A new program was introduced in 1980 to work primarily on the increasing residential burglary problems. The Crime Task Force was formed, placing officers undercover to provide for immediate responses to burglaries.
In April of 1982, a, major fire broke out in the area of Ball Road and Euclid Avenue. During this fire, the resources of the Anaheim Police Department were pushed to the limit. In the early hours on the morning of April 21, 1982, Santa Ana winds were gusting throughout Southern California. Patrol Officers were busy responding to burglar alarm calls because of the extremely high winds. Power poles were damaged and traffic signals were rendered inoperable. At 5:42 a.m, 60 mile per hour winds caused a palm tree in the area of Ball Road and Loara Street to strike live electrical wires. Sparks flew onto the wood shake roof of a nearby apartment complex. Within minutes, blocks of apartments were ignited as the fire spread and fire fighters battled to contain the blaze. Police Officers were immediately on the scene, evacuating tenants as winds pushed the fire from complex to complex.
Over 350 Fire Fighters from Orange and Los Angeles County responded to the call for help to fight this disaster. Hours later, as the winds decreased, Fire Fighters were able to control the blaze, but not until 534 apartment units had been destroyed, 51 buildings damaged and 22 vehicles lost, costing in excess of fifty million dollars in damage. With the fire extinguished, the Anaheim Police Department began the duty of securing the area from looters and sightseers. Over ten city blocks were closed due to damage and destruction. Personnel from almost every Division of the Police Department were used for the next five days to control the area, assist displaced residents and provide security to property. Due to the heroic actions of many Police Officers on the scene, no lives were lost and no one was seriously injured. This same month, Chief Tielsch left the job, claiming permanent disability. One-month prior, he had announced that he was taking a leave of absence, citing medical reasons. In June, he filed his disability claim, asking to be medically retired. During his absence from office, Captain Jimmie D. Kennedy assumed the role of Acting Police Chief.
1983 - 1988 - JIMMIE D. KENNEDY
Jim Kennedy began his law enforcement career as a patrolman, hired by the Anaheim Police Department on October 13,1958. He progressed through each rank to attain the highest position of leadership and responsibility in the agency. Before becoming Chief, he served as a field Patrolman, Sergeant in the Patrol and Juvenile and Operations Divisions and Captain of Patrol Operations.
The east end of Anaheim, now referred to as Anaheim Hills, was long overdue for extra police protection. Patrol services for this area of the city had long been provided out of the Harbor Boulevard police facility. In order to reduce the driving time for these officers, a sub-station was established in an industrial complex off of Tustin Avenue and the Riverside Freeway. By deploying extra officers and placing them in the immediate area, this district of the city received an increase in police service.
The main Harbor Boulevard Police facility was at capacity level. The Traffic Bureau, Administration Division, Personnel Bureau, Payroll, Purchasing, Community Services, Internal Affairs, Crime Task Force, Helicopter Office, Training Bureau and a portion of the Property Bureau were placed in temporary trailers on the north side of the Police parking lot. What was to be a short-term remedy to the overcrowding problem lasted approximately ten years. By early 1980s, plans were being made to expand the police building due to a lack of workspace. Given the title of "Police 2000," this project was a plan to increase the size of the main police building and to also increase the number of employees to handle the work load expected during the next twenty years. Construction for this lengthy project began in the early 1980's. The first stages of the program were to move the helicopter landing pad from the roof of the police building to a larger heliport on city property in the area of Vermont Avenue and Olive Street. Plans also called for the Communications/Dispatch Center to be moved to a new center located on the second floor of the Police facility, in the location previously occupied by the helicopter-landing pad.
The games of the 1984 Summer Olympics were held throughout Southern California, centered around Los Angeles. The Anaheim Convention Center was chosen as the venue for the Wrestling competition of these games. Planning for such an event was a momentous task for the Police Department. With the fear of potential terrorist activity, as demonstrated in Munich, Germany years earlier, the Anaheim Police Department planned for heavy security. Police manpower was high but security at the event was provided in a low profile manner. The 1984 Olympics took place without incident.
In 1985, the new Police Communications Center was completed. Located atop the Harbor Boulevard police facility, this new center began operations with a state-of-the-art computer aided dispatch system. Mobile Data Terminals were installed in patrol cars, providing field officers with a direct link to the Communications Center, other police vehicles and other state and county agencies.
On December 31, 1987, twenty-nine years after joining the Anaheim Police Department, Jimmie D. Kennedy retired from public service. Throughout his career, Chief Kennedy tried to bring stability to the department, worked hard to plan for the future of the department and the protection of the citizens in years to come. He obtained funding and began a massive facility expansion project, retiring before its completion. Through his foresight, future generations of police officers, other police employees and the citizens of Anaheim will benefit from his service.
At the time of his retirement, hundreds of department employees joined to bid him farewell at a final inspection and retirement dinner. Although he retired from the organization, he has remained active as a college instructor, as well as relaying his knowledge to other enforcement professionals through his affiliation with a consulting firm.
1988 - MARTIN MITCHELL
Along with Chief Kennedy, many other city employees retired from service, including Captains Richard Gray and Martin Mitchell. Anaheim began its search to find a new Chief of Police. As a nationwide search was conducted, an immediate replacement was needed to fill the vacancy left by the outgoing chief. On the day after his retirement, Captain Martin Mitchell returned to assume the role of Police Chief until a permanent replacement could be found.
Chief Mitchell served as Chief of the Anaheim Police Department from January 2, 1988 until June of the same year. Hired by the Anaheim Police Department on February 13, 1957, Martin Mitchell rose through the ranks to hold all positions from Officer to Chief.
Chief Mitchell may have wished to maintain a low profile role during his short tenure as Chief, but the day-to-day operations of running the department would not allow him to be anything but busy. The daily operations of maintaining public safety necessitated his full attention. New personnel needed to be hired, crime continued to escalate and the demands of the public remained constant. Along with the normal pressures of law enforcement, the department was also in the midst of a multi-million dollar renovation project. The anticipation of a new permanent Chief was high on the minds and attention of all department personnel, along with the pending promotions of three new Captains, three new Lieutenants and five new Sergeants. Amid all of the uncertainty during this period, Chief Mitchell was able to keep the department running smoothly while the search for a new Police Chief continued.
In May of 1988, City Manager Bob Simpson had announced that a new Police Chief had been selected. Joseph T. Molloy, the Chief of the Alhambra Police Department would be taking charge of the Police Force of the largest city in Orange County.
Chief Mitchell remained on board for a short while thereafter to assist the Chief-designate with the transition of office, but in June of 1988, Chief Martin Mitchell retired from police work permanently. Martin Mitchell continues to reside in Anaheim with his wife.