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Super Bowl XLVI Designated Drivers

Chief’s Message February 2012

As a world-class law enforcement agency, ensuring public safety is the mandate of the  Los Angeles Police Department.  A review of the 2011 End of Year crime statistics reveals, once again, that your hard work and dedicated service to the citizens of Los Angeles is paying off.   

Crime in all of the major Part One categories, with the exception of homicides, was down for the ninth straight year.  While year-to-date homicides increased by one, the overall homicide rate remains at levels that we have not seen since 1967.  This is a remarkable accomplishment.

Particularly impressive are the gang-related statistics.  Gang-related crimes account for a large portion of the City’s total crime; this is why the 15.2% drop in criminal gang activity is a particularly impressive accomplishment.

Perhaps the most telling figure to come out of the final crime statistics for 2011 is that there were 6,447 fewer victims of crime, compared to last year.  But these are not just statistics, these are the many lives that were spared the agony and sense of violation that comes with being the victim of a crime.  This is why our job is so important and the reason why we chose a career with the
Los Angeles Police Department.

As crimes rates continue to fall and the quality of life for the people of Los Angeles continues to improve, it is clear that our way of doing business is effective.  You should be as proud of your achievements, as I am of you.  

Hollywood Shooting

During the morning hours of December 9, 2011, a deranged gunman, with total disregard for human life, including his own, began terrorizing people in one of our most recognizable neighborhoods.  Armed with a handgun, the suspect began shooting at random, striking three innocent bystanders and killing one.

Working nearby on a plain clothes detail, Detective I Craig Marquez and his partner,
Detective I Travonne Dixon, rushed to the scene of the active shooter.  Police Officer II
Kevin Cotter, who was working at a near-by off-duty movie detail, also heard the shots and quickly responded to the suspect’s location; it was immediately evident that the suspect had no intention of surrendering.  Detective Marquez and Officer Cotter engaged the suspect and ended the threat to the public.  

While the gunman’s senseless act of violence tragically claimed the life of an innocent victim, the heroic actions of our officers prevented what surely would have been the devastating loss of additional lives.  

When you took the oath to become a Los Angeles Police Officer, you understood the scope of your commitment to protect the safety of our citizens – regardless of time, location or circumstance.  Detective Marquez, Detective Dixon and Officer Cotter, reacted with split-second resolve, precision, and courage thus fulfilling their duty in the highest traditions of the
Los Angeles Police Department.

History of Central Area

Beginning this month, I will highlight one of our 21 Areas and some of their significant incidents and accomplishments.  For February we focused on Central Area.

Central has a long history of being at the center of events impacting our City and our Nation.  The division first opened in 1869 and was originally located in the old City Hall building on Broadway in between Second and Third Street.  In 1896, with the rapid growth of Los Angeles, it moved to a larger facility on First Street where it remained for 60 years.  Today, Central Area is located on Sixth Street and serves an area of four and a half square miles and 40,000 people.  Central Area is under the command of Captain Horace Frank and has a staff of 440 sworn and civilian employees.   

Fallen Heroes of Central Area

On December 19, 1984, Officer Duane Johnson was shot and killed by a robbery suspect in Chinatown.  Officer Johnson and his partner responded to a radio call of a jewelry store robbery and were, unbeknownst to the officers, let into the location by one of the suspects, who was posing as a store employee.  A shootout ensued and Officer Johnson was mortally wounded.  

On December 12, 1988, Officer Manuel Gutierrez, Officer David Hofmeyer, and Officer Derrick Connor were killed in a traffic collision while responding to a back-up call at 6th and Wall.   

These are just two examples of Central Area officers making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.  Their loss leaves a permanent void for our Department and the entire law enforcement community.  

Significant Events in Central Area

  • OJ Simpson Murder Trial – January thru October 1995
  • Democratic National Convention @ Staples Center – August 2000
  • Immigration March in Downtown L.A. – March 2006
  • Michael Jackson Memorial Service @ Staples Center – July 2009
  • NBA All-Star Game – February 2004 and 2010


Recently, Central Area personnel worked tirelessly with the Occupy LA movement as the protesters exercised their right to free of speech.  Months of negotiation and respect for the first amendment rights of all participants resulted in a non-confrontational and symbiotic relationship that garnered respect from all involved.  As the movement progressed, Central Area officers displayed great restraint and professionalism, and the final coordinated action culminated into a positive result that many said was respectful of the rights afforded by the United States Constitution.

Closing

I thank you for the outstanding service and professionalism that you display each and every day as members of our great organization.  You never cease to amaze me with your commitment to our Department, and to the people of this fine City.  I am so very proud of your achievements and I encourage you to remain steadfast and focused as we face the New Year together.  
As always, be safe!                        

Comments

Chief do not change the impound policy. Your first job is to protect the citizens of L.A.. By you letting the mayor tell you what to change and to how handle impounds you are not protecting us nor are you doing your job. Chief you are being used by the Mayor as a stepping stone for his quest for higher office. Stop this madness now. continue to impound the cars of those who have no license.

Thank you Chief Beck and all L. A. County Law Officers for making our city much safer.

Hang in there Chief Beck and always support your line officers.

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