As we enter another year with new aspirations and new resolutions, I wanted to take some time to set our goals for the New Year. You will find these goals familiar as they are the same goals I established when I first became your Chief. I felt a need to keep them in place because I believe that they speak to the core of who we are and to our mission as a Department.
These Goals include concentration in the following areas:
• Commitment to Constitutional Policing;
• Crime Reduction and Community Engagement;
• Preparation for, Prevention of, and Response to Catastrophic and Terrorist Events;
• Employee Wellness and
• Maintaining the Personnel Strength of the Department.
Maintaining our personnel strength will perhaps be our biggest challenge this year. Recruitment efforts for both sworn and civilian personnel remain top priority. This is where you can help. People with character, like you, know other high quality individuals and are our best recruiters. If you know someone you think can be a valuable addition to our organization that will serve our communities with respect and honor, I ask that you please encourage them to apply.
Finally, employee wellness goes a long way in our overall health as an organization. Stick to that resolution to be healthier in the New Year. Maintain your healthy habits and develop new ones. Your overall wellness should not just be an organizational goal; it should be a personal goal as well. Do it for yourself, but also think of your families, your partner and those who care about you. Stop and think of the people counting on you...and make a decision to make a difference in your life.
I am concerned about each of you since on-duty collisions continues to be one of the highest risk activities to our personnel year after year.
One of the cornerstones of safe vehicle operation is the practice of wearing your seat belts. I know there is no need to remind you that doing so is a matter of law and Department policy. We have conducted training, shown videos and developed seatbelt removal tactics. Still, a recent inspection of employee-involved traffic collisions determined that a fair percentage of employees still do not wear their seat belts. It is not only officers in black and whites but detectives and specialized units as well.
Wearing a seatbelt has not been shown to be a threat to officer safety, but instead it is an important element of your safety. The reality is that no officers in America have died due to a seatbelt related tactical issue. However, it is important for you to remember that across the country in 2011, 61 officers were killed during on-duty traffic collisions and another 47 lost their lives in 2012. These are tragic events - most of which may have been avoided had seat belts been worn.
Last month, on December 12th, marked the 25 year anniversary of the death of three LAPD police officers, known to us as the “5th and Wall” traffic collision. To this day, we still mourn the tragic loss of Police Officer Manuel Guitierrez #24654, Police Officer David Hofmeyer #24984 and Police Officer Derrick Conner #25472. Police Officer Venson Drake was the only surviving officer and the only officer wearing his seatbelt at the time of the collision.
We have learned the most important preventable measure we can take is wearing our safety belts and exercising safe driving habits. Officers’ intentions are noble and they have a strong desire to serve the public and get to incidents to assist other officers as quickly as possible. A cautious attitude of self-restraint won’t dampen these good intentions. As a Department, we can honor the lives of Manuel Gutierrez, David Hofmeyer and Derrick Conner by learning from this and using safe driving habits to prevent or reduce future injuries and deaths. So remind each other every day to buckle up and drive safely.
As your Chief - and on behalf of your families and the communities in which you work so diligently, I am telling you to wear them while you are at work, no exceptions. Challenge your partners to do likewise. Commit to driving with precision and caution because at the end of the day, the most important thing is for you to arrive home safely to those for whom you care.
History of Property Division
Property Division is a service entity within the Los Angeles Police Department comprised primarily of civilian personnel and a cadre of sworn officers. Property Division is believed to have existed since the inception of the Department and was originally maintained by sworn personnel on a 24/7 schedule. Today, Property Division has trimmed down to an extremely lean profile of 67 civilians and 10 sworn employees with reduced hours of operation as well as shuttered facilities.
Notwithstanding this reduction of personnel, Property Division continues to manage the booking, securing, moving, and disposing of evidentiary and non-evidentiary items in a timely manner. Four warehouses, totaling nearly 100,000 square feet, provide housing for evidence, non-evidence, and excess personal property. Most geographic Areas also have property rooms averaging 1,700 square feet. On a daily basis, Property Division processes approximately 500-1,000 new evidence items. At one point in time, the number of evidence items held in custody was in the millions. Three years of concentrated and Department wide efforts have reduced current evidence inventory to fewer than 800,000 items.
Unique to Property Division is the fact all the evidence passes through this Division, be it historic and notorious, or seemingly quiet and routine. Evidence from infamous homicides such as Elizabeth Short (Black Dahlia), Christopher Wallace (Biggie Smalls), and Nicole Brown-Simpson to name a few, remain on our shelves.
Disposing of evidence is an unseen monumental task undertaken by Property Division. Gone are the days of the live auctions held in the Parker Center back lot, disposing of firearms into the ocean, or the disposal of alcohol down a sink drain. Property Division has come to embrace various recycling methods, disposal techniques, and eco-friendly waste measures when disposing of and destroying evidentiary and non-evidentiary items. Items of tangible value are now sold by an online auction company, with 100% of the proceeds deposited into the Police Pension Fund.
Our Department is a productive and busy one, with many people behind the scenes working together like a well-oiled machine to keep things running. Property Division is no exception and deservedly recognized and highlighted in this month's message.
My personal thanks to each and every one of you. Be safe and take care of each other as family both on and off duty. Be well, Charlie.
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