S.C.A.F.O.'s history is a compilation that began in with 1967 S.C.A.F.O.'s Historian Russell R. Bradford for that year’s Anniversary Celebration, with updates by James E. Lawson, Historian William B. Corson, and Editor Alan McRoberts to complete the history through to 1997.   

We wish to thank all who have provided historical information, materials, and assistance in this effort.

We are always collecting photos, and biographical information on our Past Presidents. Please make your submissions to our webmaster.

In 1936 the first steps were taken to form an association that would later be known as the “Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers”.  This is also the year the Axis Powers began to move in Europe.  Germany marched into the Rhineland while Italy invaded and conquered the small country of Ethiopia. The Berlin Olympics were held and Jesse Owens of the U.S.A. won the 100, 200 Meters and the Broad Jump on the historic third try.

In America, Lou Gehrig with 49 homers, and rookie Joe DiMaggio led the New York Yankees to the World Series Championship over the Giants; Paul Muni won the Academy Award for his performance in the “Story of Louis Pasteur”; Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President for his second term with a victory over Alf Landon;  The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage and one year later, Amelia Earhart Putnam was lost over the Pacific.

During the year 1936, Fingerprint Officers began meeting informally at various Police Departments over a cup of coffee and doughnuts. “Classification of Fingerprints” by the F.B.I. was not printed until 1939, and the experts would meet to discuss classification of fingerprints.  The “International Association of Identification, California State Division” met in Santa Monica for the Twenty-First Annual Convention with Charles Ogie of Sacramento presiding.  One of the high-light speeches was “The Iodine-Silver Transfer Method for Recording Latent Fingerprints” illustrated with large exhibits and presented by John McMorris of Pasadena.  W. A. “Bill” Snare of Bakersfield was installed President and Rudy Vallee provided the entertainment.

After the 1936 Conference, the possibility of organizing a Southern California Association was discussed.  A By-Laws Committee was appointed consisting of A.W. Mallery, Santa Monica Police Department; Sam Baxter, Glendora Police Department; Scott Smith, Monrovia Police Department, and R. H. Swain, Manhattan beach Police Department.  The Committee composed and agreed upon the “Constitution and By-Laws” for an Association later to be named the Southern California Association of Fingerprint Officers in September of 1936.

In 1937, the informal meetings continued, led by Vern Matson, Bob Rogers - LASO; Bob Nelson, Carl Hartmeyer - Beverly Hills; Dan Munns, Harland Stahl - LAPD; Charles Wolford - SAPD; Carl Setzer -So. Pasadena; Roy Standard - Huntington Park; and the members of the By-Laws Committee already listed.

A portion of the artwork on the original charter membership cards served as the S.C.A.F.O. logo for many years. The association’s name adorned with wings atop an ornately bordered shield containing a fingerprint and a camera reflected the styling and taste of the era in which it was originally drawn. The fingerprint portion of the design was included on the association’s banner created in 1962.

Original Charter Membership Card Number 30


Many board discussions about the logo have been held over the years. The board recognized the need for a contemporary logo with a design that could be reproduced completely on a banner and replicated in print.

In anticipation of the Diamond Anniversary, the association leadership decided to have a new logo design created. A number of designs were submitted and ultimately the new logo was selected.  

This logo reflects the association’s commitment to “Standardization, Training, & Professionalism”. The “sight picture” is targeting a fingerprint in Southern California. The print is the mirror image of the print on the original logo. This reflects the association’s determination to continue building on the success of the past. The reversal gives a forward direction to the pattern and converts the often misunderstood “12” to “21”, a widely used short-form for the Twenty-First Century.  

The statement “Since 1937" establishes the maturity of the organization without fixing the logo in time. The use of the familiar traced print and core/axis markings, which will shortly become obsolete, provide historical value from the current era.  

The concept, design and artwork provided by Thomas W. Jones exceeded the original desires and provides great meaning and historical significance to the logo. This new trademark has become the recognized symbol of what S.C.A.F.O. represents as we move forward into the twenty-first century.