The 1930s were a trying time for Anaheimers. The Great Depression struck the entire United States and continued well into the 40s. As unemployment soared, local city government was faced with taking care of the homeless and unemployed. Many of the unemployed were given temporary jobs in the city and other means of assistance were provided by the city to ease their plight.
In the winter of 1930-1931, the city even agreed to temporarily house many of the homeless in the Anaheim City jail, providing them with a quick meal.
Despite the financial problems of the era, salaries for policemen in the mid 1930s were set to attract "good, intelligent men." Chief Bouldin received $225 a month. Patrolmen received $120 a month for the first year with an increase of $5 per year added until their salary reached a total of $140 per month. Assistant patrolmen received $115 a month and the two motorcycle officers received $160 a month. Matrons were paid five dollars for each day served.
Two months after assuming office, Chief Bouldin appointed Helen Craemer to the position of Deputy City Patrolwoman/Matron. In May of 1932, Ms. Etta Williams was appointed to the office Deputy City Patrolwoman / Matron by Police Chief Bouldin. On March 10, 1933, a major earthquake struck the Long Beach area, causing millions of dollars in destruction. Four Anaheim citizens were killed in the disaster and buildings throughout the city suffered considerable damage. In 1934, short wave radios were adopted by Orange County cities, linking Police Departments in the county through the airwaves. The Orange County Police Radio Station was set up by the County of Orange, operating out of the jail facility in Santa Ana. When a request for police assistance was received at the Anaheim Police Station, the desk sergeant telephoned the radio station to relay the information. The County Radio Station dispatcher would then broadcast the call over the air. Patrol Officers in their prowl cars would hear the call and respond to the scene. Since this was only a one way radio, the officer would have to either phone the office or come back to the police station to notify the Desk Sergeant that he had received the call and taken care of the problem. The total cost of operating the new radio system through the County of Orange was roughly $1500 to $1800 per year, the cost was shared by all participating cities and county agencies. Upon becoming Chief, Bouldin tried hard to change the image of his department. The Chief told his officers time and time again that the principal duty of peace officers was not to enforce the law with bitterness and extreme measures, but rather to safeguard the public and to provide advice to people in trouble. Some members of the public viewed policemen as "the means of destruction" and believed that the police were the ones out to destroy the great American ideal of liberty. In the past, the public perceived peace officers as uneducated people whose pay was small and whose lives were filled with danger. Officers had no specialized training and often became overbearing, rough and rude. Chief Bouldin worked to change the image by assembling his police department with men of the highest caliber. His officers were to be honorable, courteous and talented if their endeavors, which would compare favorably with the best in California. This rule has since become the hallmark of the Anaheim Police Department.
Due to the small size of the department, a relief officer was hired to work from July to October in case any full time officer wanted to take a vacation. Problems now confronting the department were drunk drivers and home burglaries.
In 1935, the department handled 407 complaints requiring police action. Of these cases, 243 persons were arrested for intoxication and 61 people were arrested for drunk driving. All offenders were arrested and booked for their offenses. The Anaheim Police Department was also proud to have an average recovery rate of 97% on all reported stolen vehicles.
By 1938, the Anaheim City Council agreed to fund a new method of sending officers to their calls. Two-way radios were installed in the two patrol cars and had a base station installed at the Police Station. With this new system, the desk Sergeant would receive a telephone call from the public requesting the police. He would then talk directly with the officers on patrol via the new two-way radio. Not everyone could adapt to this new communications equipment. Many Desk Sergeants were discovered to be microphone shy. Rather than talking directly into the microphone to their officers, a few Sergeants found if more comfortable to call the county police radio station by telephone and have the county dispatcher communicate with the Anaheim patrolmen.
On March 3, 1938, a major flood hit Southern California. Rains struck the area hard, requiring officers to put in additional hours of hard work. Officer Grant Rude recalled being stuck in an intersection and seeing railroad ties come floating down the street. People were even using boats to cross Broadway and Los Angles Streets (now Anaheim Boulevard).
Because of the hazardous conditions, Chief Bouldin found himself required to close the entire city to visitors, approving the issuance of passes only to Anaheim city residents. Gun-toting National Guardsmen and Legionnaires were called in to assist the department in combating looters.