While the month of August finds the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department on the streets working hard to keep our communities safe, some new and positive changes at the Department should help to make their jobs easier. These changes are improvements that will help each and every member of this Department- sworn and civilian- on a daily basis.
NEW FORMS REPOSITORY
First, Planning and Research Division has just launched the new Forms Repository on the Department Local Area Network, or LAN, homepage of our internal website. The repository is the go-to destination for any Department form staff may need in the course of their regular workday. In the repository, staff will find a total of 589 forms. Each is easily accessible, in its most current version, and ready for use. A new internet-based software, IBM Workplace Forms, enables any form to be filled out, printed, and saved to a drive or disk. The Forms Repository replaces the previous database, Forms Filler, which housed only 200 forms and was less user-friendly.
By making this upgrade to the new repository, the Department will save money in both printing and labor costs, a positive fiscal benefit given this year’s tight budget. We also take a step toward going “green,” an environmentally responsible and necessary measure in this age of global warming. Lastly, by changing the way Department forms are revised and accessed- and providing all employees with new or revised forms immediately as directives are published the Department achieves compliance with standards set by the Consent Decree.
Equipping our Sworn Officers with the latest in crime-fighting technology is a major priority for the Department. We have been field testing a new and improved stun device, the TASER X26. The premiere device for law enforcement, the X26 can reach a distance of 21 feet and is also less bulky, lighter in weight and easier to carry on the officer’s belt than previous models. The field testing yielded a positive result and we are now budgeted for the purchase of up to 1,200 of these devices. This purchase is now in the preliminary stages.
While testing the X26, we also began testing an innovative camera device that can be affixed to the X26, which videotapes the suspect’s actions during activation. The field testing of these TASER “cams” is to culminate in September, at which time we will evaluate the cameras and the feasibility of purchasing a quantity of the cameras. I will keep you informed on the TASER initiative in the near future.
PREVENTABLE TRAFFIC COLLISION POLICY POINT SYSTEM
I have often talked about my efforts to bring about a change to our discipline philosophy, and bring an end to the “gotcha” mentality by giving employees a chance to correct their behavior without the formality of a personnel complaint.
One effort to this end comes to us courtesy of Police Commission Vice President Alan Skobin, who requested we create a new traffic collision policy for accidents that are not the result of misconduct. Mr. Skobin, who is also a Los Angeles County Reserve Deputy Sheriff, recommended we create a policy similar to that of the Sheriff’s Department, which employs a point count system. Our new Preventable Traffic Collision Policy will impact traffic accidents that are found to be preventable, but are not the result of misconduct, using this same type of point system.
The new policy categorizes preventable traffic accidents that result from ordinary inattention as a matter that can be corrected, and not misconduct, subject to a personnel complaint. The point system will assign a number value to a traffic accident based on its level of seriousness. The number value of the points, coupled with a review from Department management, will deliver officer accountability for these accidents, rather than a personnel complaint. After the review, refresher training will help improve the officer’s performance and at the same time provide the officer an opportunity to reduce accrued points. The policy has been approved by the Police Commission and is now in the meetand- confer process.
INCIDENT MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING BUREAU
While we are now several months past the event that took place in MacArthur Park on May 1st, what happened on that day leaves room for improvement in the way we manage crowds and the media at marches and rallies. Within weeks of May 1st, I created the new Incident Management and Training Bureau (IMTB,) led by Deputy Chief Michael Hillmann. A seasoned Department veteran, and the ideal person for the job, Chief Hillmann and his group are tasked with developing and coordinating a set of universal and highly refined critical incident management strategies, tactics and training for the Department to adopt and employ. IMTB is working to create the protocols that this Department will rely on to take us into the future.
IMTB opened up shop just last month and the people in that group have been working aggressively to develop new training initiatives. One of their most urgent orders of business is 21st Century Mobile Field Force Doctrine Training, which began on July 10, 2007. This endeavor is designed to provide modern crowd management training to all Department uniform personnel. The training sessions will be conducted by Area, one day at a time, on-site at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos. This day of training will be information-rich and consist of both classroom instruction and practical application in the field. Chief Hillmann compiled the training curriculum from a variety of sources, including federal and state entities, as well as the Police Protective League. The League is also generously providing lunch to all attendees. This training is mandatory and I expect every uniformed officer to report to these training sessions with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
These are but a few of the new developments taking place here in our Department. The Department is constantly working to improve the experience we offer our officers, so their workdays are improved and they can perform more efficiently and safely. Easy access to bureaucratic forms, state-of-the-art taser devices, a workable traffic accident system, and the Incident Management and Training Bureau are examples of the Department’s response to needs that have become apparent. It is my responsibility, as Chief, to serve these needs. I ask that our officers, in turn, remain focused on their responsibilities so that we continue to ensure this is a Department that we and the people of Los Angeles can be proud of.