LAPD Scrapbook: Gangster Squad Abolished, Los Angeles Herald-Express, Oct. 6, 1949


Oct. 6, 1949

Here’s another item from the LAPD scrapbooks at the city archives: The police chief is William A. Worton (are you paying attention, everybody who thinks William Parker was chief in 1949? especially you, Will Beall, writer of “Gangster Squad?”) and he disbands the gangster squad.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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5 Responses to LAPD Scrapbook: Gangster Squad Abolished, Los Angeles Herald-Express, Oct. 6, 1949

  1. Cal and Lulu says:

    Everybody I know certainly would remember Parker a s the Chief in 1949. So, how long was Worton in the Chiefs job? Why did he leave? and when did Parker actually start as the Chief.
    Thad Brown was around the LAPD for years, I wonder why he wasn’t promoted?


    • lmharnisch says:

      That’s a short question with a long answer. Chief Clemence Horrall and Assistant Chief Joe Reed retired in 1949 during the Brenda Allen scandal. Worton was a Marine general with no police experience who was brought in temporarily. (Toward the end of Reed’s tenure at the LAPD, he approved the radio show “Dragnet,” after listening to an audition recording and apparently not paying much attention to it.)

      While Worton was chief, there were factions in the LAPD that supported William Parker and other factions that supported Thad Brown. And indeed, Brown was appointed acting chief when Parker died. To those who “remember” Parker as chief in 1949, their memories are faulty. Parker didn’t become LAPD chief until August 1950.


  2. C.M. says:

    To add to Larry’s comments on General William Worton, he was brought in by the City Council one day after retiring from the Marine Corp . His task was to reform the LAPD which was then dealing with the scandals arising from the Brenda Allen trial and Chief Horrall’s inability to control the corruption within the department. Worton introduced the practice of rotating assignments to prevent graft and corruption and purged the department of dishonest officers. After advocating the implementation of Civilian Review Boards the Council thanked him for his service and promoted William Parker in the summer of 1950.


  3. Jon Ponder says:

    Chief Horrall retired on June 28, 1949, about a month into grand jury hearings on allegations of LAPD racketeering prompted by Mickey Cohen’s revelation that he had recordings of Brenda Allen in seemingly intimate phone conversations with Sgt. Elmer “Jack” Jackson, a member of Chief Horrall’s elite Administrative Vice squad. Mayor Fletcher Bowron appointed William Worton interim chief a few days later.

    On July 27, Horrall, Asst. Chief Joe Reed and Capt. Cecil Wisdom, head of the Personnel Division, were charged with committing perjury during their grand jury testimony. Sgt. Jackson and his boss, Lt. Rudy Wellpott, were charged with perjury and bribery — which is to say, collecting fees from Brenda Allen for protection. Over the fall of 1949, charges were dropped or the defendants were acquitted in all five cases. Sgt. Jackson was not acquitted, for example — charges against him were dropped when the only witness against him, Brenda Allen, took the Fifth. Jackson was back on the job the next day. In 1957, he received a commendation for his work in bringing the murderer of ex-silent film star Ginger Mitchell to justice.

    In the summer of 1950, interim Chief Worton announced his intention to retire. Bill Parker and Thad Brown were among the top scorers on the civil service exam, making them the leading candidates for appointment to chief. Early indications were that Brown had the votes of three of the Police Commissions’ five members and was set to be appointed — but one of his supporters, Commissioner Agnes Albro, died before the vote could be taken. During closed-door negotiations on Aug. 2, Brown’s supporters were convinced to switch sides, and in early August the four remaining commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Parker, who was sworn in on Aug. 9.


    • lmharnisch says:

      It’s been a while since I looked at that material. As I recall from reading the Police Commission minutes, Albro was in bad health for some time and participated in Police Commission meetings via telephone.


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