Los Angeles Police Department
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Los Angeles Police Department

City of Los Angeles Police Department
Patch of the LAPD, used primarily for Traffic Assignment.
Patch of the LAPD, used primarily for Traffic Assignment.
Seal of the LAPD
Seal of the LAPD
LAPD officer badge, with number omitted.
LAPD officer badge, with number omitted.
Common nameLos Angeles Police Department
Motto"To Protect and to Serve"
Agency overview
FormedDecember 13, 1869; 151 years ago (1869-12-13)[1]
Employees12,000 (2020)[2]
Annual budget$1.189 billion (2020)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionLos Angeles, California, U.S.
LA County Incorporated Areas Los Angeles highlighted.svg
Map showing the LAPD's jurisdictional area
Size503 sq mi (1,300 km2)
Population3,979,576 (2019)
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
Governing bodyLos Angeles City Council
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed byLos Angeles Board of Police Commissioners
Headquarters100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Police officers9,974 (2020)
Unsworn members3,000
Commissioners responsible
  • Eileen M. Decker[3], President
  • Shane Murphy Goldsmith, Vice President
  • Dale Bonner, Member
  • Sandra Figueroa-Villa, Member
  • Steve Soboroff, Member
Agency executives
  • Michel R. Moore,
    Chief of Police
  • Robert Arcos, Assistant Chief - Operations[4]
  • Horace Frank, Assistant Chief - Special Operations[4]
  • Beatrice Girmala, Assistant Chief - Support Services[4]
  • Lizabeth Rhodes, Director - Constitutional Policing and Policy[4]
Police boats2
Dogs2 Bloodhounds
20 German Shepherds

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), officially the City of Los Angeles Police Department, is the police department of Los Angeles, California. With 9,974 police officers[2] and 3,000 civilian staff,[2] 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 operates in an area of 502.73 square miles (1,302.1 km2) and a population of 3,979,576 people.


The first specific Los Angeles police force was founded in 1853 as the Los Angeles Rangers, a volunteer force that assisted the existing L.A. County forces.[5][6] 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.[5]

The first paid force was created in 1869, when six officers were hired to serve under City Marshal William C. Warren.[1] 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.[1]

The CBS radio show Calling All Cars hired LAPD radio dispatcher Jesse Rosenquist to be the voice of the dispatcher.[7][8] 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.[9]

During World War II, under Clemence B. Horrall, the overall number of personnel was depleted by the demands of the military.[10] Despite efforts to maintain numbers, the police could do little to control the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots.[10]

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.[11]

The iconic television series Dragnet, with LAPD detective Joe Friday as the primary character, was the first major mass media representation of the department.[12] 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.[12]

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" at that time.[12] 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.[13]

The former Administration Building in 1976

Under Parker, the LAPD created the first SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team in U.S. law enforcement.[14] Officer John Nelson and then-Inspector Daryl Gates[15] created the program in 1965 to deal with threats from radical organizations such as the Black Panther Party operating during the Vietnam War era.[14]


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.[3] 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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[17] The current Inspector General is Mark P. Smith who was formerly the Constitutional Policing Advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.[18] The OIG receives copies of every complaint filed against members of the LAPD as well as tracking specific cases along with any resultant litigation.[17] The OIG also conducts audits on select investigations and conducts regular reviews of the disciplinary system in order to ensure fairness and equality.[17] As well as overseeing the LAPD's disciplinary process, the Inspector General may undertake special investigations as directed by the Board of Police Commissioners.[17]

Office of the Chief

The Office of the Chief of Police has the responsibility for assisting the Chief of Police in the administration of the department.

Chief of Staff

The Chief of Staff is responsible for coordinating the flow of information from command staff to ensure that the Chief is fully informed prior to making decisions, performing and coordinating special administrative audits and investigations, and assisting, advising, and submitting recommendations to the Chief of Police in matters involving employee relations.

The Office of the Chief of Staff is composed of the Board of Police Commissioners Liaison, the Public Communications Group, the Media Relations Division, and the Employee Relations Group.[4]

Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy

The Director of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy, currently Police Administrator III Lizabeth Rhodes, also reports directly to the Office of the Chief. Born out of the Department of Justice's federal consent decree, the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy is responsible for the development of LAPDs policies and procedures, internal auditing and compliance programs, litigation involving the LAPD, the formation and implementation of the LAPDs long-term strategic plan and risk management strategies, as well as coordinating all local, state, and federal governmental and legislative affairs.[19]

The office is divided into the Audit Division, Governmental Liaison Section, OMBUDS Section, and the Risk Management & Legal Affairs Group. The Risk Management & Legal Affairs Group is further divided into the Risk Management and Policies Division, the Legal Affairs Division, and the Strategic Planning Section.[4]

Professional Standards Bureau

The Professional Standards Bureau is the investigative arm of the Chief to identify and report corruption and employee behavior that discredits the LAPD or violates a department policy, procedure, or practice. The Professional Standards Bureau is divided into the Internal Affairs Group, the Special Operations Division, and the Force Investigation Group.[4]

Information Technology Group

The Information Technology Group is responsible for providing Information Technology services to the department.[20][4]

The Information Technology Group is composed of the following subordinate units:

  • Information Technology Division
  • Application Development & Support Division
  • Emergency Command Control Communications System (ECCCS) Division
  • Innovation Management Division

Office of Operations

The majority of the LAPD's approximately 10,000[2] officers are assigned within the Office of Operations, whose primary office is located in the new Police Administration Building.[21] Headed by an Assistant Chief, currently Assistant Chief Robert Arcos,[22] and the Assistant to the Director, who is a Commander, the office comprises four bureaus and 21 police stations, known officially as "areas" but also commonly referred to as "divisions". The Office of Operations also has a dedicated Homeless Coordinator reporting directly to the Assistant Chief. The Community Engagement Group also reports to the Assistant Chief.[4]

The 21 police stations or "divisions" are grouped geographically into four command areas, each known as a "bureau".[23] The latest areas, "Olympic" and "Topanga", were added on January 4, 2009.[24]

Structure chart

Central Bureau South Bureau Valley Bureau West Bureau
Central Area (1) 77th Street Area (12) Devonshire Area (17) Hollywood Area (6)
Hollenbeck Area (4) Harbor Area (5) Foothill Area (16) Olympic Area (20)
Newton Area (13) Southeast Area (18) Mission Area (19) Pacific Area (14)
Northeast Area (11) Southwest Area (3) North Hollywood Area (15) West Los Angeles Area (8)
Rampart Area (2) Van Nuys Area (9) Wilshire Area (7)
West Valley Area (10)
Topanga Area (21)

Operations--Central Bureau

The Central Bureau is responsible for downtown Los Angeles and Eastern Los Angeles,[25] and is the most densely populated of the four patrol bureaus.[25] It currently consists of five patrol divisions.[26][4]

The Rampart Division police station
Division number Division name Areas served Address
1 Central Area Downtown, Chinatown, Fashion District, Financial District, Skid Row.[27] 251 E 6th St
2 Rampart Area Echo Park, Pico-Union, Westlake[28] 1401 W 6th St
4 Hollenbeck Area Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno.[29] 2111 E 1st St
11 Northeast Area Elysian Park, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, E. Hollywood, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Atwater Village, Glassell Park.[30] 3353 N San Fernando Rd
13 Newton Area South Central, portions of Downtown and the Fashion District.[31] 3400 S Central Ave

Operations--South Bureau

South Bureau oversees South Los Angeles with the exception of Inglewood[32] 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).[33] The South Bureau currently consists of four patrol divisions, and the South Bureau Homicide Division.[34][4]

77th Street Division

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 regions Hyde Park and Chesterfield Square. 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 (Broadway between 76th and 77th). The division also has a Junior Cadets program separate from the cadet program. The Junior Cadets' age range is between 9 and 13; after age 13 they can join the Cadets. The Junior Cadets program is exclusive to the 77th street division.[35]

Harbor Division

Harbor Area (#5) serves San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, and the Harbor Gateway annex south of Artesia Boulevard. This division often works with the Port of Los Angeles Police.[36] 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.[37]

Southeast Division

Southeast Area (#18), like the 77th Street Division, patrols a part of South Los Angeles.[38] Their area extends to the city limits north of Artesia Boulevard, and includes Watts and areas south of Manchester Avenue.[39]

Southwest Division

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 Culver City. Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park are served by this station.[40] This section also includes the University of Southern California and Exposition Park. The Southwest Division police station is located at 1546 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, between Western and Normandie Avenues.[41]

Operations--Valley Bureau

The Valley Bureau is the largest of the four patrol bureaus in terms of size (about 221 square miles),[42] and oversees operations within the San Fernando Valley.[42] It currently consists of seven patrol divisions.[43][4]

An LAPD Ford Explorer, 2014
Mission Division

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.[44]

Devonshire Division

The Devonshire Area (#17) is responsible for the northwestern parts of the San Fernando Valley, including parts of Chatsworth and Northridge.[45]

Foothill Division

The Foothill Area (#16) patrols parts of the San Fernando Valley (including Sun Valley) and the Crescenta Valley (including Sunland-Tujunga).[46]

North Hollywood Division

The North Hollywood Area (#15) is responsible for Studio City, Valley Village and the North Hollywood Region.[47]

Van Nuys Division

The Van Nuys Area (#9) serves the areas of Van Nuys, Sepulveda and Sherman Oaks.[48]

West Valley Division

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.[49]

Topanga Division

The Topanga (#21) community police station began operations in January 2009.[24] 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.[50]

Operations--West Bureau

The West Valley Division police station

The West Bureaus operations cover most of the well-known areas of Los Angeles, including Hollywood, Westwood, the Hollywood Hills area, the UCLA campus and Venice.[51] This does not include Beverly Hills[52] and Santa Monica,[53] which are separate cities from Los Angeles and maintain their own law enforcement agencies. The West Bureau currently consists of five patrol divisions.[54][4]

Hollywood Division

The Hollywood Area (#6) community police station serves the Hollywood region, including the Hollywood Hills, Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip.[55]

Wilshire Division

The Wilshire Area (#7) community police station serves the Mid-Wilshire "Miracle Mile" region, including Koreatown, Mid-City, Carthay, and the Fairfax District.[56]

Pacific Division

The Pacific Area (#14) community police station serves the southern portion of West Los Angeles, including Venice, Venice Beach 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.[57] Pacific Division was formerly known as "Venice Division".

West Los Angeles Division

The West Los Angeles Area (#8) community police station serves the northern portion of the West Side.[58] Communities within its service area include Pacific Palisades, Century City, Brentwood, Westwood, West Los Angeles and Cheviot Hills. UCLA, which also has its own police department, and Twentieth Century Fox are both located there.[59]

Olympic Division
The LAPD Olympic Division Station

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.[24][60] 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.[60] 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 an office that was created in 2010 by then-Chief Charlie Beck. Headed by an Assistant Chief, currently Assistant Chief Horace Frank,[61] the office comprises the Detective Bureau, the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, and the Transit Services Bureau.[4]

Detective Bureau

The Detective Bureau consists of several divisions and sections responsible for investigating a variety of crimes.[20][4]

Badge of an LAPD detective

The Detective Bureau also houses the COMPSTAT (Computer Statistics) Division 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.[62] He implemented the LAPD version on becoming Chief of Police in 2002.[63][4]

Structure of the Detective Bureau
  • Detective Services Group
    • Robbery-Homicide Division (RHD)
      • Homicide Special Section (HSS)
      • Robbery Special Section (RSS)
      • Special Assault Section (SAS)
      • Cold Case Special Section (CCSS)
      • Special Investigation Section (SIS)
    • Juvenile Division
    • Gang and Narcotics Division
    • Commercial Crimes Division
    • Detective Support and Vice Division
    • Forensic Science Division (FSD)[4]
    • Technical Investigation Division (TID)[4]
  • COMPSTAT Division

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.[64]

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.

LAPD SWAT officers breaching a room
LAPD SWAT insignia
Structure of the Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau
  • Special Operations Group
    • Metropolitan Division
      • A, B, C, and G Platoons: Crime Suppression
      • D Platoon: Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
      • E Platoon: Mounted Unit
      • H Platoon: Municipal Executives Protection Detail
      • K-9 Platoon: Canine Unit
      • M Platoon: Administrative and Operations Planning
    • Air Support Division
    • Security Services Division
  • Counter-Terrorism Group
    • Major Crimes Division
    • Emergency Services Division

Transit Services Bureau

The Transit Services Bureau supervises the Transit Services Group, responsible for providing security and law enforcement to all of the bus and rail lines within the city of Los Angeles, and the Traffic Group, responsible for overseeing the four Geographical Traffic Divisions which handles traffic-related duties such as accident investigation and the issuing of citations/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 driver's licenses.[4]

Office of Support Services

The Office of Support Services, oversees the department's communications services and matters related to personnel and training, LAPD facilities, vehicles, and fiscal operations.

The Office of Support Services is headed by an Assistant Chief, currently Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala,[65] the office is divided into the Critical Incident Review Division, Behavioral Science Services, Fiscal Operations Division, Administrative Services Bureau, and the Personnel and Training Bureau.[4]

Administrative Services Bureau

  • Support Services Group
    • Communications Division
    • Custody Services Division
    • Motor Transport Division
  • Records and Identification Division
  • Property Division
  • Facilities Management Division

The Communications Division also houses the Department Operations Center (DOC), formerly known as RACR or Real-Time Analysis & Critical Response Division which began operations in March 2006. The RACR/DOC 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.[66]

Personnel and Training Bureau

  • Training Group
    • Training Division
    • In-Service Training Division
  • Police Training & Education Director
  • Personnel Group
    • Personnel Division
    • Recruitment and Employment Division
    • Employee Assistance Unit
  • Officer Representation Section

Headquarters Building

LAPD Headquarters Building, opened in 2009.

Prior to 2009, LAPD headquarters was located at Parker Center, named after former chief William H. Parker, which still stands at 150 N. Los Angeles St. in the Downtown Los Angeles Civic Center district.

A new headquarters replaced it in October 2009 and is located 300 yards (270 m) west in the purpose-built LAPD Headquarters Building at 100 W. 1st St., also in the Civic Center, occupying the entire block between Main, Spring, 1st and 2nd streets, immediately south of the Los Angeles City Hall. Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) were the architects.

The total cost of the new building complex including the data center, the Main Street Parking Structure, and the Aiso Public Parking Garage was $437 million. The main building is a 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2) across 10 floors, a café ("LA Reflections"), underground parking as well as a parking structure, racks for 50 bicycles, and a 400-seat civic auditorium. It is LEED-certified, uses energy-efficient mechanical systems, day-lighting, high-performance glass, and recycled or renewable building materials. The perimeter is lined with green space. The complex provides space for about 2,300 workers, which let the department consolidate functions here which had been spread out across multiple locations.[67]

Rank structure and insignia

Senior ranks Insignia Notes[68][69]
Chief of Police
US-O10 insignia.svg
Appointment made by the Mayor of Los Angeles, with majority approval of the Police Commission. Should have a college degree and at least 12 years of progressively responsible law enforcement experience.
Police Assistant Chief
US-O9 insignia.svg
Commanding Officer of an office or Bureau
Police Deputy Chief (commanding officer of a bureau)
US-O8 insignia.svg
Police Commander (assistant commanding officer of a bureau)
US-O7 insignia.svg
Eligibility for rank promotion achieved after completion of required probationary periods.
Police Captain III
Police Captain II
Police Captain I
US-O3 insignia.svg
Police Lieutenant II
Police Lieutenant I
US-O2 insignia.svg
Insignia are worn as metal pins on the collars of a shirt and as shoulder marks on a jacket.
Police officers Insignia Detectives Insignia Notes[68]
Police Sergeant II
LAPD Sergeant-2.jpg
Detective III
LAPD Detective-3.jpg
At least two years service as Sergeant or Detective before eligibility for promotion to Lieutenant I.
Police Sergeant I
LAPD Sergeant-1.jpg
Police Detective II
LAPD Detective-2.jpg
Promotion based on panel interview/departmental assessment.
Police Detective I
LAPD Detective-1.jpg
Police Officer III ?
LAPD Police Officer-3.jpg
At least four years service as a Police Officer before becoming eligible for promotion to Sergeant I or Detective I (which requires an additional examination and interview).
Police Officer II No insignia At least three years service as a Police Officer before eligibility for promotion to Police Officer III
Police Officer I Automatic promotion to Police Officer II upon satisfactory completion of an 18-month probationary assignment (6 months at the academy plus a 12-month field assessment).
Insignia are worn as embroidered chevrons on the upper sleeves of a shirt or jacket.
? LAPD Police Officer-3+1 - Senior Lead Officer.jpg Certain Police Officers III in special or hazard pay situations (Police Officer III+1s) are denoted by a Police Officer III insignia and star. These roles can include traffic follow-up investigators, canine training officers, SWAT platoon element leaders, and Senior Lead Officers who coordinate geographical areas.[70]
  • Specialized unit insignia are worn at the top of the sleeve beneath the shoulder for officers assigned to the traffic divisions, and Air Support Division. Officers assigned to area patrol divisions have historically not worn any departmental shoulder patch on their uniforms.
  • Service stripes are worn above the left cuff on a long-sleeved shirt. Each silver stripe represents five years of service in the LAPD.

Supervisory terminology

The following names are used to describe supervision levels within the LAPD:[71]

Position Description
Staff Officer Any rank above captain.
Commanding Officer Any officer in charge of a bureau, a group, a geographical area, or a division.
Director An officer commanding an Office of the LAPD.
Incident Commander Any officer who takes command at an emergency situation or who is in command at a planned special event.
Watch Commander An officer in charge of a specific watch within a division or geographical area.
Supervisor An officer engaged in field supervision or in general supervision of a section or unit.
Officer in Charge ? An officer in charge of a section, incident or unit.

? 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.[71]:125

Chiefs of Police

Since 1876, there have been 57 appointed chiefs of the Los Angeles Police Department. William Parker was the longest serving police chief in Los Angeles Police Department history, serving for 16 years as the chief of the LAPD.[72]



LAPD officers during an Occupy LA protest

In 2005, the Los Angeles Police Department stated it had suffered from chronic underfunding and under-staffing in recent years.[73] Compared to most other major cities in the United States, and though it is the third largest police department in the country, Los Angeles has historically had one of the lowest ratios of police personnel to population served.[73] Former police chief William Bratton made enlarging the department 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").[74]

In 2005, Los Angeles had one police officer for every 426 residents.[73] As a point of comparison, New York City had one police officer for every 228 residents at that time.[73] For Los Angeles to have had the same ratio of officers to residents as New York City, the LAPD would have needed to have nearly 17,000 officers in 2005. Further points of comparison include Chicago, which had a ratio of one officer per 216 citizens and Philadelphia, whose officer per citizen ratio was 1 to 219.[73]

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."[75] 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.[75][76] According to the LAPD, the unit has recovered over $121 million in stolen works since 1993.[75][76]

The Art Theft Detail is part of the Burglary Special Section of the Detective Bureau of the LAPD.[77]


The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is the labor union for LAPD officers up to the rank of lieutenant.[78]

Cadet program

The LAPD has its 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.[79][80] In order to join the cadet program a person must be between the ages of 13 and 17, meet certain academic requirements, have no serious criminal record, meet several other requirements, and complete the cadet academy.[81]

An LAPD cadet conducting a handcuffing drill

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.[82] The cadets complete courses not only on law enforcement but also on citizenship, leadership, financial literacy and other different skill sets.[82] Cadets work different positions including ride alongs, crowd control, charity assistance, working in stations, and other tasks.[82] 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.[82]


Up to the Gates administration, the LAPD was predominantly white (80% in 1980), and many officers had resided outside the city limits.[83]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.[83] A 1994 ACLU study of officers' home zip codes, concluded that over 80% of police officers resided outside the city limits.[83]

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.[84] On the LAPD through the early 1970s, women were classified as "policewomen".[85]

Through the 1950s, their duties generally consisted as working as matrons in the jail system, or dealing with troubled youths working in detective assignments.[85] Rarely did they work any type of field assignment and they were not allowed to promote above the rank of sergeant.[85]

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.[85] The department eliminated the rank of "Policeman" from new hires at that time along with the rank of "Policewoman".[85] Anyone already in those positions was grandfathered in, but new hires were classified instead as "Police Officers", which continues to this day.[85] 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.[5] The LAPD was one of the first two police departments in the country to hire an African-American woman officer, Georgia Ann Robinson in 1919.[86][87] 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[88] 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.[89]

As of 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department had 10,008 officers sworn in. Of these, 81% (8,158) were male and 19% (1,850) female. The racial/ethnic breakdown:[90]


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.[91] 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.[91] The issue of a lack of multilingual officers led to reforms including bonuses and salary increases for officers who are certified in second languages.[91] Currently, over a third of LAPD officers are certified in speaking one or more languages other than English.[92] 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.[92]

Work environment and pay

LAPD officers during a march in 2011

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).[93]

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.[94][95] Sign on bonuses were paid 1/2 after graduation from the academy, and 1/2 after completion of probation.[95] Also, $2,000 could be added for sign ons from outside the Los Angeles area for housing arrangements.[95] 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.[96]

In January 2010, the starting base salary for incoming police officers was lowered by 20%. At the time If the applicant had graduated from 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.[97] 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.[97] 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.[97]

Body cameras

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.[98] 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.[99][100] 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.[101][102] 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.[103] 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.[needs update][104] 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.[104] $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.[104] 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.[needs update][105] 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.[105] While the commission has not created a policy yet as of December 2014,[needs update] 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 and that many public interactions such as domestic violence interviews would not be recorded.[105] Prior to the rollout of any body worn cameras, officers have been able to carry personally owned audio recording devices since 1994 if they file an application and obtain the requisite permission.[106]



An LAPD Bell 206 Jetranger

The LAPD Air Support Division's resources consist of 19 helicopters ranging from 5 Bell 206 Jet Rangers to 14 Eurocopter AS350-B2's, and also has 1 Beechcraft King Air 200.[107]

Main airship missions are flown out of downtown's Piper Tech center at the Hooper Heliport, located outside of Union Station. The LAPD also houses air units at Van Nuys Airport.


Before the early 1970s, LAPD officers were issued the six-shot double action/single action Smith & Wesson Model 14 .38 Special revolver along with the Smith & Wesson Model 10.[108] From the early 1970s to 1988, officers were armed with the six-shot, double action/single action Smith & Wesson Model 15 revolver, also known as the .38 "Combat Masterpiece".[108] This was specifically designed at the request of the Los Angeles Police Department. It was a Smith & Wesson Model 10 variant with non-snag, high-profile adjustable sights.

LAPD Model 15s were often modified by an armorer to fire double-action only, meaning officers could not cock the hammer. This was to prevent accidental discharges caused by the short, light single-action trigger pull that some officers used. Many officers and detectives also carried the Smith & Wesson Model 36 "Chief's Special" as a backup revolver, and often off-duty.

In the patrol cars, locked to a steel bar, was an Ithaca 37, 12-gauge shotgun, loaded with "00" (double-aught) buckshot, nine pellets to the cartridge with one round in the chamber and four in the magazine tube. The shotgun was made specifically for the Los Angeles Police Department, and was called the "L.A.P.D. Special". The shotgun was based on the Ithaca 37 "Deerslayer", which was a weapon designed to hunt large game with rifled slugs. As a consequence of being designed for use with slugs, it had rifle sights, unlike most shotguns.

The "L.A.P.D. Special" had a dull parkerized military finish instead of the more usual high gloss blue finish. The barrel was 18 and a half inches long, as opposed to the twenty inches of the civilian version. The advantages of the Ithaca Model 37 Shotgun over the Winchester, Mossberg and Remington models were that the Ithaca weighed a pound less, and could be used with equal ease by right or left-handed shooters due to the unique bottom ejection port and loading chamber it used. The Ithaca 37 has been replaced as the standard-issue shotgun used by the LAPD, by the Remington 870 Police model.

An LAPD policeman armed with an AR-15 in 2011

In response to increasing firepower carried by criminals, including fully automatic weapons and assault rifles, LAPD patrol officers were issued the Beretta 92F.[108] Later,[when?] officers were able to carry the Smith & Wesson Model 5906, a semi-automatic 9mm pistol, in addition to a few other approved weapons in 9mm caliber.[108]

In response to the North Hollywood shootout of 1997, LAPD officers had the option of carrying the Smith & Wesson Model 4506 and 4566 service pistols in .45 ACP caliber.[108] Also, due to the North Hollywood incident, qualified officers were issued patrol rifles called UPR (Urban Police Rifle) consisting mainly of AR-15 variants chambered in .223 after being certified from LAPD Urban Police Rifle School.

Until 2002, LAPD officers' standard issue pistol was the Beretta 92F/92FS. However, when William Bratton was appointed Chief of the LAPD, he allowed his officers to carry the Glock pistol, a weapon which the two previous departments he was chief at (the New York City Police Department and the Boston Police Department) carried. New officers graduating from the LAPD academy are now issued the Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm, and have the option of switching to Glock variants.[109][failed verification]

Officers now have the choice of carrying:


9mm: S92F, 92FS, 8045 (4" barrel)

Smith & Wesson:[110]

9mm: M&P9, 5906, 3914, 3913, CS9, 6904, 6906
.45 ACP: 4506, 4566, 4516, 4567
.380 ACP: Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380


9mm: Model 17, Model 19, Model 26
.40 caliber: Model 22, Model 23, Model 27
.45 ACP: Model 21, Model 30, Model 36

Along with those handguns, officers have the option of using these rifles while on duty:


5.56/.223: Colt Tactical Carbine

Smith & Wesson[110]

5.56/.223: Smith & Wesson M&P15

The LAPD SWAT team carry the Kimber Custom TLE II in 2002, renaming it the Kimber LAPD SWAT Custom II.[111] Before that, LAPD SWAT carried modified Springfield or Colt M1911 pistols. In the '80s and early '90s SWAT carried Colt RO727s and RO733s. In 2000 they began using the M4A1s. In 2010 LAPD SWAT began issuing Heckler & Koch HK416 rifles.[110] Currently SWAT's primary weapons are the Heckler & Koch HK416 rifle, the M4 Carbine, the FN SCAR rifle, the Colt 9mm submachine gun, the HK MP5 submachine gun, the Armalite AR-10 sniper rifle, the Remington 700 sniper rifle, the Barrett M82 sniper rifle, the M14 sniper rifle, the Benelli M4 Super 90 shotgun, and the Remington 870 shotgun.[110]

The LAPD recently[when?] announced that they will be incorporating a new shotgun, the Benelli M4 Super 90, and officers will go through additional training for the use of the semi-automatic shotgun and will have to privately purchase the gun if they elect to switch from the standard pump-action Remington 870. The LAPD also has 37mm launchers and modified "beanbag" firing Remington 870s for crowd control when less than lethal force is needed.[110]

Awards, commendations, citations and medals

The department presents a number of medals to its members for meritorious service.[112] The medals that the LAPD awards to its officers are as follows:


Los Angeles Police Department Medal of Valor ribbon.svg

The LAPD 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 heroism performed in the line of duty at extreme and life-threatening personal risk.[112][113]

  • Liberty Award:
Liberty Award.jpg

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.[112]

  • Police Medal for Heroism:

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.[112]

  • Police Star:

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.[112]

  • Police Life-Saving Medal:

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.[112]


  • Police Distinguished Service Medal[112]
Los Angeles Police Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
  • Police Meritorious Service Medal[112]
  • Police Meritorious Achievement Medal[112]
  • Police Commission Distinguished Service Medal[112]
  • Community Policing Medal[112]
  • Human Relations Medal[112]

Unit citations

  • Police Commission Unit Citation[112]
  • Police Meritorious Unit Citation[112]


  • 1984 Summer Olympics Ribbon:

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1984 Summer Olympics from July 28 to August 12, 1984.[112][114]

  • 1987 Papal Visit Ribbon:

Given to LAPD officers who were used during the September 1987 pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II.[112][115]

  • 1992 Civil Disturbance Ribbon:

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1992 Los Angeles riots from April 29 to May 4, 1992.[112][116]

  • 1994 Earthquake Ribbon:

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1994 Northridge earthquake from January 17 to 18, 1994.[112][117]

  • 2000 Democratic National Convention Ribbon:

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 2000 Democratic National Convention from August 14 to 17, 2000.[118]

  • Reserve Service Ribbon:
Reserve service ribbon.jpg

Awarded for 4,000 hours of service as a Reserve Police officer.

Marksmanship badges

LAPD's marksmanship badges

The LAPD also awards Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Distinguished Expert Marksmanship 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.

Fallen officers

Randal Simmons, the first LAPD SWAT officer to be killed in the line of duty, on February 7, 2008

Since the establishment of the Los Angeles Police Department, 210 officers have died in the line of duty.[119] Randal Simmons was the first LAPD SWAT officer to be killed in the line of duty in 2008.[120] There have been two memorials to fallen LAPD officers. One was outside Parker Center, the former headquarters, which was unveiled on October 1, 1971.[121] 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.[121] 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, 207 of which are inscribed with the names of fallen police officers.[122] Two deaths are unsolved,[123] both of off-duty officers: Fred Early, shot in 1972,[124] and Michael Lee Edwards, shot in May 1974.[125]

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:

Before 1950

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 Chief Parker resulted in eight police officers being indicted for the assaults, 54 being transferred, and 39 suspended.[126]


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.[127]


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.[128][129] This policing alienated the department from minority residents and gained the department a reputation of abuse of power and bias against minority residents.[128][129]


Early in his tenure as Chief of Police, Daryl Gates re-instituted the use of the chokehold (placing an arm or flashlight over someone's throat) in order to subdue suspects. In 1982, this technique was used and led 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.[130] An investigation into the use of the chokehold found that sixteen people had died after being restrained by police chokeholds.[131]

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 homicide, she was not considered so by the police. In 2012, DNA evidence led to her arrest and conviction.[132]

In 1986, the department purchased a 14-ton armored breaching vehicle, used to smash quickly through the walls of houses of suspects.[133] The ACLU questioned the constitutionality of the vehicle.[134] Ultimately, the California Appellate Court ruled that the vehicle was unconstitutional, violating lawful search and seizure.[134]

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.[135] 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.[135]

On August 1, 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 to comply were beaten again. Nobody was charged with a crime. The city paid four million dollars to settle the matter.[136][137]

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.[138]


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.[139] Fewer than a third of the suggested reforms were then put into place.[140]

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.[141] Daniels' family received a $1.2 million settlement after filing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles.[142]

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.[143]

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.[144]

In an effort to reduce drive-by shootings, LAPD initiated Operation Cul-de-Sac in 1991. This consisted of installing barriers on residential streets to block vehicle traffic. As a result, homicides and assaults were greatly reduced. The program ended after two years, with violent crime rates returning to their previous levels.[145]

Rampart scandal and consent decree

On October 12, 1996, LAPD Officers Rafael Pérez and Nino Durden entered the apartment of Javier Ovando. They shot Ovando in the back, paralyzing him from the waist down. They then planted a gun on the unarmed Ovando 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 was paid $15 million for his injuries and imprisonment. The officers' actions led to the exposure of the Rampart Scandal.[146] 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.[146]

Consent decree

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.[147] 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.[148] 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.[148]

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 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.[148]

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.[148][149]


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.[150] After police arrived, Pena threatened to kill her and himself after firing at others earlier. SWAT officers were called in.[150] 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.[150] 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.[150] 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.[151]

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. After warnings by the LAPD, the protesters failed to disperse and the rally was declared an unlawful assembly.[152] The LAPD only announced the declaration of the unlawful assembly in English leading to confusion by some in the crowd who only spoke Spanish.[152] 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.[153] 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.[153] Police were heavily criticized for firing rubber bullets at some journalists and hitting some with batons who did not disperse along with the crowds.[153] Seventeen officers and two sergeants of the metropolitan division were recommended for punishment by a department internal review for their actions in the incident.[154]

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 eight years.[155]


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 that Thomas was also bipolar.[156] Later on LAPD officer Mary O'Callaghan was charged with assault over her actions in the case.[157] 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.[158]

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.[159]

On August 21, 2012, Michelle Jordan, a registered nurse, was pulled over for holding her cell phone while driving. She was thrown to the ground twice in the course of being arrested after getting out of the car and refusing to comply with an officer's command to get back in the vehicle.[159]

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.[160] 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.[161] 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.[162] The city of Torrance agreed to pay the victim of the second incident $1.8 million.[163]

In May 2014 after much controversy in their own city, the Seattle Police Department transferred two Draganflyer X6 UAVs to the LAPD.[164] 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.[165][166] 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.[167]

On August 11, 2014, an African-American man named 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 claimed 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 claimed to have seen the incident alleged that there was no struggle.[168] The autopsy report was ordered to be released by Mayor Eric Garcetti before the end of 2014.[169]

On September 11, 2014, African-American actress Danièle Watts was temporarily detained by the LAPD when she and her boyfriend were in Studio City.[170] 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.[170] 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.[171] 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.[171] It also showed that when officers arrived on the 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.[171] 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.[172] The two officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the department shortly after the release of the audio recordings.[173]

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".[174] 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.[175] 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.[176]


In June 2020, following a campaign by a coalition of community groups including Black Lives Matter, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced LAPD budget cuts of $150 million.[177] Garcetti announced the funds would be redirected to community initiatives.[178] Senator, former California Attorney General and vice precident-elect Kamala Harris supported Garcetti's decision to cut the LAPD's budget.[179]

See also


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  7. ^ Calling All Cars : Old Time Radio : Internet Archive
  8. ^ "Calling All Cars .. episodic log". otrsite.com.
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  13. ^ Hayde, Michael J. (2001). My Name's Friday: The Unauthorized but True Story of Dragnet and the Films of Jack Webb. Cumberland House. p. 192. ISBN 1-58182-190-5. [B]ecame, after J. Edgar Hoover, the most well known and respected law enforcement official in the nation
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Further reading

  • Appier, Janis. Policing women: The sexual politics of law enforcement and the LAPD (Temple UP, 1998).
  • Bultema, James A. Guardians of Angels: A History of the Los Angeles Police Department Anniversary Edition, 1869-2019 (2019) excerpt from 2013 edition
  • Cannon, Lou. Official negligence: How Rodney King and the riots changed Los Angeles and the LAPD (Westview Press, 1999).
  • Domanick, Joe. To protect and to serve: the LAPD's century of war in the city of dreams (Pocket, 1995).
  • Domanick, Joe. Blue: the LAPD and the battle to redeem American policing (Simon and Schuster, 2016). excerpt
  • Felker-Kantor, Max. Policing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD (U of North Carolina Press, 2018) online review
  • Gates, Daryl F., and Diane K. Shah. Chief: My life in the LAPD (Bantam, 1993).
  • Jenks, David A., J. Scott Carter, and Catherine A. Jenks. "Command Staff Leadership Training and Job Commitment in the LAPD." Southwest Journal of Criminal Justice 4.2 (2007). online
  • Lasley, James R., and Michael K. Hooper. "On racism and the LAPD: was the Christopher commission wrong?." Social Science Quarterly (1998): 378-389.
  • Maya, Theodore W. "To Serve and Protect or to Betray and Neglect: The LAPD and Undocumented Immigrants." UCLA Law Review 49 (2001): 1611+.
  • Reese, Renford. Leadership in the LAPD: Walking the tightrope (Carolina Academic Press, 2005).
  • Stone, Christopher, Todd S. Foglesong, and Christine M. Cole. "Policing Los Angeles under a consent degree: The dynamics of change at the LAPD" (Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, Harvard Kennedy School, 2009) online.

External links

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