About the Vice Division
gaming, bookmaking, pornography, prostitution
Vice Division (VD) is responsible for collecting, recording, maintaining, and disseminating intelligence data on major organized criminal enterprises within and affecting the City of Los Angeles. Criminal syndicates include, but are not limited to traditional La Cosa Nostra, Asian, Eurasian, and Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. The Vice section concentrates on the enforcement of vice activities such as gaming, bookmaking, pornography, and prostitution. It also investigates community problems and addresses Alcoholic Beverage Control issues. Both sections assume the responsibility of providing oversight, training, and support to all Department entities regarding vice and organized criminal activities as directed by the Chief of Police. They also maintain liaison with city, local, county, state, federal, and international agencies in order to conduct investigations in a professional manner, with an ultimate goal of preventing corruption. All VD sections are under the command of Captain Ann E.Young.
History of the Vice Division
Post-World War II Los Angeles was booming with the construction, aircraft, and movie industries operating in high gear. There was so much loose money floating around that bookie joints, gambling parlors, and brothels peppered the City like palm trees. And there to seize some of the action was the syndicate. It was not unusual to see East Coast hoods hanging out in fancy clubs that dotted the Sunset Strip in the late 1940s. A power struggle existed among old-guards Bugsy Siegel, Jack Dragna, Johnny Roselli, and Jimmy Fox for a piece of the action. Even feared Mafia Boss, Frank Costello, had a hand in influencing how things were being run. At the center of this struggle was Mickey Cohen, a powerful, self-made criminal actively engaged in bookmaking and prostitution with plenty of politicians "in his pocket."
The City was tainted with police and political corruption, Mayor Frank L. Shaw was recalled and Mayor Fletcher Bowron succeeded him in 1945. Chief of Police Clarence B. Horrall (6/16/41-6/28/49) created a 10-man intelligence detail, known as the "Gangster Squad," to keep tabs on Lt. Rudy Wellpot and Police Sgt. E.V. Jackson, vice officers who were regularly shaking down Brenda Allen, "The Queen Bee of Vice." Cohen protected her and other call-girl operations in town. Later, Chief William A. Worton (6/20/49-8/9/50) took office, the unit increased to 25 officers and renamed the "Intelligence Section."
In 1950 William H. Parker (8/9/50-7/16/66) was appointed Police Chief and the slow, painstaking job of ridding the city of gangsters and corrupt bureaucrats began. The "Intelligence Division" as it was called consisted of 45 officers and one female field team. Also the once defunct vice unit was re-established and now called "Administrative Vice." These two divisions were referred to as the "Palace Guards" and they reported directly to the Office of the Chief. By the late 1960s criminal activity and political corruption in LA was under control and Mickey Cohen was sentenced to Alcatraz in 1962 for income tax evasion. Riots, political-economic and social revolution took place and intelligence gathering became paramount. July 1970 saw restructuring which resulted in Organized Crime Intelligence Division (OCID) and Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID) that eventually became Anti-Terrorist Division. In 1997 Chief Bernard C. Parks merged OCID and Ad Vice creating Organized Crime and Vice Division to better consolidate Department intelligence resources.