The Stories You Are About to Hear Are True: Preserving Parker Center
Sunday, March 22, 2015, 3:30 PM
LAPD Police Administration Building, Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium 100 West First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Free Panel Discussion on Parker Center

The Stories You Are About to Hear Are True: Preserving Parker Center

When: Sunday, March 22, 3:30 p.m.

Price: FREE Panel Discussion and Reception

Where: LAPD Police Administration Building, Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium

100 West First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Join the Conservancy and community stakeholders for a conversation about the many layers of history at Parker Center (originally the Police Facilities Building, Welton Becket & Associates and J. E. Stanton, 1955). While many know it from the hit 1950s television police drama Dragnet, this building has a deeper and sometimes controversial history. 

The City of Los Angeles, through its Bureau of Engineering, is pressing for a redevelopment project that will demolish and replace Parker Center. The Conservancy believes that Parker Center can and should be preserved and integrated into new construction. At this panel discussion, you will hear about the viable preservation alternatives, and through the conversation with the panelists, you will learn why it is important from a historic and cultural perspective to preserve this building.

The Conservancy's executive director, Linda Dishman, and director of advocacy, Adrian Scott Fine, will share historical context and explain the current demolition threat and the Conservancy's position. They will be followed by a moderated panel discussion. Panelists will speak from a number of different points of view about Parker Center’s significance:

  • Innovative modern design by one of L.A.’s most prolific firms, Welton Becket & Associates, and its integration of public art and landscaping
  • Importance as the most modern and state-of-the-art police facility of its day
  • Construction as an early urban renewal project that demolished a major portion of Little Tokyo, as well as subsequently affecting the development of that neighborhood
  • Association with Chief William H. Parker, whose time as police chief reduced corruption in the force, but also resulted in strained relations with the African-American and Latino communities
  • Significance as a site of important historic events, such as the 1992 Los Angeles riots
  • Panelists include: Richard Barron, Chair of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission; Cheryl Dorsey, retired LAPD police sergeant, community advocate, and author of The Creation of a Manifesto: Black and Blue;  Glynn Martin, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Police Museum; Chris Nichols, Associate Editor at Los Angeles Magazine and former chair of the Conservancy's Modern Committee; Michael Okamura, President of the Little Tokyo Historical Society.
Audience Q&A and an outdoor reception with light refreshments will follow the panel discussion.

Getting there

You will need to find your own parking for this event, but here are some suggestions:
Metered street parking should be free on nearby streets on Sundays, but please read all posted signs. 
There are several pay lots nearby, including:
  • Aiso Street Lot 763 at 101 Judge John Aiso Street
  • Joe’s Parking  at 213 S. Main
  • Joe’s Parking at 3rd and Main
  • Metro Rail. Take the Red or Purple line to the Civic Center/Grand Park station. Walk east (downhill) on 1st Street for three blocks. Deaton Auditorium is located at the corner of 1st and Main.
  • City Hall Tour
Come early and spend the day enjoying the Civic Center. Also on March 22, we will kick off the thirty-fifth anniversary of our Walking Tour Program with a one-day-only special tour of City Hall. Learn more and register for the City Hall tour.