Two of Anaheim’s finest share tales of police work in earlier decades


Chief Jimmie Kennedy and Captain Dick Gray both started their police careers in the late 1950s in Anaheim.

In 1958, the city of Anaheim had a population of 78,000. Orange groves and strawberry fields still dotted the city landscape in places.Walt Disney had just opened his new amusement park at the southern boundaries of the city.

We often picture those times as idyllic. A time when we felt like crime was non-existent and the kids could play in the streets with no fear.

Kennedy rose through the ranks of the Anaheim Police Department, being appointed Chief of Police in 1983. He would retire in 1987, but would return to serve as Interim Chief of Police in 1993 upon the sudden passing of Chief Joe Molloy.

On August 6, 1970, in an act of public protest hundreds of “yippies” decided to invade Disneyland. Mutual aid was requested and the Anaheim Police Department rose to the occasion. Lt. Kennedy at the time was the incident commander.

Gray also rose thorough the ranks of the department, retiring in 1987.

In a Behind the Badge podcast interview, Kennedy and Gray give us an idea of what it was like to drive a police car with no air conditioning and crank windows in an era before computers existed and the only thing you carried on your belt was a pair of handcuffs and a handgun.

They also share the time Disneyland was overrun with “yippies” and uniformed officers lined the park’s Main Street.

They also talk about the first riot in Anaheim, when Grand Funk Railroad performed at the Anaheim Convention Center.

In 1971, when a crowd found they couldn’t get into the sold out Grand Funk Railroad concert, a small riot broke out necessitating a county wide police response in Anaheim. Photo from the Anaheim Police Department Collection originally printed in the L.A. Times.

Listen to our complete interview here: