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Anaheim Police Department History: 1960

1960's

As the Anaheim Police Department entered a new decade, it was evident that their present police facility at City Hall had long been outgrown. The number of department personnel was growing at an astonishing rate, but without adequate working space. As the Chief searched for ways to convince the council to allocate more space for the police department, personnel struggled to work in less than adequate conditions. No longer could officers assemble inside the police facility to conduct their briefings.

Patrol briefings were conducted in a separate facility blocks away from the Police Station. Much to the displeasure of area residents, briefings were held in a small twelve room building to the rear of the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Station on the southeast corner of Los Angeles Street (now Anaheim Boulevard) and Wilhelmina Street. Parking became a particular nuisance for neighbors at shift change as patrol cars parked in all available spaces on the street and in adjoining businesses. Chief Stephenson continued to work diligently to convince the members of the City Council to relocate the Anaheim Police station to a much larger facility. In describing the conditions of the Police Department to the Council, Stephenson compared his city jail to others throughout the state, adding that the Anaheim City Jail was "the worst jail this side of Tijuana."

The quote quickly spread through the media around the entire United States, much to the displeasure of an embarrassed City Council. Although not intended to bring embarrassment to the city, this comment was in part responsible for the approval of the construction of a new police facility to be built on Harbor Boulevard.

Law enforcement was becoming more professional with the progression of time. In 1960, the most valuable piece of equipment in its time, the polygraph, was added to the department. Proud of this new tool in police technology, Chief Stephenson boasted of its capabilities along with the diligent work of the first polygraph examiner, Sergeant Norm Cook. A newly formed Services Division was added to the department this year under the direction of Captain James Hutton.

In 1962, as ground was broken for the new police station, a full time training Bureau was established at teach Officers the proper and uniform methods of report writing, accident investigation and the use of small arms. A pistol shooting training program was held regularly on the department range located on Commercial Street, what is now the site of the Riverside Freeway.

Officers received six hours of field and classroom training per month in a variety
of topics. Special programs were designed for both Officers and Supervisors. With the large influx of tourists to the Anaheim area, a public relations program was developed to aid the officers in their daily contact with visitors. The Training Bureau and its new specialized programs were second to none in quality and practicality.

On November 25, 1963, the new Harbor Boulevard Police Station was dedicated. Chief Stephenson and his force of 157 sworn officers opened the facility amidst pomp and ceremony, attended by many local dignitaries, including comedian Bob Newhart. The best-rated police force in the country now had state of the art equipment. As personnel settled into their new work areas, additional personnel continued to be hired, including many officers. A full time Property Bureau Supervisor was hired for the first time to oversee the preservation of evidence and maintenance of the new equipment.

In 1964, the department had grown to 227 personnel and boasted a fleet of twenty, two-wheeled motorcycles, a far cry from the single motorcycle in 1955. By 1968, Anaheim Police encountered problems few other cities faced. Anaheim had the distinction of being the home of major attractions. With the Anaheim Stadium, Convention Center, Disneyland, Melodyland and other local attractions in full operation, the department had to contend with the related traffic control problems, protection of visiting celebrities and vice problems.

Mark A. Stephenson retired from the Anaheim Police Department on August 1, 1969 after serving for 42 years, but retirement from public service would only be temporary. Shortly after his retirement, Mark Stephenson was elected to serve as an Anaheim City Councilman.

Chief Mark Stephenson has been the longest serving Police Chief in Department history. He is credited with growing, shaping and forming the Anaheim Police Department to what it is today. On the day of his retirement, Chief Stephenson was able to look back and see that the nineteen man Police Department that he assumed on his appointment as Chief had grown to a size of 288 sworn officers.

Twenty-two years after his retirement, a dedication ceremony was held for the newly remodeled Harbor Boulevard police building. During this ceremony, on June 22, 1991, the Anaheim Police Facility was renamed the "Mark A. Stephenson Police Station." Mark Stephenson passed away on November 29, 1992 at the age of 88. He was laid to rest at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana.

1969 - 1974 - DAVID B. MICHEL

Finding a replacement to oversee the rapidly growing Anaheim Police Department was not an easy task for City Manager Keith Murdoch and members of the City Council. Many strong candidates applied for the position of Police Chief as the search for Mark Stephenson's replacement began. In June of 1969, City Manager Murdoch announced that David B. Michel would be assuming the office of Police Chief upon the departure of the outgoing Chief.

Chief Dave Michel, age 40 at the time of his appointment, came to the Anaheim Police Department from the City of Fresno. Hired by the Fresno Police Department in 1951 as a Police Patrolman, he rose through the ranks to the position of Deputy Chief.