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Larry Ragle

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About the Berkeley Police Department:

The City of Berkeley was incorporated in 1878. The City was policed by a elected town Marshal. In addition the Marshal was assisted by elected Constables. Through these years the Marshal and Constables mostly served papers and seldom arrested without a warrant. Crime increased through the turn of the century. In 1905, August Vollmer was elected town Marshal. In 1909, he was appointed as this City's first Chief of Police. Chief August  Vollmer was instrumental in organizing this department, creating what we now call a "Code of Ethics", which included eliminating the acceptance of gratuities, rewards or favors."   Chief August Vollmer demanded a high level of honesty, efficiency, interest and hard work by his officers. This has continued to this day, which has been the foundation for our world wide reputation in the law enforcement field.


Chief August Vollmer is considered by some as the father of modern day law enforcement. His progressive thinking and use of new innovations in law enforcement became the foundation that our department has built on. Some of the early innovations by Chief Vollmer and this department were: In 1906, the department installed a basic records system (One of the first in the United States); In 1906, installed the first Modus Operandi (MO) System; In 1907, first use of scientific investigation (Kelinschmidt case - analysis of blood, fibers and soil).; In 1907, the department's police school was established. It included instruction from professors on such subjects as the law and evidence procedures. This was the first school of its kind in the world and had a far reaching effect on law enforcement; In 1911, organized the first Police Motorcycle Patrol; In 1913, changed to automobiles for patrolling; In 1916, Chief Vollmer established the first School of Criminology at University of California, at Berkeley. Chief Vollmer became a strong advocate of college educated police officers; In 1918, began using intelligence tests in recruiting police officers; In 1920, the first lie detector instrument was developed at University of California and used by our department; In 1921, began using a psychiatric screening in recruitment; In 1923, the first Junior Traffic Police Program was established; In 1924, established one of the first single fingerprint systems; In 1925, established our first Crime Prevention Division and hired the first Police Woman.





Larry Ragle is the retired Director of Forensic Sciences in Orange County, California. During his career he has investigated countless high-profile homicides, including lending his expertise to the defense team in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Larry Ragle was a criminalistics major at UC Berkeley where he received a Bachelors of Science degree in 1959. This program focused on laboratory examination of all types of physical evidence and on crime scene investigation techniques. Larry Ragle began his law enforcement career with the Berkeley Police Department in 1956.  He was a police officer for the Berkeley Police Department until 1960.  Larry Ragle is the author of Crime Scene.


According to the book description of Crime Scene, “Each week, millions of Americans tune in to watch CSI and CSI-Miami. Featuring the latest forensic fads and tools, these shows take a seemingly unsolvable mystery and unravel it in a primetime hour based on minute pieces of  evidence to solve the crime. Just how do Forensic Teams and Labs accomplish these amazing feats? How do they turn a stray piece of hair into the key clue that leads police to the criminal? In Crime Scene, Larry Ragle offers the benefit of his 43+ years of experience and walks us through real-life crime cases to explain how different forensic methods are used and applied.”


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