Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

Michael  Connelly

Lauren  Freeman 

The History of the Los Angeles Police Department

Devotion as Detrimental to Personal Development in Michael Connelly’s Works

Two important events in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department were the inclusion of women on the force in 1910 and the visit by the Pope in 1987. Both of these events, along with others, showed the strength of the department and the dedication and hard work of the officers. The department developed over one hundred and fifty years, but the city's history is even older. Inhabited already in the 1700s, and dubbed Los Angeles by Spanish-speaking inhabitants in the 1800s, a murder in 1853 made city leaders aware of the need for police. Beginning in 1853, the LAPD developed and improved over the decades. Many opportunities followed the formation of the department; not only did men find jobs as officers, but also women. Around the turn of the century, riots broke out among civilians in Los Angeles, which tested the strength and will-power of many LAPD officers. Over their many years of service, officers responded to riots, earthquakes, and changing populations of immigrants. Their responses to these challenges demonstrated the diligence and hard work of the officers.

The same strong work ethic evident in the officers of the LAPD throughout their history also appears as a driving theme, in the form of devotion, in the crime fiction of author Michael Connelly. In one of Connelly’s series, protagonist and anti-hero Officer Harry Bosch of the LAPD struggles to establish boundaries between the work to which he is obsessively devoted and his personal life, which includes his ex-wife and his daughter who lives at home with him. Harry spends all of his time working on unsolved cases from years ago. By doing this constantly, his relationships suffer because this does not allow him time to spend with his daughter or with others around him. Over the course of Connelly’s novels, Bosch never realizes his flaw, and although to some co-workers his devotion seems admirable, to others, such as his daughter, it is an alienating obsession. Although each novel ends in Bosch solving the murder case at hand, because of all of the time spent working, he is unable to develop and grow more fully into the father and person he needs to be.

Major Works Consulted:

Cole, Michael D. The L.A. Riots: Rage in the City of Angels. Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1999.
Connelly, Michael. The Drop. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.
---. Lost Light. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2003.
Crewe, Sabrina. Great Cities of the World: Los Angeles. Milwaukee: World Almanac Library, 2004.
Photo Credit: Connelly, Michael. The Drop. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.