On June 5, 2013, Chief Beck conducted his monthly media availability news conference on the outdoor patio of the tenth floor to address a few Department-related issues of concern and give members of the media an opportunity to ask questions on those or any other topics. Chief Beck’s discussion points were as follows:
Current crime statistics were discussed, with emphasis on a spike in homicides over the past two weeks. Bottom line is that crime is still down citywide, even though we currently have 10 more homicides than we did last year at this time. The homicides are spread out in multiple divisions and do not appear to be indicating a pattern, since they are caused by multiple, unrelated motives. Chief Beck also mentioned several other types of crime levels that continue to decrease.
His second topic was the LAPD crime lab, which is located with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s crime lab, receiving accreditation from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. This is significant because over 800 standards must be met and only four such labs in the state have received this accreditation status.
Thirdly, Chief Beck addressed public concern about the Department’s recent acquisition of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) from the Seattle Police Department. He stressed the Department “will never, ever give up public confidence for a piece of equipment.” Consequently, he promised to fully take in public opinion about prospective UAV deployment prior to any usage of the devices. He said that if the public is greatly against them, they won’t be used. He also pointed out the possible usefulness of UAVs. His vision was to look at how they may assist police in larger tactical situations or operations, such as those that require SWAT Team deployment. He also mentioned a collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union to help assess UAV usage policies.
Safe Summer Tip-Off at USC’s Galen Center on June 14 was Chief Beck’s next topic. The centerpiece of the event is a basketball game between the Los Angeles Fire Department and LAPD. The free event, which is primarily directed to young people, promotes safe summer activities and potential vocations through informational platforms. The event is hosted by Arsenio Hall and also features free food and entertainment.
In closing, the Chief reminded everyone that the Department will be very focused on safety pertaining to the upcoming L.A. Kings playoff. He encouraged all to enjoy the event but to do so in a lawful manner. In connection with the playoffs, he mentioned a bet he has with ex-LAPD Chief Bill Bratton on the playoff’s outcome.
Chief Beck then opened up the news conference for general questions from the media.
During Chief Beck’s media availability news conference there was a second segment presided over by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Director of Security Patrick Findley. It concerned imposters who have contacted businesses by phone to demand payment of alleged past-due bills. Callers threaten to turn off their power if they don’t receive payment within one hour. Findley emphasized LADWP would never operate in such a manner by asking for payment by phone. Callers instruct customers to purchase “Green Dot Money Pack Cards” and then provide them with the card’s PIN number. He stressed that LADWP is working closely with LAPD investigators to break up this scam operation, which has affected a wide range of businesses.