To Protect And To Serve
The LAPD's Century Of War In The City Of Dreams
By Joe Domanick
"In the autumn of 1990, Chief Daryl Gates stood before the graduates of the Los Angeles Police Academy. In
1949, Gates had stood on this same dirt and grass field as a graduating cadet. On this field had marched the
fabled chiefs who'd made the LAPD the dynasty it was today. Like him, they had devoted their public lives to
exemplifying the traditions of the LAPD. As the CIA had belonged to the boys from Yale, the NYPD to New York's
Irish Catholics, so, too, had the LAPD belonged to these men, who had come of age in a Los Angeles that was as much
a Hicksville, Iowa, as it ever was the shining capital of Southern California. It was perfectly understandable
that Dary Gates had no inkling that, on this day, both he and the LAPD legend had reached their high-water mark.
In the winter of 1940, Tom Bradley, too, had marched onto that police academy field; he was an outsider who never really became a part of the LAPD tradition. His skin was too black. His spirit was too independent. But it was a measure of the success of chiefs James Edgar Davis, Bill Parker, and Daryl Gates that so much of Tom Bradley's public life would nevertheless revolve around the LAPD, even though he had quit the force in disgust in 1961. It wouldn't be until the spring of 1991, at least twenty-five years too late, that Tom Bradley would find himself locked in mortal, epoch-defining combat with Daryl Gates and the ghosts who stood behind him, over a motorist named Rodney King."