Preservation of Life Medal
As many of you may know, we are going to begin to recognize acts of heroism performed by LAPD officers that have not been formally acknowledged in the past. Everyday, we see LAPD officers going to extraordinary lengths to preserve the lives of both suspects and victims. Sometimes these kinds of heroic actions, where no deadly force was used, don't get recognized within the current award structure. The establishment of the Chief of Police Preservation of Life medal is designed to fill that gap.
There have been numerous times in my career where I have seen police officers use commendable restraint when faced with situations in which deadly force could have been used. I want to make sure when that is done, we reward it. Police work is inherently dangerous and our organization values tactics and training designed to preserve life…the lives of our officers as well as the lives of victims and suspects. This is part of our overall value system.
In establishing this Chief’s Preservation of Life medal, I am obviously not trying to discourage officers from using the appropriate level of force when reasonable and necessary and I am certainly not asking them to unduly endanger themselves. What I am doing is recognizing those who, in the normal course of their duties, manage to preserve the life of another human being.
We are not looking to modify behavior but to reward behavior that we are already seeing. Some critics have claimed that rewarding this type of behavior will cause officers to act differently and possibly endanger themselves in pursuit of a medal. That tells me that these critics do not know LAPD officers, what they value and how they operate. I believe that our officers are the finest, best-trained, most tactically sound officers in the world and I just want to recognize them for acts of bravery and heroism that sometimes go un-rewarded. It’s that simple.
Prepared and Vigilant
The deadly assaults both around the world and far too close to home are reminders of the times we live in. Appropriate preparation and training are essential to our success in protecting our communities and one another. Counterterrorism is something we have focused on for many years now. The Department is in constant communication with our local and federal partners to prevent any attack on our City. We remain vigilant by gathering and analyzing information, and continuing our ongoing counterterrorism training. Department wide coordinated response and recovery efforts are continually being reevaluated to insure the most effective response. As always, maintain a level of alertness. If you see something, say something.
The Year Ahead
I wish everyone and your families a very happy and prosperous New Year. We will build upon our progress, continue working on community issues, continue trust building, and continue our efforts to reduce crime. Thank you for all your tireless efforts to maintain public safety.