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L.A. motorcycle police inspected

L.A. motorcycle police inspected

Circa 1925: Los Angeles motorcycle police stand at attention for inspection by Chief R. Lee Heath.

The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 2, 1924, on one of Chief Heath’s inspections:

Semiannual inspection of the police department was begun yesterday and will be concluded  tomorrow. Yesterday also marked the change of uniforms of the police from olive drab to the more formal blue.

The first division to be inspected by Chief of Police Heath, Assistant Chiefs Murray and Jackson and the captains of the divisions was the traffic department. Motorcycle officers and mounted officers formed in line on Olive street between First and Second streets and submitted to a careful inspection of their uniforms, pistols, motorcycles and horses…

This is the first thorough inspection of the entire department by Chief Heath since he assumed office. Chief Heath announced that there are approximately 2000 men in the department, each of which will be inspected.

The above photo was not published in the Los Angeles Times with this story or a similar inspection story on Nov. 3, 1925. The only information with the negative at the L.A. Times Photographic Archive at UCLA states, “Police Inspection by Chief Heath.”

The “circa 1925” date is close, as R. Lee Heath served as chief only from Aug. 1, 1924, to March 31, 1926. But during his tenure, he is credited with setting up the department’s chemical lab and photo lab.

Heath also helped arrange a Sept. 9, 1925, demonstration of a radio-equipped airplane following an automobile and directing patrol officers. The Los Angeles Times headline on the article on Sept. 10, 1925, was “Radio Aids Police Chase.”

This image was published as a historical photo in the Oct. 24, 1954, Los Angeles Times.

Unpublished photo of Los Angeles Police Chief R. Lee Heath, taken about 1925. Credit: George Watson/Los Angeles Times


  1. July 17, 2012, 7:08 am

    It is fascinating to see these pictures that you post dating back to the early 20th century. Los Angeles has changed in a dramatic way in less than 100 years. Take this photo taken on Olive St. between 1st and 2nd. Look at those classic and beautiful homes in the background and the trees that lined the street. It must truly have been a grand neighborhood. In that section of downtown there is now an ugly parking structure and an even uglier vacant lot across the street.

  2. July 17, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Why was this "Profileing" done right out in public view? Should have taken place at the acadamy. I am the grandson of Police Chief Bill Humphreys of Wenatchee Washington, and he never would have put this bonding practice on display out in public. Funny. Hollywood , Hollywood all the way. Blessings, John T Humphreys

  3. July 17, 2012, 2:07 pm

    What's this "circa 1925" nonsense? The Times newscopy you quoted makes it clear this photo must have been taken on Oct 1, 1924.

    By: Neil
  4. July 17, 2012, 6:01 pm

    I do believe this image was taken on Oct. 1, 1924, but I could not rule out the possibility this photo was taken at a different inspection during Chief Heath's tenure. The negative stored at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA does not have a date. Nor was I able to locate a print in the Times archive. Thanks for your question.

    Scott Harrison

    By: Scott Harrison
  5. July 17, 2012, 4:14 pm

    Any idea where it was photographed, and if the house still exists?

    By: william
  6. July 17, 2012, 6:04 pm

    I do not know where this photo was taken, but the location cited in the first comment is a very real possibility.

    By: Scott Harrison

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