"Law enforcement is a 'thin blue line' which stands between you and the organized forces of crime."
-- Then-Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker, September, 1952.
After flames, gunfire and looting burst across the city, an angry cry went out: "Where were the police?" Besieged since the Rodney King beating, the Los Angeles Police Department was criticized as ill-prepared, indecisive and slow to respond to last spring's riots. Despite individual acts of bravery, police leadership and tactics were excoriated. The department's very ability to protect and serve was questioned. Calls for fundamental change became a chorus.