I hope this message finds you well. I want to begin this month’s message with a topic that is very important to me. Family. I often speak of my work family because that’s what our Department is; a family. The bond we share is one that few people outside our profession truly understand. This bond carries us through difficult times and helps us realize that the job we are entrusted to do comes with great responsibility, and we cannot do it alone.
There are those within our organization who carry a gun and wear a badge, and those who do not, but who fully understand our brotherhood and our LAPD family as well. They are our civilian employees.
LAPD’s civilian work force is the backbone of our organization; the glue that holds everything together in this family. They are the support network on which we constantly depend. Without them, 911 calls for service would go unanswered; reports would not be entered; forensic evidence would not be analyzed; information systems would be non-existent and our fleet of vehicles would not be serviced. LAPD’s civilian work force is absolutely vital to our day-to-day operations and to our success as a Department.
In recent years, our entire civilian staff has had to endure mandatory unpaid time off due to the City’s ongoing fiscal crisis. This has had a profoundly adverse effect on their financial situations. They have had to give up many important things in order to support themselves and their families. Despite this burden, they continue to perform at a level of professionalism that is second to none.
During the month of October we will recognize our civilian brothers and sisters during the
2nd Annual Civilian Appreciation Month. I am tremendously proud to serve alongside such a dedicated and talented group, and I know our sworn workforce shares my sentiment. So the next time you need that DR number or you have that question about your time, stop and take a minute to say “Thank You.” Our civilians more than deserve it. Take the effort to demonstrate that they are part of our family.
Working in a large and diverse city like Los Angeles you come across many different types of people. Los Angeles is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities, personalities and characters. As a first responder you get to see this first hand.
When you first come in contact with individuals on a radio call or a traffic stop, there is really no telling what to expect. There is no pre-screening process to determine the type of person you are about to encounter. This is why training is so important.
Recently officers from another law enforcement agency were involved in a use of force with a mentally ill subject. The incident garnered considerable negative public and media attention and was another reminder to us of the complexities you will come across in the field.
Dealing with the mentally ill or mentally challenged requires special attention to detail in order to assure yours and the subject’s safety. This is why our Department offers special training such as the Autism Awareness Training and the Mental Health Introduction Course, held just last month. These programs heighten your awareness of the signs and symptoms of mental illness and help you better understand how to deal with mentally ill subjects.
Use of Force
Police officers are the only public servants legally authorized to use force while trying to protect people or property. This is a special privilege that must not be abused. We all know how serious a use of force can be. Reputations, careers and even lives may be at stake. I want to remind you that in this day and age of instant messaging, social media, camera phones and digital technology, you should always assume someone is watching and recording all of your public actions.
As your Chief, you will have my full support if you are ever involved in a use of force where, within the bounds set by Department policy, you are protecting the lives or safety of the public or each other. However, any unauthorized use of force will not and cannot be tolerated.
In the heat of the moment I know your adrenaline is pumping and your emotions are keyed up, but you must manage to maintain your composure. If you see that your partner might start getting a little carried away, step in and defuse the situation. Look out for each other and take care of each other. Don’t put yourself or your partner in a position which could jeopardize your careers.
On July 28, 2011, officers from Central Division responded to an “Attempt Suicide” radio call. The officers arrived on scene and with the help of Air 18, they located the distraught male on top of a 12-story building, standing on the ledge.
The officers attempted to make contact with him, but he was nonresponsive and was inching towards the ledge. Without hesitation, the officers reached out and grabbed the subject just as he stepped off the ledge, becoming dead weight in their arms. Struggling to not drop him, even after he bit one of the rescuing officers on the arm, the initial three officers holding onto him received much needed help when other Central officers arrived on the roof. With a coordinated team effort, the officers were able to secure the subject to the railing using a hobble restraint and handcuffs, and continued to hold onto him until the fire department arrived and assisted in completing the rescue effort.
Due to the outstanding work and dedication of the officers on scene, a potential tragedy was averted and the subject was able to get the help he so desperately needed. Thanks to the following Central Area personnel:
P-3 Manuel Armendariz #35292
P-3 Robert Reich #36401
P-2 Mario Botello #37159
P-2 Ruben Cantu #36843
P-2 Arthur Gonzalez #38846
P-2 Rick Linton #38456
P-2 Jorge Ortega #38863
P-2 John Padilla #39168
P-2 Blair Roth #38153
Every day you have the opportunity to have a positive impact in the communities you serve. Take advantage of that. Know that cops count, character counts, do the right thing and you can be the difference.
Detective II Jesse Ravega, Serial No. 25151
On September 2, 2011, my heart was heavy and I was overwhelmed with sadness when I learned of Jesse’s tragic death. This is yet another one of our brother officers, taken from us much too soon. Jesse was assigned to Foothill Gang Detectives, and was well respected by coworkers and the community. This will be a difficult time for them as they cope with this sudden void in their lives. Please keep Jesse’s wife, three children and his work family at Foothill Area, in your prayers. Jesse will certainly be missed, but not forgotten.