This week’s Police Commission meeting was held at Daniel Webster Elementary School in West Los Angeles. Police Commission President Steve Soboroff welcomed the congregation and thanked the school administrators for allowing them to hold their Board meeting there. President Soboroff offered his view of the Department by saying the rest of the country looks to the LAPD as having the best practices and being in the forefront of training and tactics. He completed his comments by asking the people in attendance to get involved with their local police department to help affect positive change in their community.
Police Commission Vice President Paula Madison thanked everyone for attending the meeting and recognized the dignitaries and C-PAB members in the audience. Her fellow Commissioners then offered a brief background on their background and experience and said they looked forward to hearing from the community on issues affecting their quality of life.
Once the Commissioners spoke they turned the floor over to City Councilman Mike Bonin who represents the area. Councilman Bonin thanked the Police Commission for holding their weekly meeting in his district and also thanked the Fire Department for their response to the brush fire which broke out along Pacific Coast Highway in the Pacific Palisades area. He said the three major challenges for the district are the prevention of terrorist acts at Los Angeles International Airport, quality of life issues in Venice Beach, and the gridlock traffic that plagues the west side. Councilman Bonin asked the Commissioners to commit more resources to help mitigate these issues.
Police Chief Charlie Beck thanked Councilman Mike Bonin for his comments and assured him he has the Department’s support. The Chief also said he went on patrol earlier that day and was able to visit every neighborhood in Pacific Area. He plans on going on patrol in the areas where subsequent special Police Commission meetings will be held. Chief Beck informed the Board and people in attendance the City experienced the 11th consecutive year of overall Part I crime decline which brought with it the lowest level of violent crime since the 1950’s. He attributed the decline to great cops and partnering with the community.
Deputy Chief Terry Hara, head of the Department’s West Bureau, spoke briefly on the crime statistics for the year ending 2013. He stated he will deploy 30 additional traffic officers in the area to help keep the flow of traffic moving and increase motorist safety. Captain Brian Johnson, Commanding Officer of Pacific Division, stated some of the challenges and goals for the division in the coming year.
The final portion of the meeting was the public comment period. The members of the community who spoke expressed concerns over a myriad of issues affecting their quality of life. More than 35 people took advantage of the opportunity to address the Board.
The Board of Police Commissioners as well as the Chief of Police look forward to these special meetings as they serve as an opportunity for community members to attend who might otherwise not be able to attend the regular meetings of the Board in Downtown Los Angeles. The Commission plans to hold these special meetings in each Council District in the coming year.