As we reach the halfway point of this year, your efforts to reduce crime and keep our City safe have put us on the path to yet another historic reduction in crime for 2011. In a time of great economic uncertainty you have continued to display a resilience and commitment to the people of Los Angeles. You make me proud to be your Chief.
Summer is our busiest time of year. Children are out of school on summer break, often with nothing to keep them occupied. This is why programs such as “Summer Night Lights” become such an important part of keeping the City safe.
This year the Summer Night Lights program has proposed expanding to include 32 parks throughout the City, up from 24 last year. Giving children a safe haven is crucial during the time of year when they are most vulnerable to negative influences. The Summer Night Lights program is now seen as a model for the rest of the nation and the difference you make in children’s lives by your willingness to participate is huge.
One of our other summer events geared towards children is the Safe Summer Tip-Off youth basketball event. Now in its second year, the 2011 Safe Summer Tip-Off happens June 25 at the University of Southern California Galen Center. The goal is to bring young people together in a positive and fun filled environment to kick off the summer season with safe, community enriching activities. Once again our officers will be taking on the Los Angeles City Fire Department in a winner-take-all basketball game. Last year our team pulled out a win and I expect the same again this year. But the real winners in this event are the youth. I encourage you all to come out and participate in this wonderful event.
Summer also means baseball season is in full swing and nothing says summer like a game at Dodger Stadium. But an assault on a San Francisco Giants fan opening day created an atmosphere that required the increased presence of LAPD officers. Fans of America’s favorite past-time should never feel in danger while attending a game. This is why I am proud of what you have done to make Dodger Stadium safe. You have made a huge difference in the reality and perception of safety at Dodger Stadium and for that the City of Los Angeles is forever grateful.
This month we also celebrate the presence of our gay brother and sister LAPD employees, both those who are open and those who chose to be private about their sexual orientation. Our Department’s diversity reflects the make-up of our City and it enables us to better protect and serve all of our communities.
We are also working with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community through outreach programs such as the LGBT Community Police Academy. This academy is one of the few of its kind in the nation and offers its participants an opportunity to learn more about the workings of the Department and the issues that cause problems in our communities. The current class is scheduled to graduate on June 2 at the Elysian Park Police Academy. I will be there for that event. In addition, I will also be riding in the Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade on June 12 in West Hollywood.
Baker to Vegas
Each year the Baker to Vegas relay race inspires stories of physical triumph and personal satisfaction. The camaraderie generated by this event is truly unique. I was thrilled to be at this year’s race and honored to be the first Chief to run a leg since the late Daryl Francis Gates. My first run was back in 1979 when it was the Death Valley Relay when I ran for the Southeast Division team. Running this year brought back many great memories of the days when I was a young cop with a lot more speed and a few less pounds.
Our Women’s Team, running in honor of Tina Kerbrat, the first female officer killed in the line of duty, took home top honors in their division. Our Department Men’s Team, competing for the first time, took home third place in the open division. All of our 34 sworn and civilian teams that participated in this year’s race should be proud of the way they represented our agency and the sportsmanship they displayed. A special thank you goes out to all of the support teams who drove that slow speed trek though the desert. Without you this event could not be possible. Congratulations to all of our teams and I hope to see all of you there again next year.
I know many of you are concerned over the ongoing budget issues facing our City. We are still engaged in the budget process and it is our goal to keep you up to date and informed as developments play out. I appreciate your continued patience in this process. I understand everyone is experiencing feelings of uncertainty and I will provide periodic updates on the LANs.