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Badge of Honor
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Edward M. Davis

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The Los Angeles Police Department said of Chief of Police Ed Davis, “From the day Chief Davis took office until his retirement in January 1978, Ed Davis never left any doubt as to where he stood on any of several issues involving local law enforcement. Vigorous in leadership, outspoken and thoroughly competent, he relished referring to himself as "just a country boy doing my best to protect the City." The shrewd country boy was later to make his presence felt as a state senator. His many innovative programs included the Basic Car Plan under which uniformed officers were assigned to specific territories on a semi-permanent basis. Each officer had precise instruction to regard any criminal activity as a personal affront and to defend a "piece of turf" as though it was his own.

Davis expanded activities of Air Support Division, augmented computerization to include the Automatic Want and Warrant System, and greatly broadened the scope of advanced training in management and administration.

Included among his many other contributions was the emphasis he placed on Neighborhood Watch, community relations, and the implementation of the Jacobs Plan to provide Department personnel with increased advancement opportunities. The K-9 Corps was started during the Davis tenure, as were two important training projects: the Multimedia Instruction for Law Enforcement (MILE) and Development and Evaluation of Firearms Training (DEFT) programs. He created the Department’s Asian Task Force in 1975 to provide assistance to the City’s burgeoning Asian population and decentralized the Office of Operations.

Davis started the School Buy Program in 1974. Undercover officers posing as students attended selected high schools to interdict the sale and possession of narcotics. The program remains highly effective and has the full approval of the Board of Education.

Under his tenure, the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation, a support organization for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty, was implemented. Since 1972, the Foundation has provided emergency financial assistance to officers and their dependents in time of death, serious injury, illness, or other catastrophic circumstance. It also assures the advanced education of children of officers killed in the line of duty. Benefits were expanded over the years to include reserve officers, retired sworn personnel, and career civilian employees. The Foundation is funded entirely by private contributions and its only fundraiser, the Annual Police-Celebrity Golf Tournament. The Tournament has become the Department’s most successful community relations program, attracting thousands of spectators and scores of top personalities from the entertainment world. As of March 1998, the Foundation has distributed more than $6 million in grants.

Chief Davis inaugurated the Management Principles to which the Department continues to respond. These twenty principles stress the importance of public participation in crime prevention, of friendly enforcement and the police-community partnership. He was also tireless in the pursuit of narcotic traffickers and street gangs and took steps to handle the increasing number of undocumented aliens. Chief Davis retired on January 1, 1978. Assistant Chief Robert F. Rock replaced him until the appointment of Daryl F. Gates on March 28 of the same year.”

Staff One: A Perspective on Effective Police Management
Edward M. Davis  More Info

Edward M. Davis was the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1969 through 1978.  Later, he was a California State Senator from 1981 to 1993.  He also made an unsuccessful bid as the Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1986.

Ed Davis pursued innovative approaches to crime. He balanced his tough law-and-order rhetoric with a boots-on-the-ground policing strategy that assigned police officers to specific neighborhoods in an effort to build personal ties with residents. His philosophy was incorporated in a program he called the "Basic Car Plan,” which divided Los Angeles into small geographical areas and assigned officers to meet with community representatives. Davis, who assigned almost 900 officers to the program, believed that police would be more effective if their duties were tailored to each locality.  The officers were instructed to find out which crime problems concerned residents the most and then devise crime-fighting plans.

He also created the Neighborhood Watch program which encouraged police officers to spend time in the homes of local city residents, listen to their concerns and then set up effective crime fighting initiatives. Moreover, Ed Davis developed the idea of team policing wherein interdisciplinary groups of police officers were assigned as a unit to small, specific, geographic area.  These interdisciplinary groups consisted of uniformed police officer, detectives and traffic enforcement officers working together on specific neighborhood crime problems.

Ed Davis’ programs were highly innovative for their time. Significantly, in the 9 years that Edward M. Davis served as police chief from, 1969 to 1978, crime rates actually dipped slightly by 1% in Los Angeles while rising nationwide by 55%.  Furthermore, while subsequent Los Angeles Police Department police chiefs would dismantle or significantly reduce the programs, by the beginning of the 21st Century, more than two decades after his tenure as chief, the programs would either return wholesale, or new policing tactics would involve significant portions of Davis’ ideas.  

In 1978, Senator Edward M. Davis authored Staff One: A Perspective on Effective Police Management. The term “Staff One” is the LAPD radio call sign for the Chief of Police.

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