The City of Huntington Park was founded in 1906 and from its inception, has had its own Municipal Police Department. Originally a one man department with a City Marshal, the department grew as did the City. Following World War I, the size of the department increased to a Marshal and four deputies. The new deputies wore their Army uniforms as police uniforms.
Our Policemen remained deputies until 1932. The title “Deputy” was changed to “Policemen” in 1933. Following the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933 (where many buildings in Huntington Park were damaged), the Huntington Park Police Department was built on the southwest corner of Gage Avenue and Pacific Blvd.
During this period, the majority of the police officers in the Department were motorcycle traffic officers. Their uniforms were tan, while the regular Patrol Officers began wearing blue. When a motorcycle officer was hired on, he was issued a badge and a hat badge. He provided his weapon, uniform, and motorcycle.
Police cars did not have police radios, so several “Police Call Boxes” were positioned around the City. Whenever the station received a call for assistance, the Police Operator would activate a red light which was atop several tall towers throughout the City. The Policemen on patrol would need to routinely look for the tower light, and when seeing the light, they would call the station from one of the many call boxes.
This system was discontinued in the mid-1940s when the Department was equipped with car radios and a main station radio. However, the call boxes remained until the mid-1970s.
During World War II, many of our Policemen volunteered for Military Service. The Department supplemented the patrol force and the Civil Defense Force with Home Volunteers. These Volunteers wore a “Reserve Police” armband over their civilian clothing while serving their assignments.
In 1943, the Huntington Park Police began wearing Police Patches on their uniform shirts. The Patrol Officer’s patch depicted “Electrical Bolts,” representing the newly equipped police cars with radios. The Motorcycle Officer’s patch depicted the “Winged Wheel” of the motor officer. Following World War II, the department retained many of the wartime volunteers and trained them as Reserve Officers.
The Reserve Officers were issued their own style of badge; they wore the same patch as the regular officers. The new Civic Center was built in 1950, and while the Police Facility was being completed the following year, the temporary Police Department was installed in the basement of City Hall. The jail cells are still in the basement of City Hall today.
The Police “Justice Building” was opened in 1951. This building contained the Police Department, Jail, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Officer, and a Court Room.
To coincide with moving into a new Police Facility, the department issued new police patches, a new badge, and new uniform regulations.
Dark blue long-sleeve shirts were worn from October 1st until May 1st. The summer uniform was a short-sleeved light blue shirt. The patches are the same design as are worn today.
In 1976, an order was made for additional patches, and a numbering error resulted in a light blue police patch. These patches were issued as replacement patches for the summer uniform. However, they were not well received by the officers ironically, and soon afterward, the Huntington Park Police Officers Association convinced the Chief to discontinue the light blue shirts.
In 1980-1981, there was a general nationwide trend to discontinue the separation of “Policemen” and “Police Women.” All titles were changed to “Police Officer.” Because of this change in badge titles, a new style badge was ordered for all personnel.
In 1991, the Huntington Park Police Officers Association desired to design a new badge which would highlight the Police Facility. With the approval of the Chief, the Association designed, produced and bought the initial order of badges that we wear today.
In 1992, the country of Lithuania, which had only been free of Soviet occupation for two years, invited Lieutenant Michael Gwaltney and Sergeant Tom Weselis to visit, lecture and to critique their new Police Academy and Police Operations. These two Huntington Park Officers were the first American Police Officers to be invited by the Lithuanian Government to provide this service.