LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE Wednesday, May 5, 1999 We regret to announce the death of Retired Lieutenant Daniel N. Cooke, 72, Los Angeles Police Department Press Relations Officer for 22 years. He was a technical advisor on many movies and TV programs such as “Dragnet”, “Badge 714”, and “Adam 12”, died of cancer on April 30, 1999, at his home in Rancho Bernardo, California.
Cooke retired in 1988 after spending thirty-five years with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Born in Oakland, California, Cooke grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and was living in Santa Monica after a brief stateside Army career in World War II, when he met Jane, his wife of 49 years.
Cooke joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1953. Cooke walked a footbeat in downtown for the first part of his career before becoming a media relations officer in 1964. Part of his job was to coordinate facilities and information in situations where large numbers of reporters and cameramen were expected. For many years Cooke was the Los Angeles Police Department’s most frequent spokesman on major news stories of every kind, from Presidential visits to infamous crimes that made world headlines. He worked under Chiefs William H. Parker, Tom Reddin, Ed Davis and Daryl Gates.
Daniel Cooke was the Department’s technical advisor for many years, reviewing scripts for movies and TV productions. Cooke was even assigned to work as advisor to Jack Webb. He became a personal friend with Webb; in fact, Webb wrote a segment of one of his series around the work of Cooke, the police media officer. Cooke’s lieutenant’s badge number is the famous “714”. Webb gave Cooke the LAPD’s sergeant’s badge number 714 used in the show “Badge 714”.
Prior to joining the Los Angeles Police Department Cooke held an interesting mix of jobs. He worked at the Santa Monica Boys’ Club as a handicraft instructor, a swimming instructor and a self-employed puppeteer as well as being a police officer for the Santa Monica Police Department. In one of Cooke’s spare moments in June of 1955 he requested to work off-duty for the City of Hope Telethon. His work permit request states that the City of Hope was unable to find competent part-time help for security work and they wanted to hire Cooke off-duty to guard the telethon money. For this he was paid $2.00 an hour.
The Cookes lived in Tarzana for many years. In 1993 they moved to Rancho Bernardo and joined the country club there to continue their hobby of playing golf. Last summer he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery, but by the end of the year it had spread. His wife, Jane, son, Philip of Alta, Utah and daughter, Army Major Laurie Harding of Clearwater, Florida were at his bedside when he passed away.
Cooke’s “714” sergeant’s badge will be given to the Webb Museum at the Police Academy in Elysian Park. No public memorial services were planned. His family suggests that friends may wish to donate to cancer research.
Police Chief Bernard C. Parks and the Los Angeles Police Department regret the passing of Dan Cooke. Lieutenant Cooke’s leadership and talent was instrumental in propelling the Los Angeles Department to the forefront as a world class law enforcement organization.
Photos of Lieutenant Cooke are available at Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.
For Release 9:30 am PST May 5, 1999