Last month I focused my message on the many positive changes that have occurred here at the Los Angeles Police Department over the past five years. As I begin my second term as Chief of Police, it’s an appropriate time to talk about a number of additional initiatives. They represent more of our efforts to achieve best practices, and I believe they are further evidence of our commitment to one of the Department’s Core Values: QualityThrough Continuous Improvement.
Throughout my 37-year career, I have always dealt with adversity and controversial issues and incidents forthrightly and transparently. I always seek to learn from both success and failure and to emerge from crisis, controversy, and challenge better informed and strengthened. As I have
previously discussed with you, in reference to the events in MacArthur Park on May 1st, much of what happened that day was inconsistent with the way we normally perform our duties and responsibilities. But even though it was a setback for us as a proud Department, confident of our skills, reputation and capabilities, we have learned some very valuable lessons. We must embrace and move forward with the lessons learned and articulated in my October 9th report to the Police Commission, that provide the framework for developing and institutionalizing “best practices” for future events. As that report so succinctly shows, training- constant, regularly updated training- as well as modern technology and comprehensive, coordinated planning, are essential elements for the successful management and control of major events. The report clearly described many of our leadership, management and individual failures during that event, and we will learn from the experience. We are a proud and exceptional organization that is also a learning organization that consistently seeks to learn and create best practices. A major positive outcome from the events of May 1st is the creation of the Incident Management and Training Bureau.
INCIDENT MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING BUREAU
The Incident Management and Training Bureau (IMTB) came into being in the weeks following May 1st. The new Commanding Officer of IMTB, Chief Mike Hillmann, and his team spent all of July conducting updated training for 4 Area stations. In August, they analyzed the information they gathered in the July sessions and refined the curriculum to make it as meaningful as possible. September saw them return to scheduled Area trainings, which will continue for all areas through spring 2008. It is then my intention to have every sworn member of the Department go through the Crowd Management and Control Training every two years.
Aside from developing and conducting the Crowd Management training curriculum, IMTB has had other projects to handle as well. In the aftermath of May 1st, they provided updated training to the entire Metro Division, sought out and trained more instructors to work the Area training sessions, and put long hours into the preparation of the Department’s MacArthur Park after-action report. In August, ITMB, together with Hollywood Area and West Bureau, worked with the Los Angeles Fire Department in a first time ever practice evacuation of homes in a 1-square mile area near Griffith Park in response to the fires that affected this community last May. Emergency preparedness being a priority for all public safety organizations, members of ITMB also went to Minneapolis to meet with officials and study their response to the devastating bridge collapse they faced last August.
Clearly this new Bureau has become highly productive in a very short period of time and we have the May Day march to thank for its creation. That is positive response defined, and in the weeks, months, and years to come, we will all benefit from this positive outcome of the May Day events.
I am also pleased to report that over the past several months, the Department has made significant progress in the implementation of TEAMS II, the major component of the Consent Decree. Department wide deployment of the new Complaint Management System was completed in April 2007. Additionally, the TEAMS II Development Bureau made significant improvements to the Use of Force System, simplifying the processing of categorical uses of force within the system, making the experience more efficient for users. TEAMS II personnel will continue to work with all of you to make the system more user-friendly.
Risk Management Information System (RMIS) Action Items were deployed Department-wide in March 2007. As of September 21, 2007, 1688 action items had been issued and 1222 had been completed and approved through the Bureau level. Because RMIS has gradually become the Department’s data repository, TEAMS II staff have been developing an ad-hoc reporting tool to take advantage of the available data and develop meaningful analytical reports.
In January 2007, the Independent Monitor for the Federal Consent Decree began its review of the TEAMS II system. To date, the Monitor has found 10 of the 15 TEAMS II–related paragraphs to be in compliance with Consent Decree requirements. The remaining five paragraphs are still under review by the Monitor and will be evaluated in the next Monitor Quarterly Report. We anticipate at this time that we will be in full compliance with all 15 paragraphs, a major milestone and one that is essential to allowing us to come out from under the Consent Decree. Out of the negative of the Rampart problems has come- not without a lot of hard work- state of the art, best practices management and personnel accountability systems that will be more fair, more timely, and consistent throughout the Department.
The Recall Program, nicknamed “Bounce,” was approved by City Council on September 14, 2007. Bounce extends the DROP Program’s end date, allowing sworn personnel to be hired back by the Department after retirement for a period of up to twelve months, as needed. The Department will bring back only those employees that are deemed necessary for critical selective assignments. In this process, it is possible that an officer may be recalled to a vacant position. In this case, we have committed to the League that recalling officers will not adversely impact promotional opportunities for active officers. Bounce is a temporary, one year only, extension, after DROP.
I have continuously mentioned that having the best equipment is equally as important as best practices. In this regard, mobile radios are critical to the job you do, and to keeping you safe. We are continuing the installation of the new Motorola XTS 5000 mobile radios in selected unmarked vehicles
and in all new black and whites. To date, 750 have been installed. As cars come in for service, they will have their radios replaced, with the exception of cars whose odometers bear 90,000 miles or more. Additionally, we are expecting 590 new cars to replace salvage cars in the 1st quarter of next year and each of these cars will receive mobile radios as well. The Department goal is for all cars to have the new mobile radios by the end of next calendar year. The Motorola XTS 5000 meets the Department of Homeland Security guideline that all new radio purchases be compliant with Associated Public Safety Communications Officials Project 25 (APCO P25) standards. P25 compliance means these radios are capable of supporting inter-agency communication in the event of a widespread, grand scale emergency. We will also be continuing our efforts with the City Council to get funding authority to replace our now seriously outdated portable radios.
Metro Bomb Squad, Valley Bureau/Valley Traffic Division and Rampart Area facilities have now passed the 90% completion mark, with move-in projected for next year in February, March and July respectively. The Mid-City station is currently 80% complete, and Harbor, Hollenbeck and Northwest Valley stations are all about three-quarters of the way complete, along with EOC/DOC/Fire Dispatch. The new jail facility is 60% complete while our replacement headquarters is at 25%. In 2008 and 2009, there will be many building dedications and move-in celebrations, finally giving our first class Department first class facilities.
In closing, thirty-seven years ago, I became a cop. I have never regretted that decision. As you all know so well, there is no other occupation or profession that allows you to have a life of such significance and impact.
Everything that you do counts- cops count. As we perform our duties, we will make mistakes. We will work with the limited resources available to us. We will work in the face of adversity and criticism. But when all is said and done, I am confident that as Los Angeles Police Officers, we will be able to say, “We made the difference.” Thank you for the opportunity to work with some of the best cops in America in a Department second to none, the LAPD, making a difference in our Department, our profession, our city, and our country. You are creating change by becoming the change.