Emil Harris

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Emil Harris (December 29, 1839 April 28, 1921) [1] [2] was the only Jewish police chief in Los Angeles, California. [3] He was also the second to have occupied the position since it was established in 1877. [4] Harris was appointed to serve for one year from December 27, 1877 to December 5, 1878. [5]


He was born in Prussia and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1869. He helped create the city's first volunteer fire department. He began a six-person police department where he quickly became a deputy chief. The Yiddish-speaking cop became chief after his leadership in the Chinatown massacre of 1871. [4] He was previously a detective who - together with then chief B.F. "Frank" Hartley and other officers - captured the horse thief Tiburcio Vasquez in 1874 [6] at the present-day intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Kings Road.

In 1879, he also became the mayor pro tempore of Los Angeles. [5]


  1. Kitaeff, Jack (2006). Jews in Blue: The Jewish American Experience in Law Enforcement. ISBN   9781934043042.
  2. "OLD WEST ROGUES - Emil Harris: The First Chief of Police of Los Angeles". disc.yourwebapps.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-02.
  3. Remember the Roots of the JCCs | Community Briefs | Jewish Journal
  4. 1 2 Hays, Thomas G.; Sjoquist, Arthur W. (2005). Los Angeles Police Department. San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 13–14. ISBN   0738530255.
  5. 1 2 Marcus, Kenneth H. (2016). Schoenberg and Hollywood Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 336. ISBN   9781107064997.
  6. Boessenecker, John (2012-10-11). Bandido: The Life and Times of Tiburcio Vasquez. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 311. ISBN   9780806141275.
Police appointments
Preceded by Chief of LAPD
Succeeded by

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