The C.E.M.P. MUSEUM

WELCOME TO THE HISTORY OF C.E.M.P. SEARCH & RESCUE

SERVING LOS ANGELES FOR OVER 55 YEARS

“The work C.E.M.P. does is priceless. They are so helpful to us, and their reputation is impeccable.” – Sgt J. Torres, LAPD

CREATED OUT OF NECESSITY

C.E.M.P. Is Born

June, 1962 – A child goes missing in the San Fernando Valley. Back then there was no such thing as a “Critical Missing” designation, so she was considered a “missing person.” During the search, citizen volunteers began to join the effort. A small group of individual citizen-band (CB) radio operators bonded together and noted that a lack of coordination and control during these type of missing person cases resulted in a pitiful, disorganized attempt at a rescue operation where a child’s life may be at stake. These men, realizing the need for group effectiveness, formed a club. In October, 1962 this “club” incorporated and was named “Citizens Emergency Mobile Patrol.”

A Fast Growing Idea

Immediately after incorporation, C.E.M.P. obtained a corporation Class D station license from the FCC to allow 100 transmitters to further help the city’s needs. One of the team’s first major assignments in collaboration with the L.A. County Medical Association and Pasadena Civil Defense was to help distribute polio vaccine to prevent a possible epidemic. Soon after distribution of these health immunizations, C.E.M.P. provided its radio communications for parades and other community events.

C.E.M.P. has continued to grow both in its members and in the services it provides. The team, which strives to provide whatever the community and its respective agencies request, is composed of members who all have full-time jobs and commit themselves to giving back to the community. The team is routinely requested by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Park Rangers, County Police, LA County Sheriff’s Dept and Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) for services of critical missing searches, to fire patrol, lighting for criminal investigations, traffic control, disaster response and stand-by medical for fairs, parades, and races.

A Fast Growing Idea

Immediately after incorporation, C.E.M.P. obtained a corporation Class D station license from the FCC to allow 100 transmitters to further help the city’s needs. One of the team’s first major assignments in collaboration with the L.A. County Medical Association and Pasadena Civil Defense was to help distribute polio vaccine to prevent a possible epidemic. Soon after distribution of these health immunizations, C.E.M.P. provided its radio communications for parades and other community events.

C.E.M.P. has continued to grow both in its members and in the services it provides. The team, which strives to provide whatever the community and its respective agencies request, is composed of members who all have full-time jobs and commit themselves to giving back to the community. The team is routinely requested by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Park Rangers, County Police, LA County Sheriff’s Dept and Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) for services of critical missing searches, to fire patrol, lighting for criminal investigations, traffic control, disaster response and stand-by medical for fairs, parades, and races.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE

A lot has happened in almost 60 years of service. Los Angeles is busy! As one of the largest, and certainly one of the top high-profile cities in the world, a lot is going on. Here is just a quick glance at the history of our team and what we’ve seen. Scroll using your mouse, finger or clicking/tapping the arrows to navigate.

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  • October 1962

    October 1962

    C.E.M.P. Is Born

    After the search of missing child, a group of citizens join together and begin forming search parties using a more organized communication strategy. They quickly form “Citizens Emergency Mobile Patrol” and incorporate the team. That same year, Dodger Stadium opens to the public.

  • August, 1965

    August, 1965

    Watts Riots

    65 people are killed in the week-long violence of the the Watts riots. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) opens. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States. That same year, Marina del Rey is opened — the largest man-made pleasure boat harbor in the world.

  • June, 1966

    June, 1966

    L.A. Zoo Opens

    The Los Angeles Zoo opens its doors for the first time. The Beach Boys release Good Vibrations, a No. 1 hit in the United States and UK and widely considered one of the most influential pop songs ever written.

  • October, 1967

    October, 1967

    Turning 5

    C.E.M.P. celebrates five years of service to Los Angeles. That same year the first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game, aka “Super Bowl I” takes place at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The NFL champion Green Bay Packers defeated the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. Also that year the Mark Taper Forum and Los Angeles Forum both open.

  • June, 1968

    June, 1968

    Robert Kennedy Killed

    Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated in the kitchen of the Roosevelt Hotel in L.A. after speaking at a campaign rally. He later dies at nearby Good Samaritan Hospital (which still stands today). That year, C.E.M.P. deploys its “modern MSU” (Mobile Support Unit).

  • February, 1971

    February, 1971

    San Fernando Earthquake

    In the early morning hours of February 9, 1971 a 6.6 earthquake shook Southern California. The epicenter was in the city of San Fernando. The quake killed 65 people – most at the Olive View Medical Center and VA Hospital which were both destroyed. C.E.M.P. played a major role in the rescue and communications efforts.

  • July, 1984

    July, 1984

    L.A. Hosts The Olympics

    The Olympic Games come to Los Angeles, making L.A. the only U.S. city to host the games twice. Los Angeles was the home to the Summer Games of the XXIII Olympiad in the Coliseum – specifically built for the Olympics. C.E.M.P. assisted the LAPD and USC campus police with eyes & ears details as well as communications.

  • June, 1991

    June, 1991

    Sierra Madre Quake

    On June 28 – A magnitude 5.8 earthquake shakes northern L.A. County and all of Southern California. The “Sierra Madre” event kills eight people and injures hundreds. C.E.M.P. joined the mutual aid effort and supported communications and rescue efforts coordinated by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and other area agencies.

  • August, 1991

    August, 1991

    Name Change

    After much debate and consideration, C.E.M.P. votes to update their name to “California Emergency Mobile Patrol” (replacing “Citizens”). The move showed a more progressive, modern representation of the team’s ability to assist in statewide and more professional assignments.

  • January, 1994

    January, 1994

    Northridge Earthquake

    On January 17, the Northridge Earthquake shakes L.A. out of bed at 4:17am. The devastating quake took 57 lives and injured more than 12,000. C.E.M.P. aided in rescue efforts, recovery and logistics for agencies. We were pictured on the cover of Time during the crisis.

  • October, 1995

    October, 1995

    Holleigh Bernson

    Councilman Hal Bernson’s daughter, Holleigh, goes missing and a massive search is organized. After her car is discovered over a cliff in Griffith Park, C.E.M.P. plays a primary role in finding and recovering her body.

  • August, 2000

    August, 2000

    DNC in L.A.

    The Democratic National Convention is held in Los Angeles. The event was a security and crowd challenge. C.E.M.P. joined the LAPD in becoming eyes and ears from various vantage points over the convention.

  • September, 2008

    September, 2008

    Metrolink Disaster

    When a careless engineer blows through a red signal because he is texting, his Metrolink train collides head-on with a BSNF freighter. 25 lose their lives in the horrific crash. C.E.M.P. was on the scene first and aided in the rescue operation.

  • October, 2008

    October, 2008

    Fire Storms

    Two major fires consume the Los Angeles north county area in 2008 and 2009. The “Sayre Fire,” also known as the “Sylmar Fire,” and the “Station Fire” dominated the city in the Fall of both years. C.E.M.P. played a major role with evacuations, brush patrol and traffic.

  • October, 2013

    October, 2013

    We Turn 50!

    We turn 50! C.E.M.P. is proud of our heritage, history and service. For over 50 years we have provided valuable assistance in Los Angeles. And we’re looking forward to serving another 50. See you in 2062!

  • March, 2020

    March, 2020

    Covid-19

    For the first time in modern history the world stops. All volunteer organizations cease operations during the historic Covid-19 pandemic. The City of Los Angeles grounded all operations, including C.E.M.P. The three-month hiatus helped “Flatten the curve” of infections and deaths.

IMAGES FROM THE PAST

Take a trip in a time machine to the people, faces, places and events from years gone by. All of the below are from the 1980s or earlier.

MAKING NEWS

C.E.M.P. members never join for the accolades. Everyone has their reasons: We do it in the spirit of giving back to the community and helping to keep our city safe. We do it for a sense of balance in our personal lives. We do it for the sense of service or pride. Whatever the reason it’s not for publicity or even a thank you. But on occasion the press does recognize the work we do, and we do appreciate it.

WEBSITE HISTORY

C.E.M.P. has been around a long time, but we also never get stale. Here’s a quick glance at the Home Pages of our website over the years. Our website partner is Your Drawing Board Website Design Services in Los Angeles. They donate their time to build and maintain our beautiful website and we appreciate their kind and generous donation.

Help Us Go Another 60 Years! By making a Tax Deductible donation to our team you can help us help you!

As an all-volunteer, non-profit team, every dollar goes a long way!

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