In February 1955, the Los Angeles
Police Department, through the pages of the internally produced BEAT magazine, conducted a contest for a motto for the police
academy. The conditions of the contest stated that: “The motto should be one that in a few words would express some
or all the ideals to which the Los Angeles police service is dedicated. It is possible that the winning motto might someday
be adopted as the official motto of the Department.” The winning entry was the motto, “To Protect and to Serve”
submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobek.
“To Protect and to Serve”
became the official motto of the Police Academy, and it was kept constantly before the officers in training as the aim and
purpose of their profession. With the passing of time, the motto received wider exposure and acceptance throughout the department.
On November 4, 1963, the Los Angeles City Council passed the necessary ordinance and the credo has now been placed alongside
the City Seal on the Departments patrol cars.