When Jimmie D. Kennedy was hired by the Anaheim Police Department in 1953, Disneyland was under construction, the city was still years away from having a Major League baseball team, there was no Anaheim Convention Center, and the city was basically made up of orange groves and homes.
Police cruisers had no computers — or air conditioners.
By the time he retired as chief of the department (for the second time), Anaheim had grown exponentially and Kennedy guided the growth of the police department right along with it.
Recently, the department he led honored the retired chief for his accomplishments by dedicating the training auditorium in his name.
The auditorium is now officially the:
“Chief Jimmie D. Kennedy Training Auditorium”
The dedication was kept secret from Kennedy, and was announced during a ceremony chronicling the 150-year history of the police department
“I’m honored with this dedication and recognition,” Kennedy said. “Anaheim is a fine department. After I retired, I did a lot of consulting and traveled around the country to various police departments. I have never seen a better department. This is an honor that I will never forget.”
Kennedy was born in Iowa and served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a police officer.
Kennedy initially served as a patrolman and a detective when he was hired in 1953.
He was promoted to sergeant in 1964 and then to lieutenant three years later.
He became captain in 1976 and was approved by the City Council to be the 27th chief of the department in 1982.
During the 1980s, the department had outgrown its old home on Harbor Boulevard and Kennedy spearheaded his vision to expand the department to a state-of-the-art facility.
He retired in 1983, prior to the completion of the expansion.
When Chief Joseph Malloy died suddenly in 1993, the city manager appointed Kennedy to serve as interim chief while the search for a permanent chief got underway.
He returned to serve in the building he helped design before retiring for good in 1994.
“Since my arrival, he has been a great individual and mentor who I like to go and speak with,” Anaheim Police Chief Jorge Cisneros said of Kennedy. “And he has opened his home and his neighbors have opened their home to the police department on a yearly basis and make us feel like part of the community.”
Photos of Kennedy and the title, Chief Jimmie D. Kennedy written in all capital letters, now grace the back wall of the auditorium.
In providing a brief lesson on the department’s 150-year old history, retired Sgt. Rick Martinez said:
“This department is rich in history. It’s a premier agency but it’s all because of the people who preceded us and it’s important we remember that.”