1942 L.A. Times Article on Dr. George Hill Hodel Giving WWII Health Lecture at LAPD Police Academy to 200 Law Enforcement Officers
August 12, 2018
Los Angeles, California
July 10, 1942 LAPD Police Academy
Dr. George Hodel (at lectern) then Head of the L.A. County Social Hygiene Department
The original 1942 article (left) reads as follows:
ARMY HEALTH PERIL FOUGHT
F.B.I and Southland Police Aid in Conference on Social Disease
In the last war casualties among American fighting men were caused more by tiny, invisible enemies than by the shells and bullets of Germany.
Seeking to prevent a repetition of the proportionate inroads of these microscopic menaces–the spirochetes of syphilis and the gonococci of gonorrhea–United States Army, Feberal Bureau of Investigation and Southland police authorities conferred yesterday.
ATTENDED BY 200
In charge of the conference was Richard B. Hood, chief special agent of the F.B.I. for Sourthen California. Two hundred Los Angeles and Kern County law enforcement officers , and Army representatives participated in the meeting at the Police Departmen’s Elysian Park training center.
After Hood had outlined the scope of the May Act, which empowers military authorities to police any area when local agencies cannot or will not control undesirable conditions, two physicians explained the toll of the two principal social diseases upon the nation’s armed forces.
“The problem of controlling venereal diseases and prostitution is one of finding infected persons and then holding them in custody for treatment,” Dr. G. Hill Hodel, head of the county’s Social Hygience Bureau, told the group.He said that syphilis cases are 10 times more numerous than influenza and 100 times more frequent than infantile paralysis, with gonorrhea even more prevalent.
“In the last war there were 156,000 more disability cases among soldiers than wounds,” Dr. Hodel said. “Health departments all over the United States are working to check venereal disease and prostitution and the co-operation of police is vital to their efforts.
“Dr. H.C. Pulley, city social hygience expert, reported that of 190 women examined in June, more than 60 were found to be infected with social diseases. He gave a breakdown of the source of infection of 1640 other cases reported to his department by physicians.
Lieut. Col. Paul Taylor provost marshal for the Southern California Sector, Western Defense Command, explained the organization and jurisdiction of various military police units in the area. Capt. Carl Williamson of the judge advocate’s office discussed legal details of the same subject.
Steve: Military interest is noteworthy. Elizabeth Short arrived in Vallejo, CA at the end of 1942, staying with her estranged father for a few weeks. He worked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, which was the site of the Navy’s biggest Pacific hospital. VD is traditionally the #1 medical issue for the Navy outside of combat injuries. Might be worth checking the Hospital records in case GHH ever got an invite to consult or give a seminar up there around that time. There are historians who have researched the hospital. A long shot, perhaps, but the Vallejo connection is intriguing. -LW
Lieut. Col. Paul Taylor, provost marshal for the Southern California Sector, Western Defense Command, exempted my Japanese grandfather from America’s WWII Japanese prison camps. This was with the approval of General John Lesesne DeWitt, Western Defense Command. My grandfather, Inomata Kingi, was the only Japanese man honorably exempted from internment during WWII. Thank you, because of this I was not born in a prison camp.
Inomata Kingi: Thank you for your comment. Wonderful news that he was exempt and you were born outside the Internment prison camp. Thank you for letting us know.
See my book Pure Winds Bright Moon documenting Grandpa’s exemption from America’s WWII Japanese American Detention camps. Available from the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Great story.