Los Angeles' greatest and most controversial chief of police". He was the longest-serving police chief at 39 years on the force. Parker originally cal
Los Angeles’ greatest and most controversial chief of police”. He was the longest-serving police chief at 39 years on the force. Parker originally california police officer bill of rights pdf to be an attorney, and studied at several colleges before enrolling in 1926 at the University of the West’s Los Angeles College of Law, an institution which operated in the 1920s and ’30s.
He joined the LAPD on August 8, 1927, and continued his legal studies. 1930 and passed the bar exam, but opted to continue with the police department instead of practicing law. After the war, Parker returned to the police department and rose through the ranks to captain, then inspector, and then one of the department’s deputy chiefs. Parker became police chief on August 9, 1950, and is credited with transforming the LAPD into a world-renowned law-enforcement agency.
The department that he took over in 1950 was notoriously corrupt. Seeing ward politics, with its heavy involvement by partisan groups in the police department and mingling of political circles with vice and corruption on the streets, led him to conclude that a differently organized police force was necessary to keep the peace. Parker’s experience with military public relations in World War II was used to develop an effective media relations strategy for the police department. Under Parker’s early term, the LAPD initiated a more professionalized force which institutionalized officers into an environment that was more answerable to administrative oversight than political representatives.
Included in this change was a standardized police academy and more proactive policing methods, practices very similar to military peacekeeping methods to which he was exposed during the war. According to a documentary commissioned by the LAPD in 2009, Parker supported the city’s racist power structure, which he denied as late as the 1960s. Some critics see Parker’s policies as responsible for ongoing tensions between the LAPD and minorities. When asked by the Commission about discrimination against minorities, he replied “I think the greatest dislocated minority in America today are the police.
Another aspect of changes initiated by Parker which changed the police force from one of a walking peace-force to a more militarized mobile response force, was a reduction in the size of the police force, in relation to the population. The term “Thin Blue Line” was coined by Parker. Parker’s experience with the numerically larger force of his early career led him to judge that fewer but more professional officers would mean less corruption. Additionally, the strategy of changing the beat posture to one of mobility led to change from foot patrols to one which favored police cars. Not incidentally, this also furthered Parker’s belief that isolating his officers from the streets would reduce opportunities for corruption.