Each morning when I wake up and put on this uniform, I am proud to be a member of the LAPD family, and now I’m honored to have been selected as the leader of this extraordinary family, its 56th Chief of Police.
To be a part of the history of this great organization in the capacity of Chief is humbling and I can honestly say, a bit overwhelming. But I would not have even considered applying for and pursuing the position had I not felt deep in my heart that I am truly the right person at the right time for this organization. I have been entrusted with the critical job of continuing to ingrain the many changes we have experienced over the past 7 years into the very DNA of this organization.
Change does not only take place at the top levels of any organization, but must also be embraced from the roots up, and in this Department, that means by the boots on the ground. I want to take the culture change that has occurred in the upper echelons of the Department and make it the core of our rank and file. I also believe that the only way an organization truly changes is by giving people the resources they need to do their jobs and then hold them accountable. That means putting more officers into the Areas. I want to give the Area Captains their own ability to manage their resources, put the authority where the accountability is.
The progress and transparency that has taken place over the past several years must be maintained and expanded. Although the leader is important to the LAPD, it takes a team of people to do the job. It is much too complicated for just one person. Chief Bratton did a tremendous job of building a team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t build something better. Think of it in these terms; expect an evolution, not a revolution. The selection of the Chief of Police is just that, a selection, it’s not an election. The other candidates have not gone away and I intend to continue to utilize their talents and energies.
I will also work hard to convince our many diverse communities that their talents and energies are also critical to our success. The recent Harvard and LA Times polls make it clear, the people of Los Angeles like their Police Department and think you are doing a great job. That’s the way it should be. The people of this City should be proud of and feel as if this is their Department. As your Chief, I will have an open line of communication with the different communities of this City to gain a better understanding of the views and opinions of how we protect and serve. I will also continue the cause of increasing the size of this Department. We can never go back to the way we used to police, that thin blue line that focused only on response and enforcement. This needs to be the way we do business: collaboration and transparency. We must work with all of our communities and address their problems. I believe it starts at the patrol level, that is the primary service delivery vehicle and that is who shows up first.
I also care about your views and opinions. I want each and every one of you to do well, to feel the same pride that I do to be a member of this policing family. I have 32 years of working the streets of this City and have learned that by visiting each of the stations, and talking to officers one on one; I can gauge your thinking about the future of the organization and your place in it. I don’t want you to have to go through an extended learning curve like I did. I want each of you to progress and develop your careers through compressed evolution. I want to create and maintain a common framework and shared vision that will include every Department employee, both sworn and civilian.
I know the ghosts of this Police Department’s past, I lived them. In the 90’s we did not always rise up to our abilities. We did not do what we should have done in some instances. Feeling the mixture of the pain and pride of our past, I want to convert former Chief Bratton’s legacy into our Department’s destiny. As an organization we are the bridge between our own past and our future.
This is not just a job to me, this is who I am. My father joined the LAPD in 1950 and retired as a Deputy Chief. I joined the Department in 1977. My sister was one of the greatest detective’s I have ever worked with. My wife was a narcotics canine handler for the LA County Sheriff Department. My daughter is currently a patrol officer in Hollywood and my son will graduate from the Academy on December 4, that graduation will be the first time that I will preside over a ceremony as the Chief of Police of this City. I can’t argue when people say my blood runs LAPD blue. That is why I do this job.
Together, we will continue our commitment to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and making this City the safest in America. Through your continued exemplary hard work and commitment, we will achieve great things as we move forward. My message to you and what I always want you to remember is this, cops count - character counts; do the right thing and you can be the difference.
One last thing before you go to work tonight or today. For now on, when you’re in a class C assignment, you can wear long sleeves with no tie.