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Historical question regarding LAPD ranks


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  • Historical question regarding LAPD ranks

    Hi all from a new member. A very interesting forum here.

    I was wondering if I could ask a few questions regarding obsolete LAPD ranks ?

    Firstly I see there used to be an Investigator rank, was this a one time replacement for Detective rank or did the two exist together ?
    If the latter is the case, what did an Investigator do differently from a Detective ?

    Another one, when did the Commander rank replace Inspector, and what was the reason for the title change ?

    Lastly, this is about the 1960's Dragnet series. Bill Gannon's ID card (which I believe is genuine and displayed at the LAPD Academy cafe) has the title Policeman, but I always thought as he was in plain clothes he would have been a Detective. What would be the reason for that ? (assuming the tv show got it right, which being Dragnet I would assume they got everything just right).

    Many thanks and stay safe

  • #2
    I can't tell you about the reasoning for the Investigator / Detective question. Maybe it was easier to spell Detective. A commander is in charge of a bureau. It is the rank above Captain that has 1 star on the collar. An Inspector would be like a Detective. I guess a Detective would detect, an Investigator would investigate and an Inspector would inspect.

    The Policeman question is an easy one. Back in the day, up to the 80's the badges said Policeman, not Police Officer. It became not politically correct, so it was changed. That is a highly coveted badge that only old timers have. You can be a Police Officer assigned to a detective unit. There are a few old school agencies in LA County that still say Policeman on the badge. El Monte PD motors also have Motor Officer on their badges.

    On TV you will also see guys ID themselves as Detective Sergeants. That is not an actual rank with LAPD. Detectives are classified as D1 (lowest), D2 (middle) and D3 (the man).
    God made perfect cops.......The rest he put in cars.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bully View Post
      A commander is in charge of a bureau. It is the rank above Captain that has 1 star on the collar. An Inspector would be like a Detective.

      A little correction. Commanders used to be called inspectors both on LAPD and LASD. The inspectors ranks was more internal then investigatory, think like an IG.
      Today's Quote:

      "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
      Albert Einstein


      • #4
        When I first joined LAPD, in 1976, their badge said Investigator...there were three ranks I-1, I-2, and I-3. Some years later they (gladly) shed the Investigator rank and all became Detectives....D-I, D-II, and D-III.

        Commanders were in place before I came on...Inspectors might have been done away with in the late 60's/early 70's. The Jacobs Survey, which created the Police Officer III (FTO) and P.O. III+1 (Senior Lead Officer/SLO), etc. was the early 70's.
        In the old Adam-12 TV series, it was when Pete Malloy suddenly had the two stripes with the star underneath (P-III+1)
        "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

        Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

        Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.


        • #5
          Don't they call the detectives in grades? like grade 1, grade 2 etc? or do I read too many Connely novels.


          • #6
            Thanks guys


            • #7
              Yes, Detectives are classified in grades. You can also tell what grade they are while in uniform. A D-1 has 2 chevrons and a diamond, A D-2 has 3 chevrons and a diamond, a D-3 has 3 chevrons, a rocker and a diamond.
              God made perfect cops.......The rest he put in cars.


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