The San Diego Police Department dates to 1889, when out-of-control crime forced the end of the highly ineffective city marshal's office. With violence on every corner and Tombstone's venerable Wyatt Earp running the marshals' gambling interests, change was desperately needed. But the first days of the SDPD weren't easy. Within two years of its formation, the city's economy tanked, 36,000 of the town's 40,000 citizens left, and the department's newly appointed chief refused to take the job. Still, San Diego eventually developed into one of the nation's largest cities and most popular tourist destination--a multifaceted metropolis perched between the extremes of Los Angeles and Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and the desert. Today more than 2,000 highly trained sworn SDPD officers, 700 support staff, and more than 1,000 volunteers form one of the world's most innovative and internationally recognized police forces.
America's Finest is the most comprehensive book ever authored on the history of the San Diego Police Department. Packed with more than 1000 historical photographs, the book begins with the Mexican town police and progresses into one of the most modern and efficient police agencies in the world.
Best selling author Joseph Wambaugh says, "This is a must read for anyone wishing to learn about the history of San Diego City Law Enforcement."
A Pacific Coast metropolis famous for beautiful beaches and perfect weather and an American municipality since 1850, San Diego is America's eighth-largest city. Known as America's "Finest City," it contains a wealth of history--evolutionary as well as revolutionary--in its crime files. Among those are the founder of the California wine industry, Judge Roy Bean, a black officer before the Emancipation Proclamation, a 19th-century Native American police chief, and women who had the power to arrest before they had the right to vote. Major incidents include massive floods, civil unrest, wildfires, and some of the largest police gun battles in history. San Diego also witnessed mass murder, America's first major school shooting, the worst aviation disaster in American history, and the deadliest streets, per capita, to police. How the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) handled it all became textbook for many other police agencies.
Set in 1941, the narration is a fast, brutal and sometimes razor sharp storyline reminiscent of “True Detective” shock rags. If the average protagonist is expected to be somehow more enlightened than his fellow man, it’s not so here. Many of these cops are every bit as demented and odium obsessed as those they chase. Completely ignoring modern political correctness, the story careens down an dark path juxtaposing 1930’s underworld slang with actual characters and events to create a satellite of a city bound together by collusion,
conspiracy and corruption.
Along the way, cruel perversions of human behavior involving people the average citizen strives to avoid, unfold as vicious side stories threaten to violently inject themselves onto center stage.