Thursday, November 6, 2014

Los Angeles Police Museum

A couple of months ago, while channel flipping, I stumbled across a show called Mysteries at the Museum. It's actually a really interesting show; I highly recommend it if you enjoy learning odd tidbits about history. It was on this show that I learned about the Los Angeles Police Museum.

Located at 6045 York Blvd. in Los Angeles, the LA Police Museum is housed in the Highland Park station, the oldest operating police station in LA. For the reasonable price of $9.00 for adults (parking is free), you can explore three floors worth of LAPD history. The tour is self-guided, complete with portable audio.

The first floor houses a lot of the older pieces of LAPD history, in addition to jail cells that you can enter and, outside, a selection of historical police vehicles.

LA's first-ever paid police officers, 1869.

LA's first four police matrons, 1913.

An old call box.

The Dawson Pantasonic Bullet Camera.

A note about the above: the audio explained that this was the precursor to modern ballistics testing. They would take pictures of bullets they were trying to identify, blow them up large, and visually compare them.

I was amused by this manual. It explains in great detail the
specifications of what batons police were allowed to use.

Felony jail cell. It was dirty and gross inside.

On the wall in the misdemeanor jail.

Misdemeanor jail cells. The audio said the bunks were
stacked three high at one point.

To me, these restraints seemed a little excessive for
misdemeanor prisoners.

On the wall in the misdemeanor jail.

Part of the handcuffs display in the misdemeanor jail.

Kawasaki Police KZ-100.

Old timey police car.

Police helicopter.

Inside the police helicopter. It was
disconcertingly unstable.

I was impressed by the length of the blades.

The bullet-ridden vehicle that belonged to the perpetrators
of the North Hollywood Shootout.

In the stairwell leading up to the second floor is an extensive picture display of female police officers. I liked the below picture because I was impressed with her strength. Afterward I realized that it looks like the gentleman in the picture is staring at her behind:

Sergeant Mary Galton, 1950.

For a long time, female police officers were required to carry a purse
as part of their uniform.

The second floor houses large displays on the evolution of police uniforms/badges; the police reserves; the Symbionese Liberation Army; the Onion Field killing; and the North Hollywood Shootout. Note: in the main room of this floor, there is an autoplay video about the North Hollywood Shootout that includes footage from the incident. Some of it is graphic.

Original male police uniform from the
late 1800s.

Note about the above: in the original uniform, police officers were required to wear their gun and handcuffs under their coat. This led to understandable problems (i.e. police officer deaths) and so the regulation was later changed.

Replica of the early female police
officer uniform.

Note about the above: when Alice Stebbins Wells, the first-ever American female police officer, was hired in 1910, she had to make her own uniform, i.e. what is pictured above.

The evolution of the police badge.

A display of firearms used by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Replica of what the North Hollywood shooters
were wearing.

The third floor houses displays on the LA Police Commission, which is in charge of the police department, and the Medal of Honor, amongst other information. I didn't take any relevant photos on that floor, which is smaller than the other two.

I felt that the audio was really helpful on the first floor. It provided a lot of extra information that couldn't be found in the displays. On the second and third floors, however, it only seemed to rehash what was on display so I stopped listening to it. Also, the layout of the whole museum was a little confusing. It didn't flow well. I criss-crossed the first floor, in particular, multiple times.

All in all, though, I really enjoyed it. It was interesting and informative and kept me entertained for two hours. If you want something a little different to do while you're in LA, you should check this out. 


Patricia said...

Well this is a great find. And now I've read about the North Hollywood Shootout and have decided to really double down on the body armor, should I decide to turn to a life of crime and become a bank robber.

balyien said...

Definitely invest in body armor for your arms and legs! People always forget they can bleed out from a leg wound. :P