In the early morning hours of September 11, 2001, our country and specifically American law enforcement was forever changed. The terrorist attacks that murdered thousands of innocent Americans in New York’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 are burned permanently into our memories. Particularly painful, we saw our brothers and sisters from the NYPD and FDNY not hesitating for a second to put themselves in harm’s way only to fall victim to that attack.
In the years since we have made many reforms, not just at the national level but at the local level as well. As a Department we formed what is known today as the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau. The iWatch program was also born in the aftermath of 9/11. LAPD’s proactive commitment to protecting our City has made us a national leader in counter-terrorism practices.
As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, keep the memory of our fallen brothers and sisters alive by continued vigilance. We can never become complacent. Although some incidents have not been made public, it is important to know that working closely with our federal partners, we have already prevented a number of potential terrorist attacks on our city. We must continue to be vigilant and never become complacent. There is no better way to honor our fallen heroes.
New Northeast Station
Over the past decade our Department has been able to upgrade many of our facilities thanks to the voter-approved Proposition Q. Some of these upgrades included replacement stations for Harbor, Hollenbeck, Rampart and West Valley Areas. The Metropolitan Detention Center, Emergency Operations Center, Valley and Metro Bomb Squad facilities, Valley Bureau and Topanga Area Station were brand new facilities also built with these funds.
During the construction process we made every effort to keep costs to a minimum and to complete the projects on time. As a result, we have money left over. With these remaining funds, our attention turned to the aging Northeast Station.
On July 19, 2011, the City Council approved use of remaining Proposition Q Bond funds for the construction of a replacement facility for Northeast. The new station will be built on the existing Northeast site and the design will be an adaptation of the new Olympic Station. Currently the replacement project only includes the construction of the new station, but there are plans for a new parking structure and Motor Transport facility that will be constructed when additional funds are available.
The replacement of Northeast Station has been the highest priority for the Department’s construction program since completion of the Proposition Q projects and the new Police Administration Building. The City family, including the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, the Chief Legislative Analyst, the Bureau of Engineering and the Architects of the facility all worked together with the LAPD to make the Northeast project possible out of the existing bond funds. We expect to break ground in the summer of 2012. Before then, Facilities Management Division will be meeting with Northeast employees to provide them with information on the project and solicit their input.
As your Chief, your safety is my top priority. I am always looking for ways to improve safety for you. But officer safety is not just about wearing your seatbelt or dodging bullets. Officer safety entails much more.
Recently there have been reports in the media of law enforcement personnel from other agencies resorting to fraudulent schemes or other law breaking actions because of precarious financial positions their lifestyle put them in. Careers and families have been lost. This is unfortunate and more importantly, unnecessary.
One of the benefits of working for LAPD is the variety of help available to you. Organizations such as the Los Angeles Police Relief Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, along with internal sections such as Behavioral Science Services, have services available to assist you in a time of need. Whether it’s financial, personal or even emotional distress, there is someone here to help. Use that help. Don't forget about our Department peer counselors and support groups always available to you as well.
The key to everything is to keep a watchful eye on each other. If one of your partners is in physical danger, you grab them by the Sam-brown. If one of your partners is in financial trouble, get them the help they need. We are a family and family takes care of each other.
Purple Heart Ceremony
During the month of September we begin a new tradition which recognizes the brave actions of some of our most heroic officers. The new Purple Heart Medal will serve as a reminder to the many life and death dangers you face every day.
For the first time in our Department’s history, we are awarding the Purple Heart Medal for meritorious service to officers who have sustained traumatic physical injury during an on-duty tactical situation, and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of officers killed or have died of wounds received in the line of duty.
The Department is proud to present this award as an opportunity to commemorate the extraordinary sacrifices of noble Los Angeles Police Department officers. The first Purple Heart ceremony will be held at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on September 15, 2011. I hope you can join us for this very special event.
Thoughts and Prayers
In late July, five of our officers suffered serious duty related injuries during two separate incidents in Topanga and Hollenbeck Areas. In the first incident, four officers from Topanga Division were involved in a serious T/C which resulted in each of them being hospitalized for injuries sustained. Police Officers Brian Thornton and Kurt Logan were treated for minor injuries and released. Police Officer Francisco Rubio was admitted to the hospital, treated and released a few days later. However, Police Officer Mark De la Torre suffered major injuries and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit where he remains hospitalized, in serious condition, as I write this month’s article. In the second incident, Police Officer Allan Krish, Hollenbeck Division, was stabbed during a violent confrontation with a 415 man. Thankfully, Officer Krish is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.
These incidents are yet another reminder of the dangers we face every day as Los Angeles Police Officers. Please keep these five officers in your prayers and please keep an eye out for all your brother and sister officers. I want to remind you to always be aware of your surroundings, watch everyone’s hands, assume nothing and expect the unexpected.