In this month’s message, I want to update you on several issues and projects we have been working on to help you reduce crime in the City of Los Angeles. First, we are making headway in the area of sworn deployment. For the first time since November 21, 1999, the Department is deploying more than 9,500 sworn personnel. As of March 4, 2007, our sworn count was 9,503.
Helping to further augment our ranks, the Voluntary Recall Ordinance, or “Bounce” Program, will go before the full City Council for a vote. The Bounce Program effectively extends the DROP Program’s end date and will allow officers from the ranks of Lieutenant and below to be hired back by the Department after retirement for a period of up to twelve months, as needed. The Department will bring back employees that are deemed necessary for critical selective assignments.
There has been much discussion from officers concerning the new Dell 610 Mobile Data Computers, or MDCs. Some of the problems regarding syncing issues between the laptops and the modems are caused by the MDCs not being properly shut down at the end of watch. Not only should officers log off, they also should shut down the MDC using the proper procedure after each watch. This should eliminate any possible syncing problems for officers on the next watch. Understanding there are issues and challenges surrounding the MDCs, the personnel in the Information and Communications Services Bureau are working to formulate a permanent solution. As recently as last month in Southwest Area, ICSB was field-testing a solution relating to the docking station issues. Additionally, on June 5, 2007, a new mobile application will be launched to further resolve several of the MDC related concerns.
Regarding TEAMS II and our continuing efforts to reach compliance with the Consent Decree, the first Action Items, providing supervisors with up-to-date employee risk management information, were sent through the automated Risk Management System in January. Use of Force related Action Items were sent in February. By the time you read this message, the system will be able to initiate all other risk management Action Items, including those related to complaints, traffic collisions, and pursuits for supervisors to investigate and act on.
The Complaint Management System became operational for Professional Standards Bureau in November and in February, Central Bureau was able to input complaints directly into the system. By the end of April, the remaining three bureaus should also be up and online.
TEAMS II personnel, actively working with field supervisors, have identified system enhancements to make the Use of Force System more userfriendly. The development of these upgrades should begin over the next few months.
Through the input of officers and detectives, several modifications to the new Department flashlights have taken place. These modifications caused some delays in the delivery of the flashlights from the vendor. Shipments of flashlights from the vendor to Supply Division will begin the first week of April. The new flashlights will be distributed to the geographic Areas in South Bureau first, followed by geographic Areas in Valley Bureau, Central Bureau and then West Bureau. Once you receive the new flashlight, you will no longer be allowed to carry the traditional flashlight.
These new flashlights have a threeway switching system for tactical use and a 90-minute running time. They emit 135 lumens of light from a lightemitting diode or LED. Because of the LED technology, these flashlights will not dim as the batteries run low. Therefore, a five-minute warning alarm has been incorporated into the unit. Additionally, these flashlights utilize state-of-the-art lithium batteries that will hold up to 1,000 charges.
And one more thing regarding the new flashlights: their primary use is for illumination. The Department discourages the use of flashlights as an impact device. Consistent with the Use of Force policy, the use of the flashlight as an impact device shall be reported, and its use will be critically reviewed.
On the topic of the installation of In-Car Digital Video, we have started contract negotiations with IBM to provide this new technology. South Bureau patrol vehicles will be the first to be outfitted with this technology that ensures transparency and accountability, and that provides concrete evidence for officers being investigated on allegations of misconduct. We have requested funding for the 2007-2008 fiscal year to install In-Car Digital Video in an additional bureau with the goal of having this technology deployed Citywide as soon as possible.
The new Force Option Simulators have been distributed to the 19 geographic Areas with each station receiving one unit. Two simulators each have been delivered to the Davis Training Facility and the Elysian Park Academy, and one has been delivered to the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center for the use of the Pacific Area LAX Field Services Division. These simulators are now up and running and the feedback has been very positive. Some areas, like Newton, have even created a special room for the training tool. The new Force Option Simulators are state-of-the-art and provide realistic training previously not available to us.
And finally, I want to remind everyone of the importance of complying with the Fair Labor and Standards Act. Employees have an obligation to request overtime approval from supervisors and to submit overtime slips in a timely manner. Likewise, the Department has an obligation to compensate employees for extended hours worked. Watch commanders, watch supervisors, and other employees are not permitted to work uncompensated overtime to prepare for roll call or any other duties. A failure to follow these rules is misconduct and will lead to disciplinary action. These rules and policies will be vigorously enforced and I expect full compliance with this policy.
So, as our sworn numbers are growing and we make additions and improvements to our technology and procedures, we continue on the path toward meeting our goals of reducing crime, dismantling gangs, complying with the Consent Decree, and becoming the safest big city in the country. Each of you has an integral role to play in these efforts. I have no doubt that we will succeed because of your professionalism, skills, commitment and integrity. You are second to none.