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John Anderson

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The Newhall Incident: America's Worst Uniformed Cop Massacre
John Anderson  More Info

About the California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol is a statewide law enforcement organization. It is lead by the Commissioner, assisted by the Deputy Commissioner. The organization is divided into two major operations, Staff and Field. Each is lead by an Assistant Commissioner. The Staff operations is comprised of headquarter commands.  The Field operations are divided into eight separate field Divisions located throughout the state. Also included in field operations are Office of Air Operations, State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, and Protective Services Division. 


The Office of Air Operations is responsible for the management of the Department's Air Operations Program.  Among its many responsibilities, the Office of Air Operations is charged with administering the aviation program budget, formulating departmental policy relative to air operations, coordinating the aviation safety program, conducting initial and recurrent pilot and flight officer testing, coordinating departmental paramedic training, determining departmental aircraft specifications, conducting departmental aircraft accident/incident investigations, and performing liaison duties with the Federal Aviation Administration.


The State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center is a partnership of the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice, and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security. Located in Sacramento, this multi-agency state fusion center was created for the purpose of terrorism/criminal intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination. The plan to detect, deter, and prevent terrorism in California is based upon federal, state, and local law enforcement and public safety partnerships with direct connections to the national terrorism intelligence agencies and resources. The STTAC works in conjunction with four Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Centers.


Protective Services Division (PSD) is one of the most unique operational Divisions within the CHP. PSD is made up of three commands which include the Dignitary Protection Section, Judicial Protection Section, and the Capitol Protection Section. These offices are responsible for operations pertaining to the protection of the Governor, constitutional officers, dignitaries and judges, as well as, the State Capitol, state employees, and state facilities. PSD also works with state agencies within the downtown Sacramento area to provide them with training on mail handling, bomb threats, and personal safety. PSD also serves as a liaison between state agencies and the CHP in coordinating various events such as Child Passenger Safety Seat fittings, Safety Fairs and Career Fairs.




John Anderson retired as a chief with the California Highway Patrol.  His book, The Newhall Incident:  America’s Worst Uniformed Cop Massacre, recounts the shooting deaths on April 5, 1970, of four California Highway Patrol Officers.  This incident is probably used as a field tactics training exercise or lecture in every American police academy.  According to the back cover of the book, “Shortly after the tragedy, Anderson interviewed the victims’ families and the on surviving killer and conducted extensive research on both killers’ backgrounds.  He wrote this frighteningly true, Capote-esque account but held off publishing it for over two decades to give the children of slain officers time to grow to adulthood.”

One reader of The Newhall Incident: America's Worst Uniformed Cop Massacre said, “This was a very interesting book that looks at the deaths of four California Highway Patrol officers in 1970. The story is told in an engaging fashion that draws the reader in, in the style of The Onion Field. The background information is good, and paints a strong image. When describing the actual event and its aftermath, I was left wanting more detail. While I realize that it was not designed to be a true after-action report, I was still left wanting for some of the details. I would like to have seen a large section on the lessons learned from the event. All in all a good book, but there is more to be told.”

One reader of The Newhall Incident: America's Worst Uniformed Cop Massacre said, “I read this book while I was an explorer with the CHP. It has good background information and the stories of both sides of this conflict prior to the incident. It seems that it focuses more on the criminals, and what drove them to do it, but it lacks many of the officer safety innovations that the CHP developed after this incident. Everything from basic PMA to felony stops were revised because of this. While I was at the explorer academy, they stressed this incident to us over and over, and why we needed to be alert, in shape, and knowledgeable in out tactics as an individual, and as a team. Now I know why, after reading about the darkest day in the history of the California Highway Patrol. But the book is lacking, and could have been a bit better. A CHP PT instructor could probably give you an as good or better account of what happened.”

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