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Monday through Friday
10:00am to 4:00 pm
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General (ages 13 to 61) $9.00
Seniors (62+) $8.00
Children (12 and younger) Free
must be accompanied by an adult.
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|For Group Tour Information, Please Call (877) 714-LAPD
Bi-monthly Newsletter No. 26 November/December 2007
The Tragic Loss of Mario Deiro By: Glynn Martin
| There were simpler times in
Los Angeles, and in police work.
Days when there were far fewer
reports to complete, fewer notifications
to make and still the job
was done. Progress, it seems,
means more paperwork. We know
this, because we have the paperwork,
at least some of it. These
pages tell us the story of a
Christmas Eve 70 years ago.
Unfortunately, it connects us to a
New Year’s Eve tragedy some 65
Mario Deiro worked during this
simpler time. He joined the LAPD in 1934 and
by all appearances was an accomplished professional
by the time of his death eight years
later. News accounts list some of the cases
Deiro worked. He is credited with saving a suicidal
nurse. He was a young homicide detective
when there were few. He worked headline
cases, then unfortunately became one. Some of
his reports are on file at the historical society.
One of them details the officer-involved shooting
he took part in on Christmas Eve 1937.
More shots were fired than paragraphs were
written. A simpler time, indeed.
The holidays, and their eves, have proven
deadly for Los Angeles Police Officers. Floyd
Eiler was killed on Christmas 1911. W.G.
Chamberlain was lost thirty Christmases later.
Steve Gajda was killed on New Year’s Day ten
years ago. Norbert Huseman left us on New
Year’s Eve 1945, just three years
after the Deiro tragedy.
Mario Deiro, a detective lieutenant,
stopped to investigate the report
of a man down in the gutter. It
was the final day of 1942, and he
found one, in front of a beer parlor
no less. Deiro checked the
report and seemingly wrote off
the man’s presence to the seasonal
revelry associated with ringing
in the new year. As he began
to drive off, Deiro was engaged by
a suspect who claimed that Deiro
appeared to be running over the downed citizen.
Words were exchanged and a confrontation
between Deiro and a small group ensued. Deiro
dropped his drawn weapon. As he stooped to
recover the handgun, Deiro’s assailant fired multiple
times. One of the rounds struck Deiro in the
mouth, killing him instantly.
A pair of radio car officers heard the shots
and pursued the fleeing suspect and his confederates.
Three were captured, one of whom
admitted to firing the fatal shot. The murder
weapon was recoverd from the suspect before
his booking at the jail ward. Seems he had
bumped his head while entering the police car.
|While the capture and confession were fairly
simple, the trial was a different matter. Deiro’s
case was ultimately complicated by the fact that he was in plainclothes. The
suspect based his defense on
a claim that Deiro, an armed
man in a suit, was going to kill
him. The jury convicted, but of
a lesser offense, manslaughter.
Deiro’s is one of two-hundred
stories populating a century of
sacrifice that is now drawing to a
close. The Deiro case is one of
five we have shared in this
newsletter during the past year. All
have been shared in recognition of
those who served and perished,
and all are shared with the hopes
that these holidays are far safer
than those gone by.
Mario Deiro’s own words about the shooting he was involved in on Christmas Eve, 1937.
Happening at Old Number 11 By: Glynn Martin
| One of the alluring aspects of law enforcement
is the work itself. No two days are the
same. There are no groundhog days at the
LAPD. The same is true for the historical society.
Every day seems to bring about something
new. Good things, all of them. Some endeavors
help advance the society, some help the department.
We do it all with a small dedicated staff
and a group of thoughtful volunteers. As we
wrap up another prosperous year, it is worth
sharing some of the things we have done, and
some we plan to do.
At the start of the the year, we thought it
important to recognize the significance of our
losses over the last 100 years. So, in each of the
historical society newsletters that had sufficient
space we told the story of an officer lost in time.
We tried to highlight some of the interesting stories.
Some that hadn’t been told, but were certainly
worth telling. The same is true with the
story of Mario Deiro. We recognize that this has
truly been a century of sacrifice. That being
said, our board of directors, has vowed to honor
the losses by placing a memorial brick at the
museum for each and every fallen officer from
1907 to 2007. It is a fitting tribute that should be
complete early next year. We have also continued
our work to locate and share photographs
of those lost in the line of duty. This month we
provided sixteen more images of slain officers
to the Department for use on their website.
As we look to next year, we are busily planning
our year. It should be a good one, starting
with an event with best-selling novelist
James Ellroy. James has volunteered to host a
benefit for LAPM. The details remain in the
planning stages, but we expect to spend an
interesting evening with James in the coming
months. Watch the newsletters and website
for more information.
On May 18th, the historical society will again
participate in Museums of the Arroyo Day. This
is a great opportunity to visit us and five other
local museums. Admission to all of them is free,
and so are the shuttle rides between the museums.
We had more than one-thousand visitors
on MOTA day 2007, hopefully you will see us for
Also in the mix for the coming months is the
creation of a challenge coin for the historical
society. Designs are currently being considered,
and we expect to have the coin available in early
2008. Again, as we know more about this we
will let you know.
These are the activities we see keeping us
busy well into the new year. In the recent past,
we have been busy with even more important
endeavors. In early December we assisted the
Make-A-Wish foundation with the wishes of a
terminally-ill seven year-old. This was a wonderful
collaboration that truly revealed the high
esteem in which the Department is held.
|LAPM salutes Iris Caplan for her remarkable efforts in support of the 2007 Jack Webb Awards.
|We also collaborated with Hollenbeck Area to
support Officer Tony Salazar. Tony was intentionally
run down by a fleeing narcotics suspect. His
injuries are serious, and the society thought it
important to support Tony during the holiday season.
We did our best imitation of the IN-N-OUT
truck when we rolled out the old mobile canteen
for a grilled lunch. Our thoughts and wishes are
with the Salazar family.
The historical society also rolled out for the
Highland Park Holiday Parade and the memorial
service for retired Commander Homer Broome.
Commander Broome was a pioneering figure in
the Department’s history. The historical society
was proud to be a part of the ceremonies. We
extend our condolences to the family.
Inasmuch as we have spent a great deal of
time providing support in various quarters, we
have also taken some time to honor those who
support us. We recently held a recognition
luncheon for our volunteer cadre. Each has
proven to be a true friend of the society, and we
thank them. We have also taken a moment to
honor some of the people who have assured
the success of our Jack Webb Awards. Iris
Caplan, Danny Staggs and Keith Bushey were
all presented plaques by our Chairman Greg
Meyer. Their work was notable, and they are
each due our thanks.
As the year draws to a close, we are proud to
report this was another prosperous year for the
historical society. We are confident that we have
provided a high level of service, and we have
continued to develop and advance the
museum. The coming year is full of promise. We
hope a visit to the society figures into your
plans for 2008.