Chief’s Message April 2010

Budget

Across the United States, public safety agencies are being forced into tough financial decisions, making sacrifices as their cities struggle through difficult economic times.  Severe reduction in revenue which translates to shared sacrifice for all city departments has become the reality.  The Police Department is doing its part to reduce costs, sharing the pain that is being felt by fellow city employees.  The Los Angeles Police Department is not immune to the fiscal realities of today.  By the time you read this message the budget information will have changed and steps will have been taken toward economic recovery.  As recent as today, the City announced discretion in spending has been limited and aggressive steps to guard against the City’s cash flow shortfalls are being implemented with extraordinary spending controls in place.  This will inevitably affect the Police Department. These are tough economic times and we need to make a clear distinction between our critical needs and those things that are nice to have. 

We all make decisions at home based on our personal financial situation, using what we already have instead of buying something new, oftentimes doing without.  Now we must do the same at work.   With every decision made, we must consider the City’s deficit. We are doing all we can to cut the deficit – we will not purchase new vehicles or motorcycles and it is unknown if we will be able to make any other equipment purchases. Now, more than ever, it is important that we take good care of the existing equipment we are fortunate to have.  We were fortunate to have opened several new police stations and facilities within the City, that we can proudly call “home” and together we should do all we can to maintain the condition of these facilities. 

I cannot stress how vital the civilian workforce is within the Department and I remain committed to keeping you as informed as possible regarding the budget crisis and concerns over layoffs.  As I write this message, the Mayor has just issued an order to start the civilian layoff process.  Coalition classes may be targeted for layoff, but will not actually be laid off until July 1, 2010.  Non coalition classes are subject to layoff now.  The Police Department will not be hit as hard as some other Departments, but nevertheless we've been notified that we will be part of the layoff process.  Personnel Department has not yet confirmed the names of the affected employees.  I will do everything we can to make the process as respectful and dignified as possible, keeping you informed, as the situation can change from day to day.  My leadership team and I all understand that this is extremely difficult for everyone. Tough times do not last, but tough people do and we will see this time through.

Vertical Meetings
Open communication and dialogue with all Department employees at all ranks is very important to me and is something I’m very comfortable with.  I enjoy interacting with you, not as Chief of Police, but as Charlie Beck through informal sessions with the sworn and civilian workforce.  I have begun vertical meetings with Crime Analysts, Field Training Officers, Area Records Clerks, Area Detectives III’s, various classifications from SID, GED Officers, and Police Service Representatives.  These open discussions have allowed me to speak with a cross section of our employees within the Department at different levels and ranks so I can see their point of view.

Many of the decisions I am implementing directly come from talking with you, and from your perspective.  Once a month I work a patrol shift where I have the opportunity to talk with you and listen to your ideas and your suggestions.  Some are related to operational needs and others are reflective of your concerns and anxieties about the budget.  I read each and every email you send me and have been acting on each of your suggestions.  I appreciate and value your candid responses.  I need your suggestions so that the organization can be more effective and efficient in the way we do business.  I truly believe the best solutions will come from you.  This is why I want you to contact me at my personal e-mail address: charlie.beck@lapd.lacity.org and tell me what we should be doing.  Many can point to the problem but a few can point to the answer.

Prayers

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Police Officer II Jacqueline Montalvo and Property Officer Ryan Farhand.  These two individuals were greatly loved and admired by so many and as members of the LAPD family, they will be greatly missed.  I ask everyone to please include them in your thoughts and prayers as well as Chief Darryl Gates.  He remains in good spirits and he has expressed that he was deeply touched by all the officers and other friends who have visited him and sent messages of love, care, concerns and prayers.  With strong conviction and in true Daryl Gates fashion, he commented that he "felt the power of those prayers and it sustained him."  Your cards and well wishes are appreciated, and if you would like to send a card to Chief Gates, please reach out to my Wellness Coordinators, Sergeants Mary Kite and Whit Pauly and Management Analyst Antonia Diaz. 

Mary, Whit and Toni report directly to me, and work tirelessly to be my link to all Department employees and their immediate family members during times of need resulting from an injury, illness or death.  Maintaining employee wellness, physically and mentally is very important to me and I will ensure that all available resources are made accessible to you and your families during difficult times.  We have a personal and moral obligation to take care of one another, as we are our most valuable assets to our loved ones at home and at work.

Chief’s Message March 2010

Budget

The City of Los Angeles is currently faced with a tremendous budget challenge.  The budget situation is volatile and changes daily, but as I have said before, our Department will do its part in shared sacrifice to help with the economic recovery of the City.  I know that all of you, sworn and civilian are anxious about the decisions being made and the tough times that lie ahead with much uncertainty.  As the situation is so dynamic and fluid, everyday there are new scenarios, options and recommendations posed to deal with the budget.  I would be remiss in providing information to you as factual, when the budget situation is still being explored and likely to change by the time this message reaches you.

Our civilian workforce is affected and feels a great sense of uncertainty due to talk of layoffs and downsizing.  My staff and I are working closely with the Mayor’s Office, City Attorney’s Office and the Personnel Department to maintain the best interest of the Police Department’s civilian workforce.  I have made it very clear how vital the civilian workforce is within the Department.  The bottom line is that the civilian workforce is vital to the Department and we cannot effectively perform daily operations without them.   

The crime declines of the last few years have proven that we are a Department ready to meet the challenges ahead and will continue to lead the nation in best practices in policing.  Public safety remains the number one priority.  To that end, a reorganization has been implemented and more changes continue in an effort to create a more efficient and effective Department.  I have made additional changes in assignments, adding more deployable resources to the Areas and Geographic Bureaus to offset the $80 million dollar cut in overtime.  This cut is the equivalent of laying off approximately 600 officers.  The impact of personnel reaching the 250 hour threshold will require mandated time off (T/Os) which will take officers right out of patrol cars and off  detective desks.  I realize this has affected numerous personnel that would otherwise be assigned to specialized units, but I also recognize the need for us to work together more than ever, and shared sacrifices must be made.

I want to congratulate Jim McDonnell on his selection as Chief of Police of the Long Beach Police Department. I have had the pleasure to have worked alongside Jim for a long time.  Jim is truly the epitome of an outstanding cop and family man.  Jim will be greatly missed as a member of the LAPD family, but I look forward to partnering with him on the regional level.

Parole release
 
On January 25, 2010, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) instituted measures to reduce the State's prison population.  Specifically, Non-Revocable Parole (NRP) was instituted under the authority of Penal Code Section 3000.03.  By the end of 2010, CDCR estimates the prison population will be reduced by approximately 6,500 offenders through the implementation of NRP and enhanced early release credits.  Los Angeles County is expected to have some 6,000 NRP prisoners by the end of the year; some who will represent a portion of the 21,000 supervised parolees expected to return to LA County during the year.
The NRP parolees are non-supervised, cannot have a parole hold placed on them pursuant to Penal Code Section 3056, and cannot be returned to custody for a parole violation.  However, they are subject to the same search conditions as supervised parolees.  Eligibility for NRP is based on the following criteria:
•    Non-serious or non-violent offender
•    Non-sex offender
•    Non-validated prison gang member
•    Low or moderate risk offender; and,
•    Individuals who have not committed a serious in-custody offense.

The CDCR will implement an upgrade to the parole Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) system for law enforcement to assist with the tracking of all parolees.  This database contains parolee information including photographs taken of inmates when they are released.  The NRP parolees will be added to LEADS with their photographs and unverified address.  Use of the LEADS system will continue to allow our Department to incorporate parolee information into our crime reduction efforts.

Reorganization is not the only way to put more officers in the field.  I plan on holding several Captain and Commander positions vacant and have canceled all Chief of Police Formal Inspections for an indefinite period.  Additionally, I have directed my staff to work with the Police Protective League to reduce the amount of mandated qualification requirements.
Budget cuts, the threat of layoffs, the release of thousands of prisoners and the threat of terrorism…these are indeed difficult times.  But remember, difficult times call for understanding, resilience and character.  I have no doubt that you, the men and women of this Department will not fail in our mission to protect and to serve.

Chief's Message - Feb 2010

Chief's Message for January 2010 was not produced.


Year End Crime Stats

As we begin a new decade we can be proud of our past.  Thanks to the hard work of all of you, sworn and civilian, we have set a historic and unprecedented standard of eight years of crime decline.  As the country and the City of Los Angeles is faced with a difficult economic recovery and the many challenges and tough choices in balancing the City budget, we have been able to drive crime down, particularly gang crime. 

The result of your strategic work is reflected in the 2009 year end crime numbers.  Again last year, you made a difference and saved lives.  There were 314 homicides, an 18.01% decrease from the 2008 total of 383.  Last year, violent crime was down 10.8%, property crimes decreased 8.0% and Part I Crimes fell 8.6%.  That’s 10,864 fewer victims of crime.  In addition, there were 323 fewer shooting victims this year in comparison to the same time period a year ago. 

Many scholars, industry experts and critics would try to attribute the decline to several factors other than cops.  But the cause and reason for the decline in crime is clear, it is you and your commitment and dedication to the people of all the communities we protect and serve.  This successful result is undeniable proof that LAPD personnel, both sworn and civilian, do not have a lack of strength, a lack of talent or a lack of will.

Again, particularly impressive is your success in battling gangs in their attempts to dominate community life in Los Angeles.  You have been able to stop the motives and mode of operation of street gangs in nearly every category, reducing gang homicides by 15.6%, aggravated assaults by 9.5%, shooting victims by 15.1%, and decrease gang crime overall by 11.2% since 2008. 

Reorganization

As your Chief, I have begun the process of strategically reorganizing the Department.  One of my goals is to streamline internal and external communications.  I have reduced the number of direct reports to the Office of the Chief of Police from 8 to 6 and will focus on consolidating entities that perform like functions, which include the Office of Operations, the Office of Special Operations, the Office of Administrative Services, Professional Standards Bureau, Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing and the Chief of Staff.  This allows the Department to be more efficient and coordinated and will allow for more fiscal responsibility. 

I have begun to fulfill my promise of returning people to the field from specialized units.  I started in my own office by taking a Captain and Lieutenant position and returning them to field assignments.  This was followed by the dismantling of the Crime Reduction and Enforcement of Warrants or “CREW” Task Force which allows the 144 officers to be assigned to patrol.

Goals

An effective leader will tell you that in order to reach a goal you must have a plan, otherwise you just have a thought.  As individuals our quality is reflected in the standards we set for ourselves. While I have established specific goals for 2010, much of what I expect of you is best practices in policing that we have worked hard to ingrain in the culture of our organization over the past several years.  The goals and objectives by which I will hold you and myself accountable are; Constitutional Policing; Crime Reduction; Prevention of Terrorist Incidents; Maintaining the Personnel Strength of the Department; and Employee Wellness.

Constitutional Policing – Even though we have been released from judicial oversight of the Federal Consent Decree we are still responsible to police in a constitutional manner.  We must never break the law in order to enforce the law.  To do so brings shame on our profession and alienates the people we serve, the community on whose cooperation we depend if we are to be effective.  No officer is justified in breaking the law on the grounds of expediency.

Crime Reduction – This is the true measure of our strategic hard work; keeping the people of Los Angeles safe and helping to provide quality of life.  Our crime reduction initiatives have been tested and proven to be successful.  We will continue our success as it is our new standard.

Prevention of Terrorist Incidents – The Los Angeles Police Department is at the forefront of a nationwide effort to evolve local police counter-terrorism strategies and capabilities and protect the City of Los Angeles from acts of terrorism.  The mission is to Prevent terrorism by effectively sharing information aimed at disrupting terrorist’s operational capability and addressing the underlying causes associated with the motivational component; to Protect the public and critical infrastructure by leveraging private sector resources and hardening targets; to Pursue terrorists and those criminal enterprises that support them; and to Prepare the citizenry and the city government for consequences associated with terrorists operations against the city.

Maintaining the Personnel Strength of the Department – We are all being asked to do more with less - less work time, fewer resources and a reduced workforce.  We are going through tough economic times and I know your workload, especially for those in our civilian workforce, has increased.   My goal is to do all I can to work with our city leaders to maintain the strength of the Department.  I encourage each and every one of you to make it your priority to maintain a quality work ethic.  We are all very busy and I want to make sure we are all accomplishing our goals.

Employee Wellness – To get our work done everyone has to show up to roll call and to their desks in good health.  Not taking care of your physical and mental well being will show, and it will carry into our work productivity.  It is highly important that investigative, administrative and other sworn officers maintain a continuous physical regimen to ensure occupational requirements. 

Process over results

Policing is the only important profession in which process is always more important than results.  No one cares how a surgeon saves a life as long as the operation is a success.  In policing we must zealously guard the way we complete our tasks in order to maintain the most important asset of the organization, our credibility.