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This summer, four Los Angeles Police Department officers experienced life-altering events.  Officers Kristina Ripatti, Michael Toth, Enrique Chavez and James Tuck suffered life-threatening injuries in unrelated incidents.

Though their lives have changed dramatically, the officers opt to view the future with optimism, contesting clinical challenges.  The LAPD extends its sincere appreciation for the public's outpouring of concern and support. Updates on the officers follow:

Officer Kristina Ripatti
Photos Courtesy of Daily News

Dn00ripatti22hg Her days are spent struggling to cope with the loss of her legs.  On June 3rd a man who had just robbed a gas station gunned down Southwest Area Officer Ripatti.  One of the bullets damaged Ripatti's spine leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. Now this former athlete spends several days a week in rehab at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, and working out in a gym to increase her upper body strength.Dn00ripatti25hg

Besides learning how to adjust her life, home and family to accommodate her paralysis, Officer Ripatti fights to stay strong so that she is physically and mentally able to challenge conventional medical wisdom that she will never walk again. Kristina and husband, LAPD Officer Tim Pearce, hope that one day medical science will help Kristina walk again.

Officer Michael Toth

On June 17, West Traffic Division Officer Michael Toth, 45, was involved in a traffic accident while driving home from work.  Officer Toth, who was riding a Department motorcycle at the time, stopped to assist officers from the California Highway Patrol. The officers were conducting an investigation on the southbound Santa Ana Freeway in Anaheim.

A sports utility vehicle struck Officer Toth, as he was leaving the scene. The 10-year veteran suffered severe injuries to this face, ribcage and legs. Officer Toth underwent extensive surgery immediately following the accident.  He is now receiving physical therapy and recently underwent additional surgery to repair damage to his right foot.

Officer Enrique Chavez

On July 11, Newton Area Officer Enrique Chavez, 35, was seriously wounded when his 3-year-old son picked up his service weapon and accidentally shot him in the back as the pair drove near their Anaheim home.

Officer Chavez underwent surgery on July 20, at which time a metal rod was placed in his spine. His injuries resulted in paralysis from the waist down.

In early August, Officer Chavez began rehabilitation. Department personnel close to the 10-year veteran report that he is doing well and his progress is ahead of schedule. 

Officer James Tuck

On August 12, Hollenbeck Area Officer James Tuck was seriously hurt when a suspect attacked himPolice_car4_1 with an AK-47 assault rifle during a traffic stop in the Montecito Heights area.

Police_car2 As their police car rolled to a stop behind the vehicle, a passenger jumped out and charged the officers, spraying their police car with high-velocity rounds. Officer Tuck was hit three times, with one shot severly damaging his left wrist.

Nearly three weeks after the incident, Officer Tuck remains healthy and high-spirited. According to physicans, Officer Tuck will spend about one year in rehabilitation and regain 85-percent use of his hand. He is scheduled to begin physical therapy in early September.  The photographs show the damage an AK-47 can create. 


Thank you for the update. I'm glad to know that all of the officers are coping with thier injuries and on the way to some form of recovery. I also hope that some day, everyone with a paralysis type of injury is able to walk. I would hope that all the officers can return to some type of duty with the LAPD, if that is what they desire.

Portland, OR

Bullet vests that cover the length of the spine should be worn when called to a certain situation or even while on patrol. The usage of fire weapons can only be legal in law enforcement groups and not just anybody. Peace and health to all officers mentioned. To the rest, take care wherever you are.

I live in this area and we need to get help from the police. I have a stop sign in front of my house that no one stops at yet I have never seen anyone write a ticket or every see officers in the area. I am sad to see a offices hurt but what about the public your all are paid to protect I have called many times yet still not traffic enforcement.
I wish the officer gods speed for his recovery and I pray that something will be done about the traffic enforcement before someone is killed.

Hopefully all of these officers will recover well beyond what is expected. Modern medicine is advancing so quickly and I also believe in miracles so anything and everything is possible.

As for Officer Ripatti, what an incredible inspiration. The article about her was great and her workout routine made me tired just reading about it. It is a reminder to us all that we gotta keep moving.

It seems in Chicago all uniformed officers wear some type of bulletproof vest. But I don't want to debate the usage of amour for police officers. I do, however, want to wish these officers good health and great recovery. It's a jungle out there.

re: Officer Toth

Why was he driving home on the southbound 5 in Anaheim? Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand Motorcops are only allowed to park out their City vehicles within Los Angeles County? It is unfortunate that he suffered injuries attempting to aid the CHP, but I can't help but think that if he had been following policy that he would not have even been in a position to be injured in the first place.

And of course, the taxpayers of LA will be picking up his disability, despite the fact he was not on duty, was not in the City, and was not even in LA County when this accident happened.

He stopped to assist Anaheim PD because that's what officers are sworn to doesn't matter if it's their own agency, or another. "To Serve and Protect" doesn't stop at the city limits or at end of watch.

JQ Public, you asked to be corrected if you were wrong, so: LAPD Manual 3/260.01 Officers of the rank of lieutenant and below, authorized to home-garage an emergency response vehicle, including motorcycles, shall home-garage their assigned vehicle within the County of Los Angeles or within 60 miles of the Los Angeles City limits when outside the County.

And although he was not on the clock, he was in uniform, on a city vehicle, and assisting another law enforcement agency. He is entitled to full benefits.

My heartfelt wishes for full recovery to Officers Ripatti, Chavez, Toth and Tuck.


Thank you for providing JQ Public with the information.


Thank you for the correction. It's obvious that my understanding of policy was incorrect.

I still disagree with motorcops who do not live within City limits taking their bikes home with them, with taxpayers purchasing their gasoline and paying for maintenance, but that is a subject for another discussion.

Thank you again for the correction.

My, my Mr John Q Public.

You leave an awful lot of posts on various issues, spewing barbed comments about officers and what they owe the taxpayers of this city. Maybe if you slowed down to actually read the comments posted insted of gleaning it like an op ed piece in the Times, you could learn a few things about the men and women who are putting their lives on the line to serve those "taxpayers". That would primarily be, that they are not perfect, they do great and heroic things, and like every other human being on this planet, they make mistakes.

But lets be fair, when was the last time you got involved with anything? When was the last time you called the police on a tip that could lead to the arrest of a career criminal in your community? Or is it the ol', "That's not my responsibility." We do have a responsibility. It's to each other. When was the last time, if ever, that you have stopped to help a stranded motorist or another person in need? And if you did and anything bad happened to you as a result of your gracious assistance, how long would it take you to find that ambulance chasing lawyer to sue for you? Not long I'd bet. We all have free will to make choices. I thank God every day that there are people out there making the choice to help another person in need, and it doesn't matter who.

Ms Lawgirl,

It is unfortunate that you are under the impression that my obligation to the Department extends beyond following the law and paying my taxes and includes not speaking my mind about the way things are run. I am free to voice my opinion regarding the Department, and for you to criticize it merely reinforces my opinions about the Department and the impression of a lack of accountability to the public that is so widespread.

This is one of the major reasons I frequent this blog so often-- because it offers citizens an excellent avenue of receiving timely information and interacting with various members of the community. My opinions have been formed from more than 20 years worth of observations about the way things are done in this City, so please understand that a few comments here and there is highly unlikely to sway my views.

And before you make any comments about my lack of law enforcement experience, or anything else along those lines, please understand that I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, which is more than can be said for a vast majority of those currently serving on the force. I have a perspective on matters far different from others, and far be it for you to criticize my comments because you don't agree with them and you feel that only actually employees of law enforcement agencies understand the way things "should" be.

Law Enforcement Officers, no matter what agency they belong to, are not perfect, at no time have I stated anything to that effect. However, they do need to be accountable to their leaders and to the citizens when a "mistake" is made. It is not in your job description to make a determination as to what defines a "mistake", beyond whatever selective enforcement you choose to dole out while in the course of your duties and certainly not with regard to the conduct of your fellow law enforcement professionals. It is, however, in the job description of those who investigate these "mistakes" to make such a determination, and it does not serve any citizen or member of the force to speculate until those who have been charged with completing the investigation have completed their work. So I will continue to rely on those who are paid to conduct these investigations, and will continue to discuss ramblings from within the Department that it's a waste of resources.

Remember, it was a lack of accountability and oversight that led to the consent decree, as well as the incidents that led to its adoption. Also remember that the LAPD has a 70-year history of cycles of corruption and cleaning up its image. For citizens to sit by the wayside during the current "upswing" towards respectability would be irresponsible.

Of course, and it's not surprising, given my impression of cronyism within the entire law enforcement field, that the general feeling I get here from posts attributed to members of the law enforcement community is that almost every incident is an accident, and that the public does not have a right to know about the daily goings-on of the Department, and that LEOs should not have to be accountable to the public because "it makes your job harder." I don't care if accountability makes your job more difficult. If the job was done right in the first place, then this would not even be an issue for discussion.

Can you go and find me an entry-level position in any other field that pays more than $50k/year to start and offers benefits generally reserved for managers in the private sector? No-- no you probaly won't be able to. LEOs are well-compensated for the job that they do, and to expect instant approval (ESPECIALLY considering the department's history) from the public merely because of career choice, and not because of actual achievements, is laughable.

I'm sorry that you disagree with my position that taxpayers should not be paying for a vehicle for these motorcops to drive to and from work. Of course, I could assume that you yourself are a motorcop, and are taking advantage of this generous benefit, but then I would be stooping to your level and creating straw-man arguments that serve no constructive purpose whatsoever.

I am entitled to my opinion, just as you are yours. Try not to engage in personal attacks because of opposing viewpoints, especially if you are sincere about the improving the image of your beloved Department.

Also, consider how many officers do not live in City limits, and then ask yourself why the citizens of LA should have confidence in the ability of the LAPD to ensure our safety when so many of them live in Palmdale, Lancaster, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and so on.

To answer your question regarding when the last time was that I assisted the LAPD, it was actually about 3 weeks ago when a couple of Sex Crimes detectives knocked on my door asking if I had seen a sex offender that was (unbeknownst to me, mind you) registered at the house next door to mine. He had not checked in with his parole officer in some time, and they had been assigned to determine his whereabouts.

You can rest assured that if I come across any information regarding to criminal activity in the City, I forward it to the appropriate personnel.

This is despite the fact that when I suffered a break-in and theft of property from my vehicle that the desk officer attempted to talk me out of filing a report, and only after a lengthy discussion with the watch commander and a promise to contact the Mayor's office was the report taken.

I had to fight and fight for help from the LAPD when I needed it, but when they came knocking for help from me I offered it immediately and to the best of my ability. So there.

It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that JQ Pubic was turned-down from LAPD.

He claims he has a Bachelor's in CJ and he uses l/e lingo. So that explains the venom he has toward LAPD.

As for your so-called degree, it's a joke, I too have the same so I know. It's not worth the paper it's printed on unless you are involved in l/e. I wish I got a degree in something useful.

As for the '50K' comment, it's actually $52,638 to start, but if you have a Bachelor's, it's $56,898. But you wouldn't know all that, you couldn't get hired.

Mr J Q Public, It's obvious how you feel and what your opinion is about the LAPD. Anyone who spouts off about holding a degree in criminal justice, is telling me that they know the book angle. You can read everything all you want about law enforcement, that does not make you an expert. In my opinion it probably distorts the realty of the street police work. Police work is not a career which you can read about, that is why you spend a full year with a training officer. This also goes for supervision, If the LAPD had a policy that a supervisor must have 10 years of Field experience, things would be incredibly better, not only for the citizens but the officers as well. But the Powers at be believe a degree makes you able to supervise after 3 years and anyone else can promote after 5.

You can criticize officers, second guess us, and probably not like us. But if there is an armed killer about to do harm to a citizen, most LAPD officers will step in harms way to protect you. Not because we have to, but because that is the type of officers we are. The other LAPD officers are trying to promote and that is who the the public gets as leadership. To those who have promoted and don't fit in that category, I apologize, but you know as well as I do that is a small group.

I don't expect to change your opinion, and don't expect to change mine.

>I still disagree with motorcops
>who do not live within City
>limits taking their bikes home
>with them, with taxpayers
>purchasing their gasoline and
>paying for maintenance

I'm never shy about criticizing the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles for their often wasteful and lavish spending, but here I have to disagree with you.

When a motorcop is driving home on a police motorcycle, he or she is not being paid by the city. So the public is, essentially, getting nearly free policing for only the cost of gas and pro-rated maintenance -- and, remember, motorcycles get very good gas mileage. The cost is negligible, and the payoff is an increased police presence. People drive and behave themselves more with police on the road. So the cost/benefit here is win-win for taxpayers and citizens.

(A good place to save on some gasoline and maintenance, however, would be to put SWAT team members on a bus. It's ludicrous to see a SWAT group arrive on the scene and every last one of them rides up in a separate, city-owned car. It's a veritable parade of wastefulness arriving on the scene. LA is the only city in the country where SWAT teams ride around this way.)

JQ Public,

Here's the skinny from a motor officer. Unlike the patrol units (black and white cars), motors (cycles) are assigned to individual officers, who are the only ones that ride their respective motors as suspensions, seat height, handlebar positioning, etc (things that aren't as easy to adjust as reaching under the seat of a unit, grabbing a lever and sliding forward or back) is different for each individual. It is the individual motor officers who are responsible for the basic care, cleaning and maintenance of the motors. This is unlike the patrol vehicles that are checked out from the stations, shared amongst several officers, and seldomly, if ever, as immaculate as any motor you'll see rolling down the street. With this alone, the life span of these vehicles are greatly increased as there is a sense of pride in ownership in that we refer to them as "my motor" hence a long term savings to the taxpayers, YOU included, in regards to vehicle replacement. Dave also brought up some valid points in regards to an increase in the police presense as well as free policing of the roadways during a commute home or to work. I too have a degree in CJ and I don't recall this tid-bit of info ever being covered in the curriculum. Nevertheless, you are entitled to your opinion. Since you are a taxpayer (as all of the officers are too), I just thought that you should be entitled to all of the facts before formulating those opinions.

And one last thing JQ, if you would truely like to assist officers in the performance of their duties, before making your lane change, don't just rely on your mirror but turn your head and look so that you can see me in the blind spot!

Dave, only beacause I was an officer with Las Vegas Metro PD for 8 yrs prior to coming out here, I know that their SWAT team officers are also assigned individual Crown Vics.


You raise a good point. However, most of that travel occurs on the local freeways. LAPD involves itself with enforcement on freeways only sporadically, and I've witnessed numerous motorcops travelling southbound on the 5 between the 118 and 134 that rolled right past a CHP officer conducting enforcement. If there was some consistency then I would probably agree with your views to a higher degree.

Wicked Warrior, please don't flatter yourself into thinking that my discontent stems from a dismissed application. I have no interest in joining the LAPD, although if I so chose my understanding is that I would be an excellent candidate. I've had several retired LAPD sergeants and lieutenants who are now instructors and professors encourage me to join the force.

You can choose to stick your head in the sand and pretend that everything is okay with the day to day operations of the department, and that the blame for these problems lies solely with the brass, but please realize there are many folks out there that do not share your views on this.

M officer, I find it irresponsible of you to trivialize the degree that we both hold. There is much more to a college degree than the specific subject it is awarded for. I am of the opinion that no-one should be in law enforcement without a college degree. Too much power in the hands of someone who is not fully educated leads to problems. At least promotions require formal schooling, I shudder at the thought of those with only a high-school diploma in a management position.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions so lets try to refrain from snarky comments when a poster has different views and detach from critism towards the other party. This way we can all share our views and educate eachother and the public. Please no character attacts or sarcastic digs.

J Q, how do you know I hold the same degree,I never said I did or didn't. Some of the best Officers I know do not hold a college degree, who knows maybe I am one of them. It wasn't the degree I questioned, it is the absence of field experience.

Just as you shudder at the thought of those with only a high-school diploma in a management position. It TERRIFIES me to have management with a lack of field experience.

Some of the best leaders ever, both in and out of law enforcement did not receive a college degree. I am not saying it doesn't help, I am saying it is a combination of education and experience.

As to motor officers driving by CHP during enforcement, I too drive a city vehicle home and pass many cities along with CHP. There are many ways we can determine if the Officers need assistance, but you wouldn't know that. They don't teach that in College.

Answer me this; If there is a burning building and there are people trapped inside, do you go in? What class was that taught in? Better yet, you hear automatic gunfire from a AK-47, do you drive towards it? By the way how do I know it was an AK-47, EXPERIENCE! When they teach that in college maybe I will be open to your point of view!

It is obvious you think a piece of paper automatically qualifies you to be an expert. Let me tell it does NOT.

M officer,

I do not appreciate your aversion of the issues, nor the continual condescending comments and chest-beating about how being in the field is the only thing that qualifies people to make commentary on the stories posted here. Good thing there is not a "Do you have years of field experience thus qualifying to you post here" checkbox on the form.

Suffice it to say that based on the comments from assorted LAPD officers on this thread, it is evident here why so many citizens in LA are not favorable in their opinions of the force.

M Officer, I'm proud of you as an expressive individual who is also one of the LEOs of Los Angeles. You are a born leader, and I hope I meet you on the streets one of these days. I'd love to have a long discussion with you and Policegirl and Lawgirl. Jeff, I travel hwy 14 with the moralistic JQP, and I am grateful that when one of us slides under a jacknifed semi you will have a radio to summon Air 5 to bring the can opener to get us out and airlifted to a hospital. I'm also glad you found a way to get home to the children of the corn in Antelope Valley while the rest of us fume on the freeway. You and your family are good neighbors. See you at roller hockey.

Wow! So much talk about what LAPD Motor Officers should be doing or for what they should be held accountable.

How do the conversations you all have had help you achieve any goal you have in life? By the discussions, you are having, what do expect to achieve?

My expectation is that you all will focus your attention on those things in life that you can control.

The reality is that the vehicle-take-home policy is part of the benefit package to encourage personnel to accept the dangerous assignment as a motor officer. Do some research on the injury rate for that assignment?

The other reality is that citizen oversight is critical. That's why law enforcement is a profession. Professions have oversight. Do some research on other professions? It seems most, if not all others, who hold themselves out as professionals in California have to have a license. With that license comes oversight. It is odd that law enforcement officers are not required to be licensed by an independent agency. Granted the basic post certificate requirement could be considered a license; however, post cannot revoked the certificate under circumstances as other licensing authorities can.

The reality is that both of you have valid points. Law enforcement personnel should recognize that civilian oversight is critical. Non-Law enforcement personnel (or those in the position of civilian oversight) should recognize that the demands on law enforcement are sometimes unrealistic.

To the person that wants to change LAPD, here is a goal that will get what you want--Civilian Oversight--REMOVE CIVIL SERVICE PROTECTION FOR ALL COMMAND OFFICERS IN THE LAPD.

To the law enforcement officers that have concerns with those that don't understand your struggle, try viewing the world from their perspective. You are a very different type of person. They will most likely never truly understand your position. When there is chaos, they will give you more discretion. When there is no chaos, they will give you no discretion. You are their warrior in wartime and their social worker in peacetime.


Well said. You hit the hammer on the head on both sides of the issue.

JQ Public,

Until you have fought for your life with a strung out murder suspect who has vowed to never go back to prison and had his blood smeared all over you; rode in the back of an ambulance with a 2-year old little girl who's face has been ripped open by a 9mm bullet; felt the "whiz" of a bullet pass by your head or watched your best friend and partner take his last breath, will you will have any credibility with any "LEO". Until that happens, your opinions only "get under the skin" of those who wear the uniform. To all my collegues and those who support the law enforcement community... JQ has no idea what he's talking about and we should not bow down to his riduculous comments by responding to him!

I am a citizen of this fine city & would like it to be known that I nor any other citizen I know share the opinions of JQ Public.

From reading some of his/her many articulate responses and comments, I have no doubt that he/she will ever be satisfied with the policy/procedure of the Los Angeles Police Department.

I do agree that he, as well as the PO's, has every right and obligation to question authority and to challenge it. But, it seems that your criticism has crossed into another realm of negativity.

Thankfully, he does not represent all citizens of our city. (if he/she even lives in Los Angeles)
We are not all pessimistic and most are smart enough to know that the actions of a few bad cops, throughout the history of department, is not representative of the entire department.

Thank you officers; patrol, motor, admin and all others for all you do.

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