Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Los Angeles Police Historical Society Museum

Today I visited a little known museum near where I live. If I didn't drive by it fairly frequently, I might not have even known it exists. An old (built in 1925) police station serves as a museum for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

The museum hours of 10-4 Monday-Friday and 9-3 the 3rd Saturday of the month seem to be set to make it difficult for the working public to attend. Also the $8 entry fee seems a bit steep -- most much larger museums charge less. (This museum, like most, has donation containers for those who wish to pay more.) As far as I could tell, I was the only visitor during most of the 1.5 hours I was there.

Displays include a wide variety of vehicles that have been used by LAPD over the years -- a bicycle, two motorcycles, a variety squad cars from a Model A to ones used in the 90's, a couple of paddy-wagons, a helicopter, and a couple of vehicles designed for smash entries to buildings (one based on a SUV, the other on an armored car). There was also a remote-controled armored fork lift and a couple of smaller remote control vehicles used by the bomb squad.

Jail cells, handcuffs, communications devices, weapons, uniforms, badges, awards, and various other police equipment was one display. (I'm mildly curious about the framed knife awarded to Police Chief Darrell Gates -- why a knife and why the triangular frame?) While many of the exhibits were behind glass cases, many were out in the open. In general, this museum seemed less paranoid about their exhibits being damaged than most. An unmarked door with no lock led to a janitor's closet.

Apparently, Los Angeles had the first police woman in the US. She had to get her own uniform for the first decade of her service.

The North Hollywood shootout has a small room devoted to it, but I didn't see any mention of the police getting weapons from a shop since they were so outgunned. There's also a display on the SLA case (Patty Hearst). Pictures, newspaper, and magazine articles are on the walls, some about specific cases. Noticeably absent was any mention of any of LAPD's many scandals and failures, from the 1930's to the recent past.

I think even Dr. Who would have trouble getting into an LAPD police box.