Roy E. Steckel

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Roy Edmund Steckel
Roy Steckel.jpg
Steckel in the 1930s
Born(1887-10-17)October 17, 1887
DiedNovember 14, 1950(1950-11-14) (aged 63)
Police career
CountryUnited States
Department Los Angeles Police Department
Service yearsLAPD Chief
December 30, 1929
August 9, 1933
US-O10 insignia.svg
Chief of Police

Roy Edmund Steckel (October 17, 1887 – November 14, 1950) was the Los Angeles Police Department Chief of Police from December 30, 1929, to August 9, 1933. He succeeded and was succeeded as chief by James E. "Two-Guns" Davis. During Steckel's reign as Chief of Police, Los Angeles hosted the 1932 Summer Olympic Games. The L.A.P.D. employed 800 duly sworn police officers. According to the L.A.P.D.'s official site, crime was very low during the Olympics, with there being only "two robberies, eight burglaries, 39 thefts, and 10 auto thefts". [1]


Steckel was dismissed as chief by the incoming mayor Frank L. Shaw, who had run on a platform that included calling for Steckel's dismissal. Under Steckel's regime, Mayor John Clinton Porter appointed a former detective with the L.A.P.D. to head up an intelligence operation aimed at both the police department itself and city officials. L.A.P.D. intelligence operatives were bolstered with private investigators, who were given captain's badges. The L.A. City Council disbanded the intelligence operation after three years. [1] The incident led Time Magazine to term the L.A.P.D. "super-snoopers". [2]


During Steckel's term as Police Chief, radio dispatching was first implemented. [3] Called "the most modern municipal police radio system in the world", the radio network transmitted from a transmitter located in Elysian Park and utilized eight switchboards at City Hall. Forty-four patrol cars were equipped with radio communications, though two-way broadcasting did not come until 1938. The radio network reduced police response times to less than three minutes. [1]

Under Steckel, L.A.P.D.'s first "air patrol", consisting of ten police officers assigned to a fixed wing squadron, was implemented in 1931. [1]


During the first years of the Great Depression, there was a movement in Los Angeles and California to deny Mexican immigrants welfare benefits in a general drive to repatriate them to Mexico, ostensibly to alleviate unemployment. This led to California's Mexican Repatriation Program. In 1931, Chief Steckel claimed, "Most of our crime problems are caused by aliens without respect for the laws of the country." [4]

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Steckel may refer to:


  1. 1 2 3 4 "The LAPD: 1926-1950". Los Angeles Police Department. Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  2. "Shaw for Porter". Time. June 19, 1933. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010.
  3. "KMA367: An Unofficial History of the Los Angeles Police Department's Communications Division" . Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  4. "Our Disposable Labor Pool". Mexico and America. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2011.