Q: I’m confused on how the LAPD Chief Thad Brown photograph taken with you as a rookie police officer connects to the Black Dahlia murder. Can you explain it?
1966 In front of—Parker Center “The Glass House”
Steve Hodel Chief Thad Brown
Yes. The above photograph was taken in 1966, in front of what was then known as the LAPD’s, PAB. ( Police Administration Building) (Shortly after this photo was taken it was renamed Parker Center in honor of Chief William H. Parker.) Immediately after Parker’s death in 1966, then Chief of Detectives, Thad Brown was named as Los Angeles’ interim chief of police. (This is common for a high-ranking officer to be selected and assume command, while other staff officers prepare to compete for the exam, orals and permanent selection.)
In 1966, with only three-years on the job, I was a rookie officer working Hollywood Patrol and was sent, along with a dozen other officers from Hollywood, to attend Thad Brown’s swearing in ceremony in the police auditorium.
Immediately after the ceremony, a photographer approached me as I was walking out the front door and asked, “Would you like to have your picture taken with the new chief?” Surprised and honored I readily agreed and Chief Brown smiled as we walked out in front of the building where this photograph was taken. About three weeks later, I received this copy through the Inter-Department mails. I threw it in a box and forgot about it
The photo had no real meaning or significance to me, other than the obvious honor of being with the chief. However, we now know it had tremendous meaning and import to Thad Brown. He knew then, what I would not discover for another 35-years. Thad Brown KNEW I was the son of the Black Dahlia killer, and it is obvious he just could not resist the “photo-op”. It would not be until after the completion of my investigation and the publication of my book that we would learn from an LAPD reserve officer, about the conversation between Thad Brown and actor Jack Webb, his close friend who played, LAPD’s Sgt. Joe Friday. In that confidential conversation Thad Brown discloses to Jack Webb, “We know who killed the Black Dahlia. The case was solved. It was a doctor in Hollywood, who lived on Franklin Avenue.” This was Chief Brown’s independent and separate confirmation of what we discovered from the D.A. DAHLIA/HODEL Files. Those files opened in 2003 as a result of my investigation, revealed Dr. George Hodel to be the prime Black Dahlia suspect as of late-1949.