About the San Diego Police Department
Prior to 1889, law enforcement in
San Diego was handled by city marshals and constables. Between 1845 and 1850, the town was under military control. In 1850,
the state senate drew up a charter providing for a five-man city council assisted by a marshal, an attorney, an assessor and
a treasurer. The voters chose Agostin Haraszthy as both sheriff and marshal.
The frontier lawman was patrolman,
detective, criminologist, jailor, process server, clerk and executioner. His first requirement was raw courage. Hedepended
upon the gun on his hip to back up his orders. His first interest was in keeping alive and bringing the culprit to justice,
dead or alive.
In 1850, the council decided to build
a town jail. Two bids were received, one from the Israel brothers for $3,000 and the other from Haraszthy for $5,000. Because
Haraszthy's father was president of the council, Haraszthy got the contract -- bankrupting the city. Four hours after the
first prisoner was incarcerated, he dug his way through the wall with a pocket knife.
The city eventually purchased a cage
and put its first escape-proof jail in the Old Town Plaza. In 1871, the jail was moved to the location of the present county
courthouse at Front and C Streets in new San Diego.
The metropolitan San Diego Police
Department was established May 16, 1889. On June 1 of that year, Joseph Coyne, the city marshal, was appointed the first chief
The first police uniform consisted
of derby hats, coats with high collars and badges with seven-point stars. Chief Coyne was paid $125 a month, his officers
$100 a month; they worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. In 1895 shifts were reduced to eight hours -- but salaries also
dropped: $25 a month. Mounted patrolmen furnished their own horses, but did receive $100 a month for feed and care of their
animals. The modern mounted patrol began in 1934 in Balboa Park. It was abolished in 1948, but was re-established in 1983
and remains active today.
Among other milestones: Harry Vandeberg
was the first detective (1907); W. E. Hill was the department's first motorcycle officer (1909); the first traffic signal
was installed around 1920 at Fifth Avenue and Broadway (it was manually controlled by an officer who stood in the center of
the intersection); the crime lab was established in 1939; patrol cars got one-way radios in 1932, two-way radios four years
later; and the first reserves appeared on the scene in 1942.
The first police headquarters was in City
Hall at Fifth Avenue and G Street. Several moves later, the department relocated at Dead Man's Point, named because of its
use as a burial place for sailors and marines during the charting and surveying of San Diego Bay. The department remained
there -- at 801 West market Street -- until 1987, when it moved into its current seven-story headquarters building at 1401
Richard Carlson is a veteran
of the US Army and who joined the San Diego Police Department in 1969. During
his 35 year law enforcement career, Richard Carlson worked patrol, crime prevention and detectives. He spent eight years a homicide detective and five years assigned to the Violent Crime Task Force. Richard Carlson is the author of I'm in the Tub, Gone.
According to the book description
of I'm in the Tub, Gone, “We now live in a time of comfort, convenience and opportunity such as mankind has never known. With all
the great things we are provided, we also get many side effects that some thrive on and others do not welcome. Some of these
are expectations, added or unwanted responsibility, inconvenience, or extreme supervision to name a few. We all deal with
these pressures in a different manner. Then we add another factor, our personal lives. Most people have the ultimate goal
to make their personal lives better. We want a happy, normal life at home, no matter what our status is in the community.
Some choose suicide as an option to get relief. These are true stories of those final thoughts. Could they have been helped?
We will never know. Can we help others in desperate need? Maybe, if we provide a little kindness and understanding. At least
we can try.”
Richard Carlson said of his
book, “I have had to work with many people who were going to choose suicide as a solution to their problems. In most
cases it was avoided but I have been present when the act was completed and it is a moment you will never forget. I hoped
that by writing my book "I'm In The Tub, Gone" it may help discourage someone who is thinking about suicide. I also feel this
book is a must for those people who work with troubled people every day. It is hard to find someone who has not met or known
someone who was touched by the act of suicide. We may not be able to help all of these people in distress but we can try.
My book is not easy to read but you won't soon forget it.”
One reader of I'm In The Tub, Gone by Richard James
Carlson said, it “is a collection of authentic suicide letters. Mr. Carlson, a former police officer, offers us a rather
macabre look into the very private world of those who have chosen to end their lives. Their final words are put on paper (errors
and all) exactly as they were written. These suicide letters are undeniably chilling, sad, heartfelt, and terrifying. To read
them is akin to driving by a car wreck, you can't turn away from it. You can't help but wonder what might have led
these poor souls to take their own lives.
I'm In The Tub, Gone is a difficult
book to categorize. It is unique, and it is powerful. It is simple and it is moving. It is a stark reminder of how lives can
be wasted, of how some people become so desperate, they can see no other way out. Make no mistake, this book is depressing,
but it sends a message that no one should miss. Nothing is worth taking your life over. The act of suicide is so devastating
to those left behind, and often, those who commit the act, have no idea of the long lasting and far reaching consequences
of their actions. I recommend this book, not because it will make you feel good, for surely it won't, but rather for its
message. It will help you realize how futile and selfish an act of suicide truly is, and how hard we must work not to ever
let this happen to anyone we know or love.”