Bruce Smith: Police Reformer/ The New Yorker/ February 27, 1954


Bruce Smith (1892-1955) was the director of the Institute of Public Administration, a New York City based non-profit. He was a longtime and respected expert on American policing, and his statistical and behavioral studies of how cops work, lead to reforms in many cities and states. In this profile from the February 27, 1954 issue…

Hot Prowl on Hamlin.


Sunday morning, I woke up with a text from a neighbor.  Someone had ransacked his converted garage, recently remodeled for reality TV. He wondered if I heard anything or thought who might be responsible. He later sent me a video from his next-door-neighbor showing a masked, gloved, backpack wearing prowler at 2am.   He said…

July 28, 1962: Youth Shot to Death in Van Nuys Apartment


Clearly, there was crime and murder in Van Nuys in 1962. In great staccato shorthand a woman is described as "a 22-year-old divorcee and dime store manager" (doesn't that say it all). Divorced and managing a dime store. Things could be worse at 22. Miss Colleen K. Mitzel was alone, in her apartment, and called police from…

As the Turnmire Turns…..


He is 21, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with a cotton bomber jacket and button front denim jeans. She is 19, holds a Boxer pup and wears a leopard print coat and appears somewhat sad and disturbed. They are Alvin and Beverly Turnmire, recently married. Their address is a home in Studio City at 4232…

Drunk Driver Arrested: September 23, 1963


Foolish Robert Norris, 25, of 4809 Sepulveda Blvd, Van Nuys, was celebrating his last day on probation and decided to celebrate. He got drunk and went for a drive. After he was pulled over, near Balboa and Vanowen, he told the police, "You'll have to shoot me to take me back." Then he ran away…

Something Quiet and Urgent…


Something quiet and urgent was hanging over the radio this morning soon after I awoke in the darkness at 5:30am. LAUSD was expected to make an announcement. It was forthcoming:  a rumor the schools might be closed down here in Los Angeles. The sun rose, the skies were clear, the winds blew, and it was…