Bi-monthly Newsletter No. 30 July/August 2008


From a century ago
The Murder of Captain Walter H. Auble

Earlier this year the Department endured the loss of one of its most beloved officers, Randy Simmons. The ensuing tribute was befitting a man respected for his personal, and professional achievements. The loss was both devastating and tragic but unfortunately not unprecedented. LAPD had travelled this road before. Sadly we have lost many stars. Men and women of honor and of professional note. With each loss comes the hope that it will be the last. This was the case in February, 2008, just as it was one-hundred years ago.

Walter Auble left his home for the last time on September 9, 1908. His wife quizzed him as to the need for the early departure and they shared some concerns about the prospects of this particular day holding danger for the senior member of the LAPD. Even though he was a Captain of Police and former Chief, Auble was still engaged in street police work. On this day he was investigating a pair believed to be engaged in recent robberies and a potential burglary.

After searching the room of one of his killers, Auble and fellow Captain Paul Flammer set out to arrest Carl Sutherland and Fred Horning. Contact with the men was made at 9th and Grand. Flammer took Horning into custody, but Sutherland resisted. The conflict escalated and Auble was shot by Sutherland. Sutherland fled the scene. Auble was transported to the receiving hospital where he died some hours later.

A group of concerned citizens (the polite description of an angry mob) assembled at police headquarters while bloodhounds and search parties sought out Sutherland. Ultimately Sutherland was located approaching the home of a work associate. While being held at gunpoint, Sutherland swallowed poison and died less than an hour later while in the custody of his captors.

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Above, top to bottom: All unassigned personnel attended the funeral for Walter Auble, resulting in a parade of uniformed officers that stretched for blocks. The horsedrawn hearse bearing Captain Auble is escorted by his aproned fellow masons. The burial ceremony at Inglewood Park Cemetary.

Right: The scene at 9th and Grand where the shooting of Captain Auble occurred as it appeared in 1908.

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Walter Auble’s 1892 portrait as a Detective.

Auble joined the police department in 1887 and served as one of its earliest detectives. Auble was tapped for a term as Chief from 1905 until 1906, he took the position with the understanding that he would return to the secondhighest ranking position, that of Captain of Detectives, upon the conclusion of his term. Auble was loved by his fellow officers. This passage from a Times article speaks of their respect, “At the Auble home, no. 1817 South Hope Street, the remains lay in state, a patrolman in dress uniform standing to attention just inside the door of the little parlor where the body rests, another at the head of the casket and a second at the foot. Thus are the officers paying tribute to the dead official, who had been their captain and their friend.”

The Department has never lost a Chief of Police in the line of duty. Walter Auble stands as the highest ranking member of the department that has been killed in the line of duty. His loss was felt throughout law enforcement and was of such note that the only news media of the day, newspapers, carried the story nationwide. Preserved from this case are a number of telling photographs, not just of Captain Auble, but of the ceremonies and of the scene of the crime. We share these with our readers to commemorate the loss of Walter Auble 100 years ago. His 1908 funeral had been the biggest this Department had experienced until its proportions were surpassed some 100 years later.

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What’s Happening at
Old Number 11

By: Glynn Martin
Executive Director
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By the end of the year, much of the presentation space of the LAPM museum will have beengreatly improved. Some of the upgraded modifications have been completed and are now on display for all to enjoy. Specifically, the remodel of the uniform gallery has been completed. The Marguerite Justice Gallery of LAPD uniforms now displays an array of uniforms and accessories dating to the late 1800s. The construction of the exhibit matches the period woodwork of the museum and allows visitors to more closely examine the LAPD finery of years gone by. The exhibit was first seen en masse by the participants in the Museum Run charity motorcycle ride, and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

The same can be said for the motorcycle ride. This was truly a unique event for the Historical Society. Riders met at the Ed Davis training academy in Granada Hills and after an informal “roll call” they were led through the driver training track, then out on the road to the museum. Once at the museum, a special photographic exhibit of Harleys in LAPD History was on display. Two distinct motorcycles were also acquired for the display. Kevin Cotter’s restored 1942 police motorcycle was displayed in the first floor jail and a 1911 Harley from the collection of Bob Laidlaw, owner of Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson, was displayed on the second floor. We also assembled a display case of items from motor service. A vintage Harley fender tag, along with a pair of 1920s motor gloves were rolled out for the event. Much of the material was on loan for the event, so we extend our thanks to Bob Laidlaw, Kevin Cotter and Keith Ricks for bringing in their interesting Harley hardware.

Thanks are also in order to the folks that made all of this possible. Volunteering their time from our Board of Directors were Greg Meyer, Terry Hara, Danny Staggs, Tracey Schuster, John Incontro, and Joe Bonino. Joe’s photos of the event are included on the facing page. We also had some great help from museum volunteers Angie Roman, Gustie Bell, Margie Regan, Keith Ricks, Joel Montes de Oca, Skip Levi, Delores Chaulsett, Janet Nogier, and Chris Petrakis. Dan Gregg and his West Traffic Motor Reserve contingent provided the escort and were key to the smooth ride enjoyed by all. We also need to acknowledge Gary Krystoff and the Devonshire reserves as well as Allison Ashnault and Marc Hemsworth from the academy staff. The mobile canteen fare enjoyed by our riders was cooked up by Patrick Huhane and enhanced with chili donated by Tommy’s Burgers. We extend a special thanks to our culinary specialists who added some great flavor to the event.

Now that this special event is behind us, we turn our attention to the biggest event of the year, the 15th annual Jack Webb awards. Each year the Historical Society honors some deserving folks who have supported law enforcement in the long term. This year’s recipients, District Attorney Steve Cooley, Jay Grodin and Kerry Morrison have provided support to the police profession and the LAPD for many, many years. Bestselling author James Ellroy will serve as the master of ceremonies, and James has arranged for Buddy Greco to provide the entertainment. All involved are looking forward to the event, which arrives on September 13th. We hope you can come out to the Sheraton Universal and join us. To purchase a ticket please contact the Historical Society.

While all of these great pursuits have been going on in the public eye, we have been busy behind the scenes, too. In our role as a historical society, we have an ongoing obligation to collect artifacts and material from the past of the LAPD. Likewise, we are committed to preserving this material to ensure its availability to future generations. Recently we concluded a photographic preservation effort that allows us to better understand our photo collection and increase the availability of digital images. A collection of approximately 8400 black and white negatives were scanned. The

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Gustie Bell and Mama J, 1977

conversion to digital files allows the source negative to reside here untouched, thus preserving it, hopefully, into perpetuity. We now have plain paper reference prints of the negatives for our use. This was a major step forward in our preservation efforts and our first experience with commercial preservation. Needless to say we are pleased with the results, and proud to report this progress on the preservation front.

We are also moving forward with our preservation efforts related to our motion picture holdings. LAPM has more than 400 reels of motion picture film in its collection. Our summer intern recently completed an inventory of the film and we will be moving forward with this project as time permits.

Besides our standing collections, the Historical Society is constantly evaluating new additions to our holdings. We recently purchased a 1971 Plymouth Satellite from one of our retirees Frank Dipaola. The vehicle is a replica police car equipped with LAPD lights, radio and siren. The vehicle was restored by Tom Brooks and acquired by DiPaola after Brooks untimely death. We have proudly added this vehicle to the fleet, and it has already made a number of public appearances, including leading the pack on the Museum Run.

Another interesting nonmotorized addition to our holdings also recently arrived. James Barrick served the Department as a motor officer and Detective from 1943 to 1956 when he was granted a disability pension. Barrick captured some of his work in an extensive scrapbook which was recently donated to the museum. His duties as a detective included the investigation of Mickey Cohen and subsequent arrest for cussing. The trial, which Cohen won, is covered in newpaper clippings as is Barrick’s service as the body guard of Joan Crawford. There are some great photos of 1940s motors. Our thanks to the donor, this scrapbook is a reflection of a career well-spent.

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Deputy Chief Terry Hara uses the PA system of the newly acquired 1971 Plymouth Satellite to welcome particpants of the Museum Run.

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