LAPD Honors Fallen Officer Campbell with Trophy at Highland Games

By Ian Lovett, 5/24/2010


At the May 2010 Scottish Highland Games, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) and the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipe and Drum Band will resurrect a trophy to honor LAPD Officer Ian James Campbell, who   was kidnapped during a traffic stop in Hollywood and murdered near Bakersfield.

The crime was chronicled in Joseph Wambaugh’s best-selling novel, The Onion Field.

On March 9, 1963, Officer Ian Campbell and his partner, Officer Karl Hettinger, assigned to Hollywood Division, stopped a suspicious car occupied by Gregory Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith.

Campbell and Hettinger did not know that Powell and Smith were both armed and looking for a liquor store to rob.  As Campbell approached the car, Powell took him hostage.  Hettinger was forced to surrender his gun under threat that if he did not, Campbell would be killed.  Both officers were kidnapped, with Campbell driving at gunpoint.

The officers were taken to a deserted onion field near Bakersfield, where Powell cold-bloodedly executed Campbell. Hettinger managed to escape.

Both Powell and Smith were arrested within 24 hours of the murder; Smith died in prison in 2007 and Powell was denied parole for the 11th time in January.

As a tribute to Campbell, who played the bagpipes as a hobby, the Los Angeles Police Department played bagpipes for the first time at his funeral.  Since then, bagpipes have been played at every line-of-duty death of a Los Angeles police officer.

In 1965, the Los Angeles Police and Fire Protective League sponsored the Ian Campbell Memorial Trophy at the Scottish Highland Games, awarded to the best aggregate piper in the novice category.  The trophy was awarded annually until the 1970s, when the tradition was dropped for unknown reasons.

This year marks the first time in over 40 years that the trophy will be awarded.

The competition will be held on Saturday, May 29, at the Scottish Highland Games, Orange County Fairgrounds, in Costa Mesa.

For more information on the event, visit


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