COMPSTAT Citywide Profile
To Protect and To Serve

CHIEF'S MESSAGE – August 2006

One of the most difficult jobs of any law enforcement organization is to build trust with a skeptical public.  By its very nature, policing is a job of enforcement.  Cops are considered bad guys because they force people to follow the law.  While what we do doesn’t always make for good public relations, our job is vital to preserving a free democratic society.

Everyday, the men and women of this Department are working hard to foster and gain the trust of the communities we work with.  Through a commitment to transparency and positive institutional change the Department continues to restore community confidence in the LAPD and markedly reduce crime.  These changes would not have been possible without a workforce comprised of civic-minded individuals committed to best practices in policing.

But to truly fulfill our vision to make LA the safest big city in the nation, I need more talented, hard working, dedicated cops.  Over the past several years my goals for the Department have remained the same – reduce crime and the fear it instills, fully implement the Consent Decree, and prevent and respond to acts of terrorism.  Now, I’m adding recruitment as my 4th goal.   

Over the next five years, the LAPD will be hiring 1,000 recruits, beginning with 650 new hires in fiscal year 2006/2007.  As we work to achieve recruitment and other Department goals we must remember that community partnerships built on trust will effect long-term social change in this City. It is my belief that transparency in our day-to-day operations inspires public support.  But transparency goes both ways.  We need to know, in a way that is not filtered through the media, what the public thinks about the job we are doing.

A few months ago the Department launched this new blog as a web-based tool to serve as a window into the LAPD.  As an online, interactive journal used to deliver real-time, unfiltered information, it has done a number of things to promote transparency.  It has allowed the Department to respond to criticism or misrepresentations without having our responses edited; it lets us gauge the public’s pulse; and it encourages that two-way communication.

Since its May launch, the blog has had over a 100,000 visits, averaging almost 2,000 daily.  In its brief existence, more than 500 comments have been generated in response to Department postings.  The Department reviews comments to ensure that they do not contain inappropriate remarks or profanity and they do not appear on our web log until approved.

At the outset, this blog’s primary purpose was to engage a local audience in open dialogue about current events.  It has done that and more.  Throughout the country and around the world—from the United Kingdom to Mexico—bloggers are blogging.

In May, for instance, a major counterfeiting-operation shutdown in Downtown Los Angeles prompted a flurry of discussion. During the two-day raid, officers seized $18.4 million worth of counterfeit designer-brand merchandise.

Regularly monitored by our command staff, sworn and civilian personnel, this blog item prompted our own people to participate in the online discussion.  Deputy Chief Mark Leap, Commanding Officer, LAPD Counter Terrorism Bureau, replied to a blogger who questioned the operation’s merit.  Deputy Chief Leap wrote, “Since September 11th, law enforcement in general, not just the LAPD, has linked counterfeit goods to terrorist funding… [These] investigations have resulted in disruptions of [terrorist activities] and should continue to be the focus of the LAPD.”

Another news item that generated many comments was the shooting of LAPD Officer Kristina Ripatti on June 3.  Bloggers expressed concern, empathy, and encouragement for Officer Ripatti, who suffered serious wounds after being struck twice by gunfire.

Similarly, a “Los Angeles Daily News” editorial titled, “Lowered Standards,” prompted rapid-fire dialogue.  The article referenced a proposal by Councilman Bernard Parks. The policy sought to reinstate a zero-tolerance mandate that would disqualify police officer candidates with any history of drug use.

In this instance, the blog allowed me to comment on the proposed policy and the subsequent “Daily News” article.  It gave me the opportunity to explain that our standards have, in fact, increased—in many respects—but that we have a practical and flexible hiring approach.  My response generated almost 30 comments. 

The torrent of e-chatter truly testifies to the blog’s success. Though the Department reserves the right to withhold comments that contain profanity or other inappropriate material, it does not shy away from posting criticism.

As this blog matures we will continue to expand its content, including sections for each geographic area.  Transparency, either through the media, our website—LAPDonline.org—or the LAPD Blog, helps us to connect with people in the communities we protect and serve. As we connect we are fostering trust and building the kinds of community relationships and partnerships that we need to be a successful and respected law enforcement organization.

WILLIAM J. BRATTON
Chief of Police

Comments

The fact that opinions that are contrary to those of the LAPD are posted is a huge step in the right direction for citizens of LA, such as myself, to regain confidence in the LAPD. It's unrealistic to expect to be able to please all of the people all of the time.

I hope that other City departments and agencies follow the path of the LAFD and LAPD. It's refreshing to have this level of interaction with those who work to make our City go 'round.

JQP

There are many different opinions about cops. Personally, I think that law and order must exist in order to maintain peace. Peace ensures that we live a life free from any major problems.

I am currently in Iraq working as a Police advisor to the Minister of Interior as a Community Policing Specialist. I will bring this blog to P/R commander at my next meeting. I hope to have at least the ground work laid for Community Policing before I leave in Nov. I think this will help to show the concept works. Thanks

I'm glad to hear Chief Bratton mention recruitment as his 4th goal and that the department has a more practical and flexible approach in the hiring process. I was a candidate for the position of police officer just recently, but I was disqualified because of a minor color vision problem. I was moving along the process quickly by passing every step of the process. I did not have to re-take any of the requierements twice. My background is clean and I was ready to start Academy, not until the medical part came. It seems like these doctors that work for the city have the last word on who gets on the department and who does not. It is unfortunately that they do not want to spend a little extra time to really find out the degree of the problem in my case colorvision. There are lots of well qualified candidates out there that are being turned down because of people don't want to dig a little bit more and maybe give these candidates a chance. I'm very much pro-police and I hope things chage and some day I will be giving the opportunity to serve the citizens of Los Angeles. Thanks

DT,

Typical! Let me guess, you're a white male?? Although you need to see variations of colors as a police officer, it sounds like there may be more to the story or at least it's worth them looking into a bit more.

Nevertheless, if you are a white male they found the reason that they needed for a quick DQ!

This was a post from another heading but I think it is relivant under any heading....

This is why the Officers and Citizens are so upset with the supervision and leadership of the LAPD. As I wrote before about the robbers terrorizing the Valley: Monday morning about 2:00 A.M., a citizen walks into North Hollywood Station, she tells the desk officer she saw three men in a car putting on ski masks and gloves, to the rear of a business( I won't go into details, for investigative reasons) The desk officer notifies N. Hollywood Watch commander, who seems mildly interested.

A broadcast goes out and two hardworking patrol officers respond quickly. a foot pursuit ensues and the officers broadcast they are chasing 3 posssible robbery suspects, who are wearing ski masks and gloves, a perimeter is set-up. It happened Metropolitan Division was working N. Hollywood that night and was near end of watch, Metro responded and assited with N. Hollywwod.

Two of three suspects were caught very quickly. K-9 arrived and units were ready to search for the third suspect. A patrol supervisor then inquired if there was an actual robbery. There was not, so in his infinite wisdom told officers there was no crime and ordered the perimeter shutdown.

How about conspiracy, or maybe the 50 or so robberies that have occurred. This is an example of the poor leadership LAPD has. If this doesn't upset you then I guess you are fit for LAPD management. Every Officer out there was highly upset, but their hands are tied.

If an officer made this decision, I know a "Neglect of Duty" would soon follow, but a supervisor made it so it will be fine.

It is sad to see this happen. I just wish there was someone in LAPD leadership could see what is really happening and take action. Nunbers are not the sollution to everything!

Jeff,

No, I'm not white. I'm Asian and I understand that officers need to see diferent colors, but there are different degrees of color blindness and that they should test a little further. I know LASD does though.

DT,

Stay motivated and pursue your goals. There are a ton of local agencies that are aggressive, hard-charging and get the job done while they offer better retirement packages, much higher pay, benefits, etc. Most importantly, command staffs that have the intestinal fortitude to publicly support and back their officers when they are in the right despite the vocal minority's skewed and uninformed opinions.

Law enforcement needs officers that are dedicated to a career rather than just a job.

Keep at it and good luck!!

Police coverup...when: 8/22/06 to 8/23/06 where: outside the caltrans building.

EAA Union had a strike on those days, one protester gets hit by a car while crossing the street.
The LAPD units watching over the protesters chase after the car. Turns out the car that hit the pedestrian was an undercover officer (dumbshit)...police take the EAA striker to police station to sign some form he will not pursue charges against the department or that office since he was not seriously hurt...this is a damn cover up by LAPD...search the paper work on 8/22 and 8/23...crime logs should show this happening unless it was wiped out...

Jeff,
Thanks for those words of motivation and understanding. As a matter of fact I'm waiting for my appeal to be heard by a board of commisioners. We'll see what happens. I have friends that are in the PD, and also tell me to keep at it.

Thanks

DT,

I'm facing the color vision problem myself as well. So far I haven't found a single department in the US that hires even if a candidate only has a mild color vision deficiency. Hopefully we can see some changes in this matter in the future, if not for us, then at least for future applicants.


Let me start out by saying I really appreciate this forum to help improve relations between LAPD and the public. I have always respected the police. When the media portrays "police brutality" I have always felt that if the person were obeying the law, they would not have gotten into the situation which caused the problem in the first place. I am a RN and have worked in situations where my safety was sometimes compromised, so I understand the adrenaline rush which can switch in when there is danger.

That being said, I have wanted to express my deep, deep disappointment over an incident that happened to me about a year ago. I was driving through the San Fernando Valley with my seatbelt in place. (I have worn seatbelts before cars had them because my father worked at an airbase and he installed airplane seatbelts in our car when I was a child). I NEVER leave my driveway without a seatbelt on. Any one who knows me and has ridden in my car would attest to this and doctors and coworkers all volunteered to write a personal reference to attest to my honesty.

So...after a motorcycle officer circled my car 4 times, making 3 U-turns to do so, he pulled me over. I sat there, afraid to take my hands off the wheel of my car because I wanted to keep them in plain sight. All the while, I kept wondering what I had done. When he approached my car, he introduced himself and told me I wasn't wearing a seatbelt, even though it was on when he saw me! When I pointed out that it was on he said, "It wasn't on when I first saw you." When I asked when I was supposed to have put it on since he circled my car 4 times, (twice from over 3 lanes away) he said, "You have the right to go court and contest the ticket." I assured him I would, although I told him at the time, that no one would believe me since it was going to be his word against mine and he was the officer. I did become rather irate at the time and at first refused to sign the citation until he told me he would take me in if I did not sign it. I was so angry when I signed the citation and the adrenaline was going so much I literally couldn't even sign my own name my hands were shaking so bad! When I asked to see his ID since he now had all my personal information, he simply said his name was on the ticket and would not show me his ID.

So...I went to court, never expecting to win, but felt I needed to at least express my side of the story. I NEVER expected what happened. I guess I am just naive, but the officer blatantly lied under oath. He began by saying, "Maybe you saw another police officer circling...street, but it wasn't me." I hadn't even brought that point up yet. When I asked him if he ever saw me put my seatbelt on, he said, "Yes, and I told you that on the morning I stopped you." I was flabbergasted! My mouth dropped open since he totally lied about the whole situation. He did manage to remember that I became, as he said, "hostile". I admitted to that, although I guess I wasn't exactly hostile so much as very upset with being accused of not wearing a seatbelt when it was on and essentially being accused of a lier. He said he was right next to me when he first saw me, when, in fact he was at least 3 lanes away. I know he circled my car three times, I had him in constant view from the time he first stared at me 3 lanes away, until he made the U-turn behing me, in front of me and behind me for the 3rd time. When I asked why he refused to show me his ID on the day he gave me the citation, the ruling judge pointed out that the officer was sworn in, and I had no right to ask that question. So, I guess the fact that I was also sworn in didn't mean anything. He apparently was more sworn in than me!!

I was so totally disheartened by the entire thing. At first I was going to file a formal complaint, but talked to several police officers at my church who encouraged me not to bother. So I decided to let it go, and, frankly, I am a little afraid to make an issue out of it. I feel that if this officer could lie so well under oath, what else is he capable of? He has my address, and I would rather just let it go. It isn't worth putting my life in danger over a stupid seatbelt ticket!

That being said, I am grateful to at least express how I feel. As the stated purpose of this forum is to improve relationships with the publc I thought it important to express how one incident, which is seemingly small can change FOREVER how the public views the police. I no longer will drive that same street (or even that division) even though I had to go out of my way to work each morning. Even now, to this day, I freeze when I see a policeman if I am driving. I no longer believe that if you obey the law you will not get in trouble. It really grieves me to think this is so. I understand police are human too and just as capable as the next guy to make a mistake. I went to court trying to show that he simply missed seeing my seatbelt on that day and left feeling totally like the victim. I do not trust the police any more unless I personally know them. Where I never expected to win that court date (I told the officer that at the time he issued the ticket)I did expect to be on a fair playing ground.
Anonymous

Antti:

Were you in the process with LAPD as well? I wonder what % of candidates are turned away. According to POST, they should perform what's called an enviromental test if none of the previous tests are not passed. Pick up a LASD application and read the colorvision section, I think we might have a chance with them. Hopefully they could be more practical about this matter.

Jessica: You are the very reason why a lot of Policeman HATE the public.

The way you acted during the encounter is the exact OPPOSITE of how one should act.

What would possess you to refuse to sign the cite? Do you refuse to pay your bill if you aren't satisfied with a meal at a restaurant?

You're lucky that you pulled that stunt with the LAPD, another agency might have pulled you out of the car via the vent window.

To make matters worse, you ask the Officer for his id because "he had your personal information".

Are you 6 yrs old? What were you trying to achieve other than playing 'tit for tat'?

If you have a disagreement with an employee at a clothing store, do you ask to see the person's id?

Please re-evaluate your behavior and maybe the next time you'll be given a warning instead of a cite.

Dennis,

No I was not in the recruitment process. I live abroad so it really makes no sense for me to just move into town and give it a shot. I do, however, hope that some day I'd find someone who has color vision deficiency and has been accepted to a PD somewhere in the US, perhaps after taking the kind of test you mentioned above.

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