The month of November holds a special significance for me. Two years ago this month, I had the privilege of being appointed Chief of this proud and distinguished organization. It was an exciting and humbling time for me. More importantly, it was the opportunity of a lifetime.
Police work has long been in my blood. I come from a family with deep ties to the LAPD and I wear my badge with tremendous pride. I take very seriously the honor of representing you, the sworn and civilian members of our Department.
As a matter of fact, the best part of the job is the time that I spend with you. Whether it is working patrol, riding with the bike detail and mounted units, or answering 911 calls with our PSRs at Communications Division, I value our time together. I’ve worked with our garage mechanics, rode with our motor cops and flown as a TFO with Air Support Division. I’ve done all of this in order to hear what you want from the Department and your Chief. I learn more in a day working with the men and women of the LAPD than I do in a week of meetings in the building. This is the part of my job that I truly love.
Frankly, I’m not sure anyone can effectively lead an organization as complex as ours from a downtown office building. So long as I am Chief, I will devote as much time as possible out of the office, learning the concerns of officers, civilian employees and the public we serve.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from my experiences in the field is that nothing works unless we treat people right. That means not just serving the public with courtesy and professionalism. It means treating each other with dignity, respect and brotherhood, irrespective of rank, assignment, civilian or sworn, male or female or any other kind of distinction you can make. Let me be very clear on this; no one at LAPD has license to abuse anyone else for any reason at any time, or in any situation or medium. We simply will not tolerate behavior that fails to meet this standard.
When I began my term, I set specific goals to reinforce our standing as a world-class leader in law enforcement.
One goal is Constitutional Policing. For the past two years, Constitutional Policing is the centerpiece of how we do business. We are accountable not only for what we do, but for how we do it. We could not have achieved the unprecedented crime reductions of recent years without holding ourselves to the highest professional standards.
Improvement in employee wellness is another important goal. If you are not well physically, mentally or emotionally, you can’t perform to the best of your ability. The high level of employee participation in departmental sports, along with our tremendous success in numerous multi-agency athletic competitions, demonstrates our continued commitment to this goal. Your well-being is extremely important to me and something that I take very seriously. This job is a family business to me and when I hear about our employees being sick or injured, it is very difficult for me, because I care about each and every one of you.
This really came to light while I was at my monthly meeting at Pacific Division. I was asked what my biggest challenge has been since I’ve had this job. I have to say, tragedy. Tragedy has been the toughest challenge to deal with as Chief. When I hear about our employees stricken with a sudden illness or injury, I make every effort to call or visit them. Over the past two years we, as a family, have had to deal with some extremely difficult and unexpected deaths. This is where you come in…please look after each other and always be there for each other.
In addition to these goals, we achieved other important accomplishments. We saw the implementation of in-car video systems, bringing us in-line with other agencies already deploying this 21st Century technology. We opened the Metropolitan Detention Center, eliminated the DNA Rape Kit backlog, and developed the Police Cadet Program to cultivate the tremendous talent of our City’s youth and build LAPD’s future. Our partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have yielded impressive results, and our community outreach programs have deepened and strengthened existing relationships with the many diverse communities we serve.
Perhaps our greatest achievement has been the continued reduction in Part Icrime and gang crimes. In the past two years, we have seen a 12% drop in Part I crime and realized a resounding 24% drop in gang-related crimes. These results are even more impressive in light of the City’s deep fiscal challenges.
None of these accomplishments would have occurred without you. I am deeply grateful for your unfailing hard work and tireless commitment to the people of the City of Los Angeles who look to us to ensure the safety of their communities. I can only be as good as the people with whom I work and I am truly blessed to serve with the most dedicated professionals in law enforcement. I look forward to working with more of you in the coming years.
During November, we celebrate the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces. Our country would not be the greatest in the world without the selfless efforts of our military. Let us not forget the many sworn and civilian members of the Department who serve both their city and their country.
This Veterans Day please keep in your thoughts the memories of Officers RJ Cottle and Josh Cullins who died last year on active duty in Afghanistan. Their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of their families, still resonates with us today. We will be forever grateful for their service.
We all know someone who has served or is currently serving our country. If you have the opportunity, take the time to thank them. Our heroes certainly deserve it.
As the holiday season approaches, I would like to invite you to the 2011 Chief’s Holiday Party. This year’s event will take place Saturday, December 10th at the J.W Marriott Hotel at LA Live.
I hope you will be able to join me and our many colleagues for an evening of delicious food, good friends and holiday merriment. The season is about sharing with family and friends; I personally invite you to join me for this year’s celebration and look forward to seeing you there.