Prior to her 27-year career with the Los Angeles Police Department, Connie Dial was a journalist who worked as a reporter and photographer for a chain of newspapers in the San Gabriel Valley and later as an editor for a trade magazine. She briefly wrote news for a local television station.
She joined the LAPD as a police officer in 1969 but left because at that time women couldn’t promote higher than sergeant and were given very limited assignments. When she returned in 1973 as a police officer, she was among the four women in the first academy class who would be allowed to work as patrol officers and whose promotional opportunities would be unlimited.
She worked patrol for a year and was asked to be an undercover officer for the intelligence division where she reported on groups who planned the overthrow of the U.S. government. After being arrested during a riot in downtown L.A. she left that assignment to testify on behalf of officers who were injured during the melee.
After being promoted to detective, she was assigned to narcotics division where she was the first woman to work the field enforcement section. She arrested street drug dealers, served search warrants, and made undercover buys. With her partner she arrested several members of the Black Guerilla Family, a notorious prison gang. As an undercover officer she bought heroin from Jimmy Lee Smith, the paroled Onion Field killer, and he was returned to prison.
In 1985, she was asked to join a new special surveillance squad for Internal Affairs Division. The unit investigated police officers accused of using or selling narcotics or participating in other criminal activities.
As a lieutenant watch commander in the Newton Division in South Central L.A., she was on duty the night the Rodney King riots started and worked 12-hour shifts for a month following the riot. She has always admired the hard-working men and women of Newton Division who kept the city intact and innocent citizens safe during that very difficult and dangerous time.
Her career as a commanding officer began in West Los Angeles as a patrol captain. She was there during the earthquake and was the commanding officer who responded to the Nicole Simpson/Ron Goldman homicides. She spent most of the early morning hours watching the WLA detectives do a thorough and professional job at the crime scene before the decision was made to give the investigation to the Robbery Homicide Division.
After returning to the Narcotics Division as the captain for the Field Enforcement Section, she was promoted as the area commanding officer for the Hollywood Division. Hollywood was a productive, high-energy division where she promoted community policing and had an active successful youth program as well as one of the best Community Police Advisory Boards in the city. She received several commendations for community policing and recognition for her work in the community including the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Women of Distinction award. She was rated highly by her officers and at the time of her retirement was the only female area commanding officer in the department.
She graduated from the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA and is a member of the FBI National Academy Associates; the International Association of Chiefs of Police; the California Police Officers Association; and a lifetime member of the California Narcotic Officers Association. She serves on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Police Relief Association and on the Los Angeles Police Relief and Assistance Foundation board.
She lives in Southern California with her husband, retired Police Detective Jon Dial, and two Yorkshire Terriers, Bogart and Bacall.