'Just the facts, Ma'am'.

When you heard those words, you knew you were listening to the no-nonsense voice of Sergeant Joe Friday.

In much of the 1950's and 1960's (and before that, on radio) 'Dragnet' was a weekly part of the lives of millions of Americans. Jack Webb as Joe Friday became as much of a TV icon as anyone. When I watch old re-runs of 'Dragnet' they seem campy, quaint, outdated. And I still love them!

But what does this legendary television series have to do with South Dakota?

Well for many years, at the end of each episode, you would see this:

via YouTube
via YouTube

W.H. Parker was the Chief of Police for the Los Angeles Police Department. Not only was he the Chief, he was the longest serving Chief of Police in the history of the city! Oh, and one more thing...

He was born in Lead, South Dakota in 1905, and raised in Deadwood! That's right, the man who made sure 'Dragnet' got it right was a good 'ol South Dakotan. He began his long tenure as L.A. Police Chief in August of 1950, and died in July of 1966 after receiving a commendation from a heart attack. And while his high profile made him famous nationwide, his tenure was not without controversy as you can read here.

The LAPD's Administration Building is named after William H. Parker, a man from the Hills of western South Dakota.

Wikipedia Contributed To This Article

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