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LAPD RESPONSE TO DAILY NEWS COLUMN

Original Column, Los Angeles Daily News, May 28, 2006

Why am I not surprised?  Just 15-days after the Department launched LAPDBlog.org, a Daily News columnist has decided the “LAPD blog just bogs down net.”  To read the May 28th column one would think the LAPD had committed some horrible blogosphere crime.

When we re-launched the Department’s website last March, (check your facts Daily News, taxpayers don’t pay for LAPDOnline or the separate blog, the Los Angeles Police Foundation does and the redesign of the site cost $382,000…the blog only costs $15 a month) Chief Bratton did commit to stepping into unchartered blog waters.  I say unchartered because some time spent researching Google confirms there are no universal hard, fast rules when it comes to blogging.

So we designed the blog to do a number of things, respond to criticism without having our responses edited, gauge the pulse of the public, let people know what’s happening in the Department, both good and bad, and yes even plug the positive contributions of its men and women.  The audacity of this LAPD “flack” to actually want people to know that yes, cops are people too and they do good things.  They don’t, as the writer would have you believe, spend the majority of their time going from one fast food restaurant to another. Transparency goes both ways you know.  Why, even the Daily News prints some “good news” stories. And don’t even suggest we are making up personalities to praise ourselves.  If papers like the Daily News committed to even a weekly column listing all of the heroic acts of officers (I won’t hold my breath) we probably wouldn’t even need a blog.  But we do.

And then there is this line from the column; “I want to imagine that when The Man is not meting out firm but fair justice, he is sipping lattes and updating his blog,” (I don’t even want to imagine the future headline on that one).  Now, while the Columnist may want officers to sip and blog, most cops I know want nothing more than to go out and put lawbreakers in jail, save lives and survive so they can go home to their own families. 

They also want people to have the opportunity to tell us like it is, bad and good.  Will the blog, as you say “reverse years of secrecy and conflict with the community?”  Our hope is that in time the dialogue will help to heal old wounds.  But come on, you’ve got to give us more than two weeks!

Mary Grady
LAPD Public Information Director

Comments

Nice response... and exactly the kind of attitude I want and expect in a blog!
Now, can you address the painfully slow 911 response times?

For what it's worth, she is just plain wrong. It takes a lot of guts to put this blog out their. Just ignore her. I grew up in LA and moved out to Seattle. I have this blog on my blogroll and personally find this blog fascinating. What's interesting is it can act as a kind of neighborhood watch. As people in LA start picking up the feed they will get tips on what to look out for. You wouldn't get the same persistence via other channels like the local news. Some of these posts wouldn't make the local news, so it's important to have this outlet. When I read articles like this Daily News post, I have to wonder if the author realizes the risk members of the LAPD put themselves in on a daily basis, and the exposure you put yourself in with the blog. The last thing anyone should be doing is taking a crap on that. Good luck out there, and keep up the great work.

The author of the article states, "You know a trend is over when the government shows up. So once the LAPD's flacks hit the blogosphere, it became startling clear that the blogging revolution is officially passe."

I think the author is passe in playing that card. Keep trying...

"most cops I know want nothing more than to go out and put lawbreakers in jail, save lives and survive so they can go home to their own families. "

Yes they do, but they also want a Chief that is on their site and doesn't bent over for the ACLU. Officer's now are afraid to do their job.They are afraid they are going to get screwed for doing their job.

I do believe this blog is to make the public feel good,nothing more. Does the Chief read any of the responces on here? If yes, are any of the Officer's being screwed because of posting here,or maybe being screwed because a family member posts on here?

I do not agree with the author of that article,but do tell me,how is this blog helping the LAPD and the Officer's ????

I just want to say that I think your job is very hard and I respect it very much. I think everyone who has turned their life around in one way or another for the better can see that. Maybe there is something that this person who wrote the column spites in the LAPD because they cannot have such heroism in their job, nor have those brave stories to tell. I, for one, am very glad that you have created this blog. It honestly gives me more of an insight to the community and I feel that you will be able to reach more people with this blog than in many other ways. Some people (such as myself), no longer pay much attention to newspapers and things like that because you can pretty much find it all online. I feel this is a way to catch more people and reach more people than ever before.
So anyhow, thanks.

p.s. PLEASE do not publish my email address! (Or a link to it.)Thank you :)

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

It's about time that someone responded to a reporter that has consistently preached a 'holier than thou' storyline. Check out some of the other articles (not realting to law enforcement) from this reporter.

Truth be told, when a cop starts their shift and sits into a police car, they already have a screen full of calls to respond to. It is rare that anyone has a moment for themselves... let alone blogging.

Are blogs the next big thing? I don't think so... I think last year it had its moment in the sun and then went the way of the Lance Armstorng bracelet.

But to sit there and bunch all cops into restaurant hopping, latte sipping blogging hacks is an injustice to the thousands of men and women (yes, Mariel, you could come out of your hiding place now, there are Women on the LAPD).

Perhaps this site should save one blog about reporters...

Okay, I'll start....

"This great reporter hit the snooze button on her alarm clock at 10AM. Then again at 10:30AM. Finally at 11AM she rolled out of bed and quickly showered so she could be at Cicada for her noon lunch with that really cute guy from the Business Journal.

She rolled into her office at about 2PM and checked in with her editor who told her that a pretty good story was developing out in the valley that looked promising. Being that she still does not have that much time in the trenches, she thanked him and went to check out a pool car.

On the way to her story, she stopped for a long overdue manicure (she was meeting a cute deputy councilman for dinner at La Cachette).

When she gets to the valley for the 'big story', it turns out that the cops did their job and it really was a domestic violence incident.

Aw shucks... nothing to write about here.... Let's check the LA Times for some story line... Oh whats this?... the LAPD is going to Blog... that looks promising... I know what my next story will be...."

Did I get that right?

I responded directly to Mariel Garza. I stated she should do her homework before writing a personal opinion with false information. Lapdonline.org is donated by the police foundation and taxpayers don't pay a dime. Also, I found it odd that of all the articles posted on this blog she failed to include one of the most serious and that is our officers being assaulted and shot at now becoming routine. The Daily News does report more positive stories on LAPD then the other newspapers. This blog will help the LAPD because rarely will they read or see in the media the support they have citywide. I also commend this blog for not being afraid to post uncensored comments that are not positive. This is a step in the right direction giving community members another voice to state their opinions. Keep up the good work!!

What do reporters like to report? Well, anything that is "eye catching". So in order to catch the public's naive eye, they create controversy.. If all they got to bring is an article about a blog, then that reporter is digging at the bottom of the barrel. As far as cops sipping lattes and such - here's a stat for that reporter - I work for a department that handles over 120000 calls for service a year, we have 49 officers that work actual patrol - do the math - how many calls per officer per year is that? Roughly 2450 calls per officer per year.. If I get a chance to sip a latte, you better believe I'll hop all over it because a sip is probably all I'll get!

What Mary 'Poppins' Grady forgets to mention is that the taxpayers ARE paying for the admin pogue cops/civilians to run the blog.

Just think of it. Our taxes pay for Mary and the slew of other squints to upkeep, monitor, maintain and respond to the blog.

These cops could be put to better use, but that would enable them to do real Police work. Something that they haven't done in yrs. They hid in Parker Center for a reason....

Its simple this blog can not help the way the Lapd is managed... The Lapd was the best department in the world. I think thats why people join. It may not be that we have a bad Chief but if he doesnt hold his upper managment accountable then he is just as much fault for the downward spiral of this dept. The Chief could start with the CAPTAIN of WEST LA DIV. BLOGGING DOESNT HELP MORALE EITHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What can I say? Ms. Grady is right on target. Cops and other public servants spend their days making cities like Los Angeles (and Minneapolis, my city) better places for the people who live in them. But these hardworking folks aren't newsworthy, so says the media. And so the LAPD has taken a step that enhances transparency AND provides an opportunity to share some good stories. Hey Mary, you go girl.

I think it is rather predictable that the media would blast this outstanding idea. It encroaches upon their ability to tell only bits and pieces of any story. Even worse, they can no longer re-arrange the statements they are given to make someone, or some organization, look stupid like they have traditionally. "The News" is no longer their exclusive domain. As more and more organizations follow the lead of LAPD in this area, people who tend to support their local law enforcement officers will be able to choose where they hear about "how it happened out there". Blogs are here to stay. Information controlled by editors with political agendas is going to crumble. Someone told me Mark Twain once said you should never engage in a war of words with someone who buys ink buy the barrel. He was right for his time, but now that ink is out, IT'S ON!

The LA Times uses this blog as yet another opportunity to take a biased swipe at the LAPD. Surprise, surprise. The paper does not report on the LAPD's bad image so much as it creates it. And the saddest thing is, the paper complains about taxpayer money going to something like this, but if they were not so intent on making the police look bad all the time in the first place, the department would not have to spend so much on PR.

Good going Chief Bratton and all members of the LAPD!!

Leave it to the media to slam anything that has to do with the LAPD doing anything positive. So Mariel, how many of your "squints" are sitting around your boiler room operation, wringing their hands (while sucking down diet pepsis and red bull) just itching to find any dirt on the Department? What ever happened to the "news" in Newspaper. When did they become "soapbox papers"? I'm sure if there were stories about the foibles of reporters (like who sleeps with who to get the big stories, or who "edits" facts to make the stories more interesting , you get the picture)you would have enough to fill your pages. You dont need to constantly berate the Department at every turn. Believe it or not Mariel, good people still make up the Department and they do their best to do good, despite the negativity and hatred they face daily, but you and your type feed off of dregging people through the mud and calling it news...shame on you. Get a job with some redeeming qualities yourself. Do good yourselve instead of feeding the misery that already exists ..trust me, you journalists are not placed high on anyones pedestal either. We know how you operate too, problem is we cant write in your papers...........

I don't live in the LA area, or even in the state of CA, but I like this blog, I like learning about the good things that happen to cops elsewhere than in my city, and state.
I wish my PD would do something like this, because we all know the media doesn't print all the good stuff cops do.
Thanks for the input of your police dept.
An IA reader.

I just re-read my last post and realized it looks like I am a shill for the LAPD. I don't work for LAPD nor do even reside in the region. I do, however, have a couple more thoughts on this issue. First, expect more criticsm from the press because this is really going to cut into their monopoly on information. Since no taxpayer money went into developing the blog, they will attack any taxpayer money being used to manage it... and on and on. Second, the reporter says blogs are passe because government now uses them... hmmmm. If that were true, then the airplane, telephone, and computer have been passe for decades.

$382,000 to redesign lapdonline.org?

you guys need to seriously shop around.

Surfing around from Australia I came upon your blog and am so impressed that I have suggested to the Queensland Police Department that they visit you with a view to 'stealing' your ideas for use here. Congratulations on such a useful facility.

The LAPD's chasing cops, not criminals


Los Angeles Times

Morale is falling under Chief Bratton, and that's dangerous, says a police officer.

By Jack Dunphy

JACK DUNPHY is the pseudonym of a Los Angeles police officer who writes a column for National Review Online.

June 11, 2006

ON THE FIFTH floor of Parker Center, wedged in among the cubicles in the personnel records section, sit two laundry carts like those you might find in the basement of a large hotel.

These carts can be viewed as a barometer of the Los Angeles Police Department's current health because they contain the city-issued equipment turned in by officers who retire or resign from the department. On the day I was there not long ago, the carts were filled to overflowing with leather gun belts, ballistic vests, Kevlar helmets and all the other gear and tackle an officer wears or carries throughout his career.

A police officer attends to this equipment, cataloging each item as it's handed in, and I asked him how long it takes to fill up the carts. "That's just from this week," he said. "We get one or two a day coming in here to quit."

Even as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William J. Bratton trumpet their plan to add 1,000 officers to the LAPD in the coming years, they neglect their obligation to retain the ones they already have. As of April 30, 136 officers had retired from the department this year, according to the Police Protective League. Even more troubling, another 136 have resigned, simply walking away from the job before they were eligible for a pension. Not only does this substantially exceed the expected attrition rate, but many of these officers have left for jobs in other police departments. Why?

In most cases, it isn't the money. Though some suburban agencies are more generous than the LAPD, few of these officers would tell you that they were lured away by the promise of a bigger paycheck. For most, it's simply a desire to be treated fairly while doing a thankless, dirty and dangerous job. In this regard, Bratton has failed to live up to the promise of his first year in L.A.

When Bratton was sworn in as chief in 2002, he inherited a department that had been thoroughly demoralized under his predecessor, Bernard C. Parks. Parks had imposed an absurd disciplinary system that required a full-scale investigation of every personnel complaint, no matter how petty or transparently false.

Officer morale plummeted, and cops began fleeing the department far more quickly than replacements could be hired and trained. Untold thousands of hours were wasted on these complaints even as hundreds of murders went unsolved. Cops were discouraged from doing their jobs, and the city's crime victims paid the price.

Things began to improve virtually from the day Bratton arrived. In his April 2003 message to the department, he acknowledged the excesses of Parks' complaint system and promised improvements. "The past history of a flawed disciplinary system," he wrote, "will not keep officers from doing the job they signed up to do."

We could not have been more relieved. We went to work bringing about the drop in crime that continues to this day: Homicides went from 647 in 2002 to 487 last year, and other categories saw similar reductions.

But our optimism is now largely forgotten. Bratton has abandoned the flinty resolve that marked his tenure as commissioner of the New York Police Department and his first year with the LAPD. Instead, he's showing a previously unseen willingness to sacrifice officers involved in controversial incidents in order to appease fractious political interests, like the demagogues in the "No Justice, No Peace" crowd.

Though crime continues to fall in most areas of Los Angeles, seven of the city's 19 patrol divisions have seen increases in violent crime this year. The change has been gradual, but LAPD officers are once again showing a reluctance to do their jobs, and this can only embolden those individuals eager to take advantage of any perceived police retreat. This reluctance stems not from any fear of police work's inherent physical dangers, which most cops readily accept, but rather from fear of placing their livelihoods in jeopardy should politicians or commanding officers disapprove of their actions during some violent and unpredictable encounter.

On the night of June 3, for instance, Officer Kristina Ripatti was shot and paralyzed by a career criminal who had robbed a South L.A. gas station moments earlier. Ripatti's partner then shot and killed the attacker. It was the 11th time LAPD officers had come under fire this year.

Police Commission President John Mack was characteristically obtuse. "Typically, this commission, the department and the public focus quite a bit of attention on the issue of violence," he said. "Often, the focus is on violence in use-of-force incidents by officers … but we don't focus much on violence against police officers, and we have a very, very serious, tragic incident here."

The hypocrisy is stunning yet unsurprising. If Ripatti or her partner had somehow managed to shoot first, how long would it have taken Mack and others to find fault with them? Not long.

There always has been a chasm between the LAPD's management and the cops on the street, but I see this chasm today as wider and more unbridgeable than at any other time in my more than 20 years with the department.

Every day, cops attend their roll calls and are told to go out and deter crime. They know this means seeking out and confronting the city's criminals. But they also know that if a confrontation diverges in any way from the way things are taught in the police academy, they may be admonished, suspended or, if the incident arouses sufficient political heat, fired and prosecuted.

What these officers understand, and what most of their commanding officers do not, is that things never go as they're taught in the police academy. Today, arrests that in years past would have earned an officer a commendation are instead resulting in punishment when captains, commanders and deputy chiefs, few of whom have any meaningful street experience, decide that an officer's tactics strayed from what is depicted in the training videos.

When I was a young cop, a mentor of mine, now long retired, explained to me that most of the people who rise to the upper ranks in the LAPD don't understand how police work is really done. What's worse, they are either intimidated by or contemptuous of those who do. This might be hard for people outside police work to grasp, but it is even more true today than it was then.

Examples abound, but an incident in South L.A.'s 77th Street Division illustrates the point. Two patrol officers were flagged down by the victim of a robbery on Feb. 17, 2005. The armed suspect had just fled in the victim's car, and the officers gave chase. The suspect crashed and flipped the car but still managed to flee on foot. He was soon cornered but, rather than give up, he reached for his waistband, prompting one officer to strike him in the head with his gun.

Though this officer probably would have been justified in shooting the man, he chose a less lethal method to bring the chase to an end. The suspect was later convicted of numerous crimes — among the charges against him were robbery, carjacking, carrying a concealed firearm and possession of cocaine — and sentenced to 13 years.The officer's reward? A 10-day suspension handed down last month for his perceived departures from officially endorsed procedures. He was cited for striking the suspect with his gun, for using inappropriate language during the chase and for failing to request backup.

Ask yourself: If you were that officer, the next time you were flagged down by a crime victim, would you give chase and run the risk of a similar outcome, to say nothing of the risk to your own life, or would you choose to take a crime report and watch the suspect escape?

Today, more and more officers are choosing the safer option, or they are leaving the LAPD altogether. And, once again, it is the city's crime victims who are paying the price.

I have been told that there is a Higher Percentage of all Female vs Male Police Officers in non Patrol uniformed functions and in light duty or coveted positions. Can you verify this and answer why that it occurs?
Thank You

great article about lapd but the reporter who stated that tax payers payed for the updated website

Growing up in the West San Fernando Valley since 1964 I am very proud of our LAPD through so many major crisis in our great city.
My Mother lives near the West Valley Police Station at 19020 Vanowen Street and I am very grateful for the security I feel thanks to LAPD the nations finest! Thank you all for your hard earned skill, your courage and your nobel sacrifices as individual officers, team members I know are vigilant 24/7. Thank you all for your service above and beyond the call of duty! GOD bless all of you, your families and loved ones and give you every blessing for everything you do for our safety.
With Deep Apprecaition, Admiration and Respect Margarita Mozzer Rhodehamel

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