Emil Harris

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Emil Harris (December 29, 1839 – April 28, 1921)[1][2] was the only Jewish police chief in Los Angeles, California.[3] He was appointed to serve for one year from 1877 to 1878. He was born in Prussia and immigrated to Los Angeles in 1869. He helped create the city's first volunteer fire department. He began on six-person police department where he quickly became a deputy chief. The Yiddish-speaking cop became chief after his leadership in the Chinatown massacre of 1871. He was also a detective. His conduct during the capture of the horse thief Tiburcio Vasquez in 1874 at the present-day intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Kings Road led to his promotion to chief.


  • "L.A. Then and Now A Forgotten Hero From a Night of Disgrace," Cecilia Rasmussen, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1999.
Police appointments
Preceded by
Jacob F. Gerkens
Chief of LAPD
Succeeded by
Henry King