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Daryl F. Gates and 'the sting of poverty' that followed him to grade school

Gates Born in 1926, future LAPD chief Daryl F. Gates was a child when the Depression hit a few years later. His father, a plumber, took to drinking and was often away from home. His mother found a job in a dress factory. In his 1992 book, “Chief,” Daryl F. Gates, who died Friday, described how “the sting of poverty” followed him to school:

I can remember the godawful sandwiches my mother made for me. The other kids brought theirs in nifty litttle lunchboxes. ... I’d take my wrinkled paper bag out to a corner of the schoolyard and eat it by myself, worried the kids would make fun of my food. Often, it would be a bean or mashed-potato sandwich. Sometimes, when things were really bad, my mom would mix sugar, cocoa and canned milk into a thick paste and spread it on a piece of bread. Ugh. Greedily I eyed the other kids’ sandwiches from a distance. Peanut butter and jelly. It was a delicacy I yearned for but was never able to have.

-- Valerie J. Nelson

Photo: Daryl Gates in 2008. Credit: Associated Press

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Chief Gates was one of the finest men I've had the privilege of knowing. Many in law enforcement cuircles considered him everyone's Chief no matter where you came from. He treated everyone with respect and made them feel equal and he was happy to see you. He always remembered your name. What a shame more Chief's and Sheriff's aren't like him.

I can remember when I started my career in the mid 60's I could not imagine getting to meet such a great man. I did meet him through the California Robbery Investigators Assoc. and became friends seeing him often at varioous events and yes, he always remembered me. When he entered a room everything stopped and he became the focus of attention. He always left to a standing ovation.

A more thoughtful and generous man I've never met. Some of my personal treasures are his signed book "Chief" and a letter he wrote me when I retired. A photo of us is framed and in a place of honor in my den.

I know I join thousands of people who respected, admired and loved this man and we will all miss him. His memory will live on in our thoughts and he'll be toasted often in the future. I'm proud to have been his friend.

Jack Baxter, Sergeant, Ret.
San Jose Police Department

Chief GATES was one of the last great Police Chiefs to work in the United States. Admired and loathed by many he totally supported his department and the officers that worked under him.There were few like him and there will never be another like him. My police career took place on the east coast in the NYPD, Now retired I wish he was my boss while I was in the department.


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