police officers after falsely being identified as a drug dealer. He was released when the LAPD realized their mistake in identity. Morgan subsequently filed a civil suit against both the LAPD and the city for the unlawful detention after the city cleared the detective of wrongdoing. The lawsuit would eventually be settled in 1993, and Morgan was awarded $800,000 by the Los Angeles City Council.
On 1 August 1988, as part of Chief Gates’ '’Operation Hammer,’’ directed against gangs, SWAT teams raided four apartments at 39th Street and Dalton Avenue. According to an investigation by the department’s Internal Affairs, the team leader, Captain Thomas Elfmont directed his men to “hit" the apartments "hard," to "level" them, and to leave them "uninhabitable."
The police detained 37 people, making seven arrests. They also found six ounces of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine. The seven were beaten by the police and at the police station forced to whistle the theme to the '’Andy Griffith Show’’. Those who refused were beaten again. Nobody was charged with a crime. The city paid four million dollars to settle the matter.
On September 4, 1988, LAPD officers raided the home of Roger Guydon looking for drugs. They found nothing. In 1991, Guydon won a $760,000 lawsuit against the city.
In April 1991 the Christopher Commission was formed in the wake of the Rodney King beating, by then-mayor of Los Angeles Tom Bradley. It was chaired by attorney Warren Christopher and was created to examine the structure and operation of the LAPD. The commission found that there were a significant number of LAPD officers who used excessive force and that the disciplinary structure was weak and ineffective. It also found that hiring practices, as well as their handling of excessive force complaints. Fewer than a third of the suggested reforms were then put into place.
On July 1, 1992, John Daniels, Jr., 36, a tow truck driver, was fatally shot by LAPD Officer Douglas Iversen as he was driving away from a service station in South Central. Iversen was charged with second degree murder, and two separate juries were deadlocked on the charge. The case was dismissed by a judge. Daniels' family received a $1.2 million settlement after filing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles riots of 1992, also known as the Rodney King uprising or the Rodney King riots, began on April 29, 1992 when a jury acquitted four LAPD police officers accused in the videotaped beating of an African American Rodney King following a high-speed car pursuit on March 3, 1991.
After seven days of jury deliberations, the jury acquitted all four officers of assault and acquitted three of the four of using excessive force. The evening after the verdict, thousands of people in the Los Angeles area rioted over the six days following the verdict. Widespread looting, assault, arson, and murder occurred, and property damages totaled one billion dollars. In all, 53 people died during the riots.
On 12 October 1996, LAPD Officers Rafael Pérez and Nino Durden entered the apartment of Javier Ovando. They shot the man in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down. They then planted a gun on the unarmed man to make it appear he had attacked them. The two officers then perjured themselves. Ovando was sentenced to 23 years in custody based on their testimony. Later one of the officers admitted his crime. Ovando was released and in 2000 paid $15 million for his injuries and imprisonment. The officers actions lead to the exposure of the Rampart Scandal. By 2001, the resulting investigations would lead to more than 75 officers being investigated or charged and over 100 criminal cases being overturned due to perjury or other forms of misconduct, much based on the plea-bargain testimony of Perez.
On July 10, 2005, while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, Jose Pena took his 19-month-old daughter, Suzie, hostage in his home. After police arrived, Pena threatened to kill her and himself after firing at others earlier. SWAT officers were called in. After negotiations to try and release the Pena daughter were unsuccessful, four SWAT officers entered the home and during a gunfight both Mr. Pena and his infant daughter were killed and one officer was wounded. Suzie Pena's death was the first death of a hostage ever in LAPD SWAT history and the LAPD was criticized for their actions but later on an independent board of inquiry cleared the SWAT officers of any wrongdoing. A judge later dismissed a lawsuit by the mother of Suzie Pena on the grounds that the officers acted reasonably in the case and no negligence was involved.
On May Day, 2007, immigrant rights groups held rallies in MacArthur Park in support of undocumented immigrants. The rallies were permitted and initially the protesters followed the terms of the permits but some of the protesters began blocking the street and after warnings by the LAPD the protesters in the street didn't disperse and the rally was declared an unlawful assembly. The LAPD only announced the declaration of the unlawful assembly in English leading to confusion by some in the crowd who only spoke Spanish. Police officers held a line to prevent protesters from entering the street and held the line and did not disperse the crowd until rocks, bottles, and other objects began to be thrown at the police. The officers began slowly advancing and fired rubber bullets and used batons to disperse crowd members who refused to comply with police orders to leave the area. Police were heavily criticized for firing rubber bullets at some journalists and hitting some with batons who did not disperse along with the crowds. Seventeen officers and two sergeants of the metropolitan division were recommended for punishment by a department internal review for their actions in the incident.
In 2008, Officer Russell Mecano offered to not arrest a woman in exchange for sex, and offered cash to another woman in exchange for sex. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 8 years.
On July 22, 2012, Alesia Thomas an African American woman died in the back of a police car. Thomas was kicked in the upper thigh, groin and abdomen in the back seat of a squad car and later died. Her cause of death was ruled "undetermined" and the autopsy report mentioned cocaine intoxication as a "major" contributing factor, and also indicated that the struggle with officers "could not be excluded" as a contributing factor to her death. It was later revealed the Thomas was also bipolar. Later on LAPD officer Mary O'Callaghan was charged with assault over her actions in the case. As a result of these events, on September 1, 2012, civil rights activists requested an emergency meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to review arrest and use-of-force policies following her death.
On August 18, 2012, Ronald Weekley, Jr., a college student, was punched in the face while being arrested after being stopped for riding his skateboard on the wrong side of the street.
On August 21, 2012, Michelle Jordan, a registered nurse, was thrown to the ground twice in the course of being arrested after being pulled over for holding her cell phone while driving after getting out of the car and refusing to comply with an officer's demand to get back in the vehicle.
On February 7, 2013, the LAPD was involved in what Chief Charlie Beck called, "a case of mistaken identity" when during the manhunt for murderer and fired LAPD officer, Christopher Dorner, the LAPD and the Torrance Police Department fired upon pickup trucks at two separate locations, believing them to be Dorner. The first incident took place on the 19500 Block of Redbeam Avenue. LAPD officers fired numerous shots into the back of a blue pickup truck, allegedly without warning and injured the two women inside. The second incident, twenty-five minutes later, involved the Torrance Police shooting into the windshield of another pickup truck, narrowly missing the driver. In both cases the victims were not involved with the Dorner case. The Dorner case itself involved allegations of impropriety by other LAPD officers, as Dorner alleged that he had been fired for reporting brutality by his training officer. The manhunt had been triggered by Dorner's alleged attacks against LAPD and ex-LAPD personnel. In 2013, the city of Los Angeles agreed to pay two female victims of the first incident $2.1 million each to settle the matter. The city of Torrance agreed to pay the victim of the second incident $1.8 million.
In May 2014 after much controversy in their own city, the Seattle Police Department transferred two Draganflyer X6 UAV's to the LAPD. The LAPD stated that the only uses for the drones would be for narrow and prescribed circumstances such as hostage situations but that they would not be put into use until the Board of Police Commissioners and the City Attorney crafted a policy for their use after the LA City Council ordered the policy creation. The decision to use the drones gained significant opposition from community activists including the ACLU and new groups founded after the announcement about drone use including Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the Drone-Free LAPD, No Drones, LA! activist groups who protested outside of city hall against the use of drones by the LAPD.
On August 11, 2014 an African-American man, Ezell Ford, was shot by two LAPD gang detectives after they made an investigative stop of Ford on the street. Ford was unarmed and the officers claim that he got into a physical struggle with one of them and then reached for their gun forcing them to fire on Ford while some witnesses who claim to have seen the incident allege that there was no struggle. The autopsy report was ordered to be released by Mayor Eric Garcetti before the end of 2014.
On September 11, 2014, African-American actress Danièle Watts was temporarily detained by the LAPD when she and her boyfriend were in Studio City. Watts accused the officers who stopped her of racially profiling her because she was African-American and her boyfriend was Caucasian, claiming that they treated her as if she was a "prostitute" and that the officers had been disrespectful to her because she was African-American. LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker who was one of the two officers accused by Watts of misconduct, released a personal audio recording of the entire incident to TMZ. The recording showed that police had received a 911 call about lewd acts in a car and the couple who were described to have committed the lewd acts fit Watts' and her boyfriend's description. It also showed that when officers arrived on scene, Watts' boyfriend cooperated with police but Watts refused to cooperate and identify herself, accused the officers of racism, and ignored officers requests and walked away from them leading to her being handcuffed and temporarily detained. Following the release of the recording, local civil rights activists called for Watts to apologize to the LAPD for falsely accusing them of racial profiling but Watts refused. The two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the department shortly after the release of the audio recordings.
In October 2014, the LAPD Office of the Inspector General released a report that members of the department had been using department computers to falsely inflate the number of officers and patrol cars that were on duty at any given time in a method known as "ghost cars". The report found that supervisors of various ranks would check officers into vacant assignments right before the department's computerized patrol software did its head count and then log the officers off when the count was done. The report found that the practice occurred in at least five out of 21 patrol divisions and the report also highlighted the causes including understaffing in the LAPD.
Following the Rampart Division CRASH scandal of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the United States Department of Justice entered into a consent decree with the LAPD regarding numerous civil rights violations. Mayor Richard J. Riordan and the Los Angeles city council agreed to the terms of the decree on November 2, 2000. The federal judge formally entered the decree into law on June 15, 2001. The consent decree is legally binding, and lasted until July 17, 2009, when U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess terminated it. Under the terms of a transitional agreement approved by Feess, the Board of Police Commissioners and the Office of Inspector General, which monitors the department on behalf of the Board of Police Commissioners, will assume responsibility for keeping tabs on the department's efforts to fully implement a few still-incomplete or recently finished reforms. If lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice are not satisfied with the oversight by the LAPD's inspector general, the agreement allows them to object and bring the department back before Feess.
The consent decree placed emphasis on several major areas including management and supervisory measures in order to promote civil rights integrity, along with revising critical incident procedures, documentation, investigation and review, revising the management of gang units, revising the management of confidential informants, program development for response to persons with mental illness, improving training, increased integrity audits, increasing the operations of the Police Commission and the Inspector General, and increasing community outreach and public information.
The consent decree includes several recommendations from the Rampart Board of Inquiry, and several consent decree provisions mandate the department to continue existing policies. Several of the more complex or major provisions in the decree call for things such as the development of a risk management system, the creation of a new division to investigate all use of force now known as Force Investigative Division, the creation of a new division to conduct audits department-wide, the creation of a field data capture system to track the race, ethnicity or national origin of the motorists and pedestrians stopped by the department, the creation of an Ethics Enforcement Section within the Internal Affairs Group, the transfer of investigative authority to Internal Affairs of all serious personnel complaint investigations, a nationwide study by an independent consultant on law enforcement dealing with the mentally ill to help the department's refine its own system, a study by an independent consultant of the department's training programs, and the creation of an informant manual and database
The Consent Decree Bureau was the LAPD bureau charged with overseeing this process. Until 2009, the commanding officer of the Consent Decree Bureau, a civilian appointed by the chief of police, was Police Administrator Gerald L. Chaleff.
In popular culture
The CBS radio show Calling All Cars hired LAPD radio dispacher Jesse Rosenquist to be the voice of the dispatcher. Rosenquist was already famous because home radios could tune in to early police radio frequencies. As the first police radio dispatcher presented to the public ear, he was the voice that actors went to when called upon for a radio dispatcher role.
The iconic television series Dragnet, with LAPD Detective Joe Friday as the primary character, was the first major media representation of the department. Real LAPD operations inspired Jack Webb to create the series and close cooperation with department officers let him make it as realistic as possible, including authentic police equipment and sound recording on-site at the police station.
Due to Dragnet's popularity, LAPD Chief Parker "became after J. Edgar Hoover, the most well known and respected law enforcement official in the nation". In the 1960s, when the LAPD under Chief Thomas Reddin expanded its community relations division and began efforts to reach out to the African-American community, Dragnet followed suit with more emphasis on internal affairs and community policing than solving crimes, the show's previous mainstay.
Several prominent representations of the LAPD and its officers in television and film include Adam-12, Angie Tribeca, The Mask, Beverly Hills Cop, Demolition Man, Passenger 57, The Rookies, Police Story, The Blue Knight, The Choirboys, Crime Wave, The Stone Killer, 10 to Midnight, Murphy's Law, Blue Streak, Blue Thunder, Boomtown, Bosch, The Closer, Police Woman, T. J. Hooker, Colors, Crash, Columbo, Dark Blue, Die Hard, Predator 2, The Rookie, Nightcrawler, End of Watch, Gang Related, Gangster Squad, Heat, Hollywood Homicide, Hunter, Internal Affairs, Jackie Brown, Inherent Vice, L.A. Confidential, Lakeview Terrace, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Life, Major Crimes, Mob City, Mulholland Falls, Numb3rs, Reservoir Dogs, The Shield, Southland, Speed, Speed 2, Street Kings, NCIS: Los Angeles, S.W.A.T. (TV show), S.W.A.T. (movie), Training Day and the Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, Terminator film series and documentary-styled Hollywood film End of Watch which follows the LAPD more in depth.
The LAPD are also featured in the video games, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Midnight Club II, Midnight Club: Los Angeles, True Crime: Streets of LA, L.A. Noire, L.A. Rush, Duke Nukem 3D, and Call of Juarez: The Cartel, and parodied in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto V (Los Santos Police Department; Los Santos is a recreation of Los Angeles).
The LAPD has also been the subject of countless novels. Elizabeth Linington used the department as her backdrop in three different series written under three different names, perhaps the most popular being those novel featuring Detective Lieutenant Luis Mendoza, who was introduced in the Edgar-nominated Case Pending. Joseph Wambaugh, the son of a Pittsburgh policeman, spent fourteen years in the department, using his background to write novels with authentic fictional depictions of life in the LAPD. Wambaugh also created the Emmy-winning TV anthology series Police Story. Wambaugh was also a major influence on James Ellroy, who wrote several novels about the Department set during the 1940s and 1950s, the most famous of which are probably The Black Dahlia, which was made into a film of the same name, fictionalizing the LAPD's most famous "cold case", and L.A. Confidential, which was made into a film of the same name. Both the novel and the film chronicled mass-murder and corruption inside and outside the force during the Parker era. Another novelist, former Los Angeles Times crime reporter Michael Connelly, has written a series of 20 mystery/crime fiction novels, collectively known as the Harry Bosch Series, chronicling the investigations of fictional LAPD Homicide Detective Harry Bosch.