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Chief's November Message

As I begin my fifth year as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, I want to update you on the many projects and improvements that we have made and ones we are considering for the future.  Although many of these are still in the conceptual design, or bidding phase, they represent the forward thinking and progressive movement of the Department. These projects illustrate the Department's efforts to embrace "best practices in policing," and encourage the men and women of the the LAPD to continue their outstanding work in making Los Angeles an even safer city.

Over the past year we have accomplished a lot to improve Department Operations, take crime fighting into the 21st Century, and improve officer safety. One successful and popular improvement has been the decision to use selected models of the Glock semi-automatic pistol as an optional duty weapon. I believe it's a superior weapon and recruits in the academy are now issued the 40-caliber Glock pistol. Seventy percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide use Glocks. Although initially there was a problem with the 45 caliber model not firing correctly, all 1,800 of the models purchased by LAPD officers have been retrofitted and are now working well in the field.

As reported a few months ago, Training Division has 25 new state-of-the-art Force Option Simulators. Each geographic Area now has one and the Tactics Unit has trained at least one Divisional Training Coordinator in each of the 19 geographic Areas and four Traffic Divisions. Traffic Division personnel will be able to use the simulators at the geographic Areas. This is an excellent example of the Department's move toward a more decentralized approach to training by providing opportunities at the officer's assigned Area or Division rather than at just two or three facilities across the City.

On the issue of the new LAPD flashlight, after extensive field testing of prototypes, a vendor was selected and is currently working to mass-produce the individual components for assembly. The first delivery of approximately 4,300 flashlights is expected in December. Training Division is currently working on a distribution plan to get these new flashlights in the hands of all LAPD officers and recruits.

In August, the Police Commission approved the Department's request to move forward with the puchase of new X26 TASER's for field and Detective personnel. This new TASER model is 60 percent smaller and lighter than the model currently in use by the Department. It can easily be worn on the belt. Having this tool readily available for use will help reduce injuries to both officers and suspects. The Department is currently working on funding for the TASER's while Training Division is moving ahead with plans for training and distribution.

Regarding the revised Vehicle Pursuit Policy and the use of the Pursuit Intervention Techniques or PIT maneuver, as of late September, more than 2,200 officers from all 19 geographic Areas and four Traffic Divisions have been trained. Training Division personnel are working with Bureau Training Coordinators to ensure that all officers assigned to patrol are trained on the PIT maneuver by this time next year. Also relevant to the Vehicle Pursuit Policy, a large number of officers assigned to patrol or traffic functions have been trained in the deployment of the "Stop Stick" tire deflation device. From May 2005 through August 2006, there have heen 20 successfully implemented PIT maneuvers that have stopped potentially dangerous pursuit situations before becoming a threat to the public. Also during that time frame there have been eight successful deployments of the "Stop Stick."

On the issue of In-Car Digital Video, the City Council has given the Department the go ahead to install the system in all patrol vehicles in South Bureau. We hope to select a vendor by the end of this year, and have all South Bureau patrol vehicles equipped by the end of fiscal year June 2007. Ultimately, and depending on funding, we anticipate outfitting patrol vehicles in each geographic Bureau at a rate of one Bureau per year. In-Car Digital Video ensures transparency, accountability, and officer integrity, and will provide concrete evidence for officers being investigated on allegations of misconduct, but more importantly aid in the investigation of criminal activity.

Another technology project approved by the City Council is the automatic License Plate Recognition System. Money has been set aside to outfit one patrol vehicle per geographic Area. The system has the ability to scan, recognize, and process the license plate numbers of several hundred cars in a manner of seconds.

Technology is truly the key to increasing the Department's effectiveness as we continue to fight and reduce crime with limited resources. Several pilot programs are in the works relating to increasing technology available in patrol vehicles, including the "Star Chase" electronic tracking system. This pursuit management tool consists of a projectile launched from a patrol vehicle-mounted device. The projectile adheres to the suspect vehicle, enabling police officers to monitor its location through a global positioning system receiver, often reducing the need for a high-speed pursuit.

Yet another technology pilot project currently being tested in Southeast Area is video downlink. The system will connect patrol vehicles to real-time video being recorded from surveillance cameras from around the area. This gives patrol officers situational awareness, providing them with more information on which to base their decisions. And in both Rampart and Southeast Area, officers are testing facial-recognition technology. This programs works digitally capturing and analyzing facial images for comparison and identification.

As I stated earlier, these projects were initiated to improve and position the Department as leaders in the use of cutting edge technological advancements. When combined with the will and determination of the men and women of this Department, we will have the tools needed to continue to reduce crime. Let's face it, with too few cops, we need cutting edge technology to give us an edge on the criminals so that one day we will achieve our goal of making Los Angeles the safest large city in America.   

Comments

I have a question. Why do I see officers using personal cell phones to communicate when responding to calls ? Is this glaring gap in communication needs being addressed ?

This is and officer safety issue. It is now time for the Department to look at LASER sights for those superior Glocks. I have excellent distance vision. But, starting at about age 40, the ability of my eyes to focus on close objects, i.e., reading small print and seeing the front sight blade of my pistol, has deteriorated. I need reading glasses to read and to see a "sight picture" when I qualify. It is unrealistic to think that, should I find myself in a combat situation, unless seated "in the library," that I would have time to whip on my reading glasses to sight my Glock.

I know there is some resistance within the ranks of the shooting elites on the Department to adopt LASER sights, and they have some valid concerns. But, everyone's ability to focus on near objects, and in dim lighting, diminishes with time. What I am saying is, we need LASER sights to compensate for our decreasing ability to focus close-up. Also, that small red dot playing on the chest of our intended bad-boy target may, just maybe, persuade him to peacefully surrender.

Any comments from those that have experience using LASER sights?

To Sk:
The reason we use cell phones when responding to calls is because the person reporting the crimes, many times, does not want to be identified in person out of fear of being retaliated against. Which in many cases could mean being targeted by a gang for death. So they reporting party will often ask to be contacted by phone. Now this means that if we are to get the most current real time intelligence on the suspects and weather or not they are armed and their direction of travel, etc., it is crucial that we speak to them on the phone. I know to the outside eye it does not look that great, but we are using everything we can to try and make you safer. I can't speak for every Officer on the phone, but I can only speak to the question you asked. The radios that we have were supposed to be able to be used as phones, but they are not authorized to be used as such. I hope this answered your question.
Also these new Dell computers that we have in the patrol cars are horrible. They don't even work 75% of the time! I have a Dell at home and love it, but it is not made to take the abuse of LA roads and the rigors of Law Enforcement nor the elements of everyday use in a patrol car. Big failure on the part of the City in paying for these things without the proper research.
Some of the technology that the Chief described is going to help us in the field greatly, but what we really NEED is the less high tech tools to do the job with. We on the LAPD do not need a Stealth bomber, we need M16A4's (for every field Officer) and more slug shotguns! Most Officers will pay for them with their own money, at a huge savings to the city! I keep hearing that the training Division has done the research and written up the paper work, but that the paper work is SITTING ON THE CHIEFS DESK?!?!?!? Waiting to be signed?!? Also MORE REALITY BASED TRAINING and less computer elearning.

To All my fellow Warrior coppers, Stay Safe!

Ed O'Shea

OFFICER'S DEATH PROMPTS STUDY OF REFLECTIVE VESTS

I was pleased to read in todays L.A. Times that the Chief and the department are looking into "providing officers with reflective vests to wear when investigating traffic incidents at night."

Please see also my comments here on 22 Oct 2006.

However, please don't waste time and money on a study...this is a no-brainer...even the local supermarket requires employees to wear a reflective vest when gathering carts.

Buy the vests...tell people to wear them.

All that new equipment sounds cool, but why don't you just hire more officers or send some of the people hiding in all those admin jobs back to patrol. You might want to start hiring now because when the DROP officers leave...well I don't have to tell you whats going to happen. We don't need all this fancy equipment, we need more PATROL officers. And seriously, I highly doubt we patrol coppers are ever going to be allowed to have any type of projectile shooting from our car, let's get real. Every night I have to go to the kitroom before roll call just so I can find a black and white with an old MDT because the new ones suck!
Spend the money on officers, not equpiment that won't work.
-P

"Ed O'Shea" just a suggestion; please provide contact information in your post, so that Dell can respond to your issues. Respectful regards,

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