The Los Angeles Police Department, or LAPD, is one of the largest and certainly one of the most famous police departments in the world. Its fame is largely attributed to the local motion picture and television industry which has frequently made it a subject of police and crime dramas. Where the department has much to be proud of beside what has been portrayed on film and television (for example, the LAPD introduced the first woman police officer in the nation - see below), it unfortunately also grabbed international headlines in such infamous cases as the O.J. Simpson murder investigation and the video-taped beating by officers of motorist Rodney King.
The Los Angeles Police Department handles more than 3.3 million calls for service during the year. About 1.9 million of these are 9-1-1 emergency calls.
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Source: Los Angeles Police Department
Parker Center at 150 North Los Angeles Street, served as headquarters for the LAPD since 1954. It was named for Chief William Parker. The new headquarters building, just south of City Hall with half a million square feet of space and a $437 million price tag, was dedicated on October 24, 2009.
In 1910, the nation was introduced to its first policewoman, LAPD officer Alice Stebbin Wells. Her duties included enforcing laws dealing with dancehalls, picture shows, penny arcades, and watching for “unwholesome billboard displays."
The motto, "To Protect and to Serve" is credited to LAPD Officer Joseph S. Dorobeck who submitted it in response to a 1955 contest for a motto for the police academy. The conditions were that "the motto should be one that in a few words would express some or all the ideals to which the Los Angeles police service is dedicated. It is possible that the winning motto might someday be adopted as the official motto of the Department." The academy adopted Officer Dorobeck's entry as the official motto. Through the years, it became the slogan for every officer coming through the academy. In 1963, the Los Angeles City Council directed that this motto be placed alongside the city seal on LAPD patrol cars.
Two persons who served as Chief of the LAPD in the last 20 years previously headed major East Coast police departments. Chief Willie Williams (1992-1997) had served as Police Commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department. Chief William Bratton (2002-2009) had served as Police Commissioner for the New York City and Boston Police Departments and Chief of the New York Transit Police. After his tenor at the LAPD, Bratton later returned to serve as Police Commissioner for the NYPD.
LAPD deploys more than 1,200 patrol cars ("black and whites") throughout Los Angeles.