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Harry D. Penny, Jr.

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Behind the Badge: The Funny Side of the Thin Blue Line
Harry Penny  More Info

About the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is the largest sheriff's department in the world. In addition to specialized services, such as the Sheriff's Youth Foundation, International Liaison and Employee Support Services, the Department is divided into ten divisions, each headed by a Division Chief.

There are three patrol divisions (Field Operations Regions I, II and III), Custody Operations Division, Correctional Services Division, Detective Division, Court Services Division, Technical Services Division, Office of Homeland Security, Administrative Services Division, and Leadership and Training Division.

The Sheriff's Department of Los Angeles County was formed in April, 1850. Elections for the office of Sheriff were held annually until 1882, when the term was increased to two years; in 1894 the term was increased to four years. The first Sheriff of Los Angeles County was George T. Burrill and his staff consisted of two Deputies.

Twenty-four men have served Los Angeles County as Sheriff since 1850: nineteen were elected and six were appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve the unexpired term of their predecessors. Two were killed in the line of duty. Of those appointed, four were re-elected to the office. The youngest man ever elected to the office of Sheriff was William B. Rowland, who was sworn in when he was 25 years old (in 1871), and was re-elected three times. The record for the longest consecutive service goes to Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz, who completed 51 years in the department, from deputy in 1907, to being appointed Sheriff in 1932 and then retiring in 1958. Our previous Los Angeles County Sheriff, Sherman Block, entered the department as a Deputy Sheriff in 1956 and continued up through the ranks until he was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to succeed Sheriff Pitchess in 1982. In June of 1982, Sheriff Block was elected to a full four year term as Sheriff of Los Angeles County.





Harry D. Penny, Jr. has over twenty years of law enforcement experience.  Harry Penny has been a police officer for the Buena Park Police Department and a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  During his ten year career with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department he worked jail division, technical services division and spent five years in patrol as a field training officer.


Harry D. Penny has also been a Special Deputy in the US Marshal Service, working in Court Security; and, a reserve police officer for the Chula Vista Police Department as well as the Barstow Police Department.  In addition to his domestic law enforcement service, Harry Penny served over 20 years with the United States Navy.  A Vietnam and Gulf War veteran, he retired from the Navy as a Chief Petty Officer (Chief Hospital Corpsman, Aircrew/Fleet Marine Force).


Harry Penny has authored several works including the book, Behind the Badge: The Funny Side of the Thin Blue Line and the award winning (National Library of Poetry) poem I'm the One Called which has been published in numerous military publications, over a thirty-year period and continues to this day. He has also published various articles for small magazines and military publications.


According to the book description of Behind the Badge: The Funny Side of the Thin Blue Line, “These stories are not the ordinary stories you find in the media or in books. The streets of Los Angeles County provide experiences found in big cities on a daily basis. Facing a possible life-and-death situation at any time, the officers often find occasions when the unthinkable happens. Whether rolling “Code 3” to answer a robbery-in-progress call and later get your patrol car stolen by the suspect, or teaching a “rookie” how to safely load/unload a shotgun only to have him blow off the top of your patrol car are stories that can only be told by those who experienced them. How about jokingly making an impromptu funny script change while making a documentary film about a homicide investigation only to have it end up in the film? These are all true stories written by the officers who experienced them. Cops have a sense of humor too-a very dry sense of humor. Ride along with them as they show you the Funny Side of the “Thin Blue Line.”

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