Culver City Police Department
In a letter dated Feb. 25, 1914, Venice Cal, F. J. Barton, Constable of the Ballona Township of Los Angeles County advised Harry Culver that he had appointed F. C. Cole to be Chief of Police. The correspondence was in response to a phone call the day before about the "policing of Culver City."
In 1917, the year the city was incorporated, the City Trustees provided for the appointment of a City Marshal for the City in their 5th resolution. City Marshal Frank W. Bradley began work November 21 for $25 a month. The city also adopted a resolution to use the County Jail for prisoners, and provided for a committee of three with full power to arrange for police protection of the city by the Sheriff's Department. The Board of Trustees authorized appointment of temporary police officers as the need arose. Five more Marshals were appointed through 1926, beginning with E. G. Mason, whose job also included ex-officio Tax and License Collector at $25 a month, moving on to M. Sprankling who held the office of the "Night Police" and Marshal for five years, followed by W. Smith, J. Cain and Walter Shaw in 1926.
Shaw became the first municipal Chief of Police in 1926, and in those early years, policing was very different. In 1920, for example, the trustees discontinued all motor officers because the legal department of the Automobile Club advised that it was just a matter of time until all municipalities would have to remit all fines on public highways to the County Treasurer. Culver City was simply "unable to expend $300 a month for motorcycle officers."
By 1922, police enforcement included "No dancing in Cafes and Restaurants after 11pm." Two years later, the needs of the city demanded the acquisition of property for a City Hall along with Police Headquarters (dedicated in 1928). On December 15, 1924, the trustees took action to acquire three steel cells for the police department, and the police were commended for efficiently handling the crowds on opening day of the Speedway racetrack. Duties expanded in 1927 as U. Barnett became the first School Crossing Officer. Cecil B. DeMille was given a badge and appointed special police officer in 1927. The next year, police were faced with enforcing the trustees' unanimous decision to prohibit the "shaking of dice for money, merchandise or credit and certain games."
In 1929, the police were sent to Fatty Arbuckle's Plantation Café to summon the owners to appear at their next meeting. The same day, action was taken to refuse a license to the "gypsies" operating a business at 7024 Washington Blvd. That year, Chairman Houck of the Trustees instructed the Police commission to "instruct the Chief of Police to have the road houses and dance places carefully watched." The police had added responsibilities as the Culver City Kennel Club received a five-year permit for canine racing. In those years, the city was notorious for its nightclubs, bookies and gambling. The irregular city boundaries added to enforcement nightmares, and there were a few "tarnished badges" to be addressed, as well. Policing included location shooting in the city and the protection of movie stars, like all the "LITTLE PEOPLE" who arrived for the filming of the Wizard of Oz.
Following Walter Shaw, there were chiefs Costigan, Daudel, Hendry, (who left to become a studio police chief), Smith, Weatherly, Miller, Truschel, McDonald, Carnahan, Postal, Muchmore, Arkoff, Olsen, Hildebrand, Mueller, Mennig, Walter, and finally Chief Ted Cooke serving since 1976. Before Chief Cooke, the average tenure of office was 2 years, however.
The police station has had a Duquesne address since the 1920s, first at the side of city hall, and then in their own building. The current station was expanded and rededicated in 1999. Change has been the norm as the city grew from 1.2 to 5 square miles. There was a mounted Reserve posse in 1948, followed by Culver officers starring in Nightwatch, the first "reality-police cases as they happen " radio, then TV show. Ron Perkins was the prime mover of both. The Perkins family has had an officer continuously on the CCPD for 50 years now.