Patterico's Pontifications


LAPD Training in 1955

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 8:51 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Someone sent me the link to the below video, taken at the Los Angeles Police Academy in 1955.

Thirty years later (give or take a year or two) I trained on the same P.T. field and the same firing range shown in the video. I may have worked with some of the men depicted, at the beginning of my career and the end of theirs. One thing that struck me in watching is how well they marched, something my academy class never quite mastered. But then it occurred to me that nearly all the recruits in 1955 were probably military veterans, most having served in Korea.

Much has changed since 1955, but much remains the same.

11 Responses to “LAPD Training in 1955”

  1. Wow! I am blown away, for a very personal reason: I was born about 10 miles away at 1:00 PM on the exact day this was filmed! Through the miracle of the Internet, you have opened a window in time to the very date and city of my birth… A day I could not possibly imagine witnessing in any way until a few minutes ago! THANK YOU!!!

    John Lawton (541471)

  2. Thanks, Jack.

    Brought back a load of pleasant memories from FBI NAC (New Agents Class) 80-6 (1/21/80 to 5/1/80).

    CalFed (c97720)

  3. @ John #1. Nice to see another graduate of “Big County.”

    I’m a bit older than you and my Dad was a policeman with the El Monte PD during this same era. The Sam Browne belts are obviously a mark of a by-gone era. Thanks for posting this video.

    Flashman (7d8726)

  4. I graduated from the LAPD Academy last year, and I can tell you that not much has changed, either.

    John (e6350a)

  5. This was the year before I moved to Los Angeles to attend college. The contrast between the Chicago PD and the LAPD was made very clear the first time I was stopped for some traffic violation a year later. I had a $10 bill behind my driver’s license, kept there for just such a contingency. The LAPD officer kindly informed me that I was in Los Angeles now and could get into a lot of trouble for even looking like I was thinking of bribing an officer.

    In Chicago, nothing would have been said but I would have been sent on my way $10 poorer.

    The LAPD officer sent me on with a warning, two actually.

    Mike K (d6b02c)

  6. This must have been before LA became really screwed up. Only 4 blacks and no hispanics in the class.

    Jim (844377)

  7. Beldar is posting again. Oh happy day!

    dchamil (a493f0)

  8. I wish they would bring back the Sam Browne strap for formal inspections; I always thought they looked sharp. Not too good for patrol though! I loved the quick draw drills, too. I don’t recall them doing that in my day. Otherwise, the Academy looks the same! I guess some things never do change!

    415woman (654ef8)

  9. Dated observations:
    Hair: “Neat and Trim, Jim”, a lot of buzz-cuts, and the “white sidewalls” probably mark a recent Marine;
    No sideburns;
    No mustaches.

    Very few, if any, with eye-glasses – which is in line with the vision standard then in the military.

    No eye or ear protection on the range – a lot of these guys would suffer hearing loss later in life.


    AD - RtR/OS! (17dd7c)

  10. I’d guess there were a lot of veterans, but I think “nearly all” is too high. There were about 5.3M veterans aged 20-29 in 1955 (down from 7.2M in 1950). There were about 12M men aged 20-29, so there were a lot of non-veterans, despite WW II. 4-Fs, reserved occupations, etc. And then after the war, active duty forces were cut back to about 1.5M until Korea broke out, so a lot of younger men didn’t serve. Even at the height of the Korean War, active duty peaked at only 3.6M, compared to over 12M in WW II.

    Against this: police recruits would be fit men, not ex-4-Fs, and ex-military might be more inclined to apply.

    Still, when one starts with say 50%-60% veterans, getting them all to march would be a lot easier.

    Also: of 3M+ in the service during Korea, over half were in the USN or USAF, and of the half in the Army or Marines, only about 500,000 men were on the ground in Korea, so I doubt that most had served there.

    One question: who is the guy marching in a civilian suit at 5:45? There are three more in civvy jackets in the formation at 6:40. Whoops! make that six or eight.

    Rich Rostrom (f7aeae)

  11. My dad graduated LAPD Cadet Class January 21, 1955. Would this be the same class?

    David (33de88)

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