Guardians of Angels: A History of the Los Angeles Police Department Anniversary Edition, 1869-2019

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On January 9, 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department will celebrate 150 years of protecting and serving the community. I am excited to release an updated version of the original Guardians published in 2013 just in time for this historical year-long Department celebration. The new Guardians of Angels has a foreword by Chief Moore with new chapters and segments to bring it up to date. Here is a brief synopsis of the book,

For 150 years, LAPD officers have pinned on a badge, holstered a gun and traveled the corridors of history, leaving behind the rich traditions that are today’s LAPD. Guardians of Angels is a penetrating history of the Los Angeles Police Department since 1850. Thoroughly researched over eight years, containing scores of interviews and illustrated with hundreds of rare photographs, this book details how the department evolved from six officers administering frontier justice to today’s high-tech professionals. It brings to life the accomplishments and disappointments of the men and women who unselfishly gave of themselves as the Guardians of Angels.

An excerpt from the new introduction,

For LAPD to walk tall as a leader in law enforcement, the department first had to learn how to crawl. With wide-open vice and conditions that made Los Angeles the mecca for criminal activity, the common (city) council needed to act. It did in late 1868. “On motion, resolved, that his Honor the Mayor appoint a City Police by and with the approval of the council to consist of four persons.” Mayor Cristobal Aguilar, who spoke very little English, appointed four men (which quickly became six) on Jan. 4, 1869. The city could not afford to pay these officers a salary, so they were paid a commission from the collection of fees, which included serving writs, returning lost or stolen property and arresting fugitives.

The first paid police department was led by William C. Warren, who split duties as city marshal and chief of police. Warren had a knack for law enforcement. He had been the town marshal for the previous three years and a deputy marshal for several years before that. A hard-headed farmer from Michigan, Warren was killed by one of his officers, Joseph Dye, in an argument over the reward money for a Chinese prostitute. With guns blazing in the middle of Main and Temple (next to where city hall is today), Dye killed the chief and subsequently won the battle in court when he was found not guilty on the grounds of self-defense. LAPD was off to a rocky start.

Some reviews of Guardians of Angels:

Guardians of Angels – A History of the Los Angeles Police Department is an unprecedented glimpse into those stories and how they became intertwined to create the collective history of the Los Angeles Police Department. Through his use of vivid imagery, historical accounts, and rare photographs, James Bultema presents a comprehensive history of the Department, its dynamic changes, legendary leaders, public missteps, and unparalleled pursuit of excellence.

LAPD Chief of Police Michel Moore

As you can well see we are a Department of deep contrast and that is what is captured so brilliantly in the writings of James Bultema. He’s captured the history of this great organization and brings it to life on the pages of Guardians of Angels – A History of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Former LAPD Chief of Police Charlie Beck

As a retired LAPD officer (commander) and serious student of that department’s history, I can say without contradiction that Jim Bultema did a GREAT job. The photographs were superb, and the description of the events was absolutely spot on. I had the opportunity to work with Jim when we were both on the job; he was a great cop and he is a great writer and historian. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the Los Angeles Police Department. WELL DONE!!

Amazon Customer Review

This is a very well-written and thoroughly researched book on one of the greatest police departments of the world. The book takes you from some of the earliest periods in Los Angeles, when vigilantes administered “justice,” to volunteer town Marshals, the establishment of a small police force, paid on commission, to the actual establishment of a real police department and concluding in our present time. It candidly acknowledges and even explores long periods of political interference and the need to have a police chief who isn’t beholding to self-serving politicians. The work is lavishly illustrated with dozens of period photographs. It is by far the most comprehensive book on the history of the LAPD to date.

Amazon Customer Review

I just completed reading this informative, interesting and fascinating book about the History of the LAPD. It held my attention and answered many questions I had about how the Department weathered the century of its existence. I learned the background and obscure details about people and incidents I had heard about during my 27-year career with the LAPD. This should be a primer read for every recruit joining the LAPD. I worked with James Bultema while we were officers on the job, so good work partner.

David Twitchell

The new updated Guardians of Angels will be released January 9, 2019. Both books come with free shipping and are signed by me. You can email me with any special inscription you would like. All Books are 8 ½ X 11, 360 pages, with hundreds of rare photographs. Choose from:

  • Collector’s Edition: Hardbound in color for $69.95
  • Softbound black & white for $29.95

You can order from my website: policehistorybyjamesbultema.com (author signed) or email me at policehistoryjamesbultema@gmail.com. The book will also be available at: LAPRAAC, Amazon.com., Barnes & Noble and independent book stores.

2 thoughts on “Guardians of Angels: A History of the Los Angeles Police Department Anniversary Edition, 1869-2019

  1. Looks like another super read Jim. Keep up the great work. You continue to enhance the L.A.P.D. legacy in the positive (and fascinating) manner in which it so deserves.
    Tom Lange

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