LAPD: Parker Center Cop Shop Files — Mysterious PC Numbers


Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. This anonymous fellow was captured by a bank security camera and the photo is marked PC 45080. Often in these cases, the PC number will be rendered PC 450 (80), in which the last two numbers apparently signify the year. The matter is further complicated because some of the bank robbery photos have FBI numbers (which begin 91-123456) and others have LAPD DR numbers.

(And yes, there are lots of men with hairy chests in these pictures. It was the era.)

By the way, the LAPD apparently changed its numbering system to this protocol about 1983: The first two numbers are the year. The next two are the LAPD area. The rest are the sequential numbers issued through the year. So 83 01-23456 would be an incident that occurred in 1983 (83) in LAPD’s Central Area (01) and given the number 23456

Here’s another example:


Here’s DR 76 468-163, a drawing by F. Ponce (I have dozens of sketches by Ponce, by the way), of two women, which also has a PC number PC 144 (76). There is no crime listed as 144 in the California Penal Code, so it seems more likely that this is some sort of cataloging system.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1976, 1980, LAPD, Parker Center Cop Shop Files and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to LAPD: Parker Center Cop Shop Files — Mysterious PC Numbers

  1. MAX K. HURLBUT, LAPD (Retired) says:

    Hi, LARRY,

    “Call-Box Sam” alerted me to your D.R. number posting.

    In my day (1960-85), Records & Identification Division (R. & I.) issued D.R. numbers (old “Division of Records”) as official LAPD file numbers.

    The first two numbers designate the year, followed by a dash. The next seven numbers
    indicate the area of occurrence I.D. followed by a five-digit sequential number arranged
    consecutively and issued in numerical order. (LAPD Manual, section 5/040.14).

    The “area of occurrence” is based upon “Reporting District” numbers dividing the entire city.
    [R.D. 615, for example, is the “Griffith Park” car in Hollywood Division. Hollywood is the
    sixth division formed]. Reporting Districts correspond to Census Tract numbers so as to
    coordinate crime stats with demographic info.

    Separate D.R. numbers are obtained for connecting crime, traffic, and property reports. All
    are cross-referenced on the original report. Related reports carry the DR of the initial report.
    Exceptions are: more than one stolen vehicle, vice or narcotics reports, missing persons,
    multiple traffic collisions, multiple 459s, and different victims of forgery and I.D. theft. This makes sense as, if you are the victim of a burglar hitting every house on your block in a night, you will need your separate report with its losses not mixed up with your neighbor’s circumstances.

    R. & I. now has ADRIS (Automated D.R. Issuance System) issuing D.R. numbers to officers
    writing reports. D.R.s are also distributed, in blocks of numbers, to Area record units for manual use when ADRIS is not available. These Area D.R.s are (usually) later converted to ADRIS numbers.

    D.R.s are also issued in lieu of booking numbers on immediate bail outs (no booking takes place) or in releases from custody when no booking number is required.

    Obsolete records are transferred to storage or are destroyed.

    I do not know of the P.C. numbers. I phoned the R. & I. Watch Commander (now a civilian
    “Senior Management Analysist”) who also does not know, but will research it. I left a request with SID (Scientific Investigation Division) to call me back when they open Tuesday. I’ll send another posting if I find out…..The Police Commission also issues numbers to its investigations and complaints, but this is unlikely for a bank robber. It is possibly a Photograph Catalog number of some kind, as you note. (SID will know).


    LAPD (Retired)


  2. MAX K. HURLBUT, LAPD (Retired) says:

    LARRY—The third paragraph in my posting several minutes ago may contain a confusing
    element. The Griffith Park car in Reporting District 615 would be called “6A15.” This is
    called the “Field Unit Services I.D.” The “6” is for Hollywood and “A” signifies a two-officer
    unit. The “15” comes from the Reporting District number.

    Best, MAX


  3. MAX K. HURLBUT, LAPD (Retired) says:

    SUBJECT: P. C. Numbers.

    Hi, LARRY,

    I called the Director of the L.A. Police Historical Society. They have no idea what “P.C.”
    stands for, but will try to find out.

    MARK MYNHIER, Supervisor of the LAPD Photo Unit in Scientific Investigation Division
    (SID), is an historian with an interest in such matters. They inherited most of the Public
    Affairs photo collection, which utilizes “J” numbers for individual photo I.D.s. (Unknown
    what the “J” stands for). These are publicity and other non-crime related pictures.

    Evidence and crime-related photographs were originally issued “P” (Photo) numbers.
    When they became too large, they started anew with “C” (Control) numbers. They
    now use “D” (Digital) numbers. MYNHIER does not know of the use of “P.C.” (Photo
    Control) numbers. (It is, nonetheless, an interesting connection).

    We may still not have the answer as “P” and “C” numbers were of six digits; and, “D”
    numbers contain six or seven digits. The P, C, and D numbers contain NO CONNECTION
    WITH YEARS, as do D.R. (report) numbers….

    I wonder if an individual photographer, with the initials of “P. C.” (as, for example, PETER
    COLLINS) kept his own personal photo numbers, starting with number 1 for the year.
    The last two digits, in parentheses, may be the year….MYNHIER states many informal
    procedures were in use in past years.

    “Parker Center” also comes to mind, but this makes little sense as outlying divisions had
    no major photographic abilities in earlier years. Several Parker Center organizations
    (Accident Investigation, SID, Public Affairs, Administrative Vice, specialized detective units,
    & intelligence) took photos, all using their internal numbering systems. SID, however, did
    most of the film processing.




    • lmharnisch says:

      Thanks so much for your research.

      I’m finding that the internal studio portraits of LAPD personnel were sometimes marked on the back with full names and rank, sometimes first initial and last name and rank, sometimes with the officer’s serial number and sometimes nothing, although a badge number may be visible. Sometimes the officers were posed in front of letters (somewhat like booking photos) that have their name/serial number and the date the photo was taken.

      The bulk of the LAPD personnel photos come from the 1970s, mostly the Ed Davis years. There are several pictures of Davis and Mayor Yorty, etc.

      There are also a large number of photos of police sketches, many by F.G. Ponce, a few by Ector Garcia and a few by Moffett.

      As for the mug shots/booking photos: Sometimes the BKG numbers are there, or the DR numbers, but sometimes they have been cut off for whatever reason. Some photos and drawings of John/Jane Does also have coroner’s office numbers in addition to “John Doe #12.”

      But there are many unidentified photos that I’m hoping someone will recognize.

      Sometimes photographers did indeed put their own initials on photos. All the LAPD’s Black Dahlia crime scene photos are marked “G.L.” for the photographer’s name.


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