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Eight Years of Consent Decree Policing

After the original five-year term and one three-year extension, there is a very real possibility that we may soon be able to work without the extremely expensive monitoring required by the Consent Decree.  The changes we have made over the last eight years are monumental and it is vitally important that we understand what the end of the Consent Decree will mean.     

Since the U.S. Department of Justice began suing police departments, about 10 other agencies have entered consent decrees or similar settlement agreements.  None of the agencies, however, were as large or as complex as ours.  The mandates imposed on us were so far-reaching that the monitoring costs alone exceeded $1.5 million per year.  We are measured against a standard known as “substantial compliance.”    

Lasting Change

Our goal was to effect lasting change, a much higher standard than “substantial compliance.”  Where others may have focused on the minimum requirements of the Consent Decree, we made the Consent Decree one, albeit a large one, of many initiatives designed to achieve lasting change.  We tipped the balance and today, a majority of all community members have positive feelings about the LAPD and about the future of policing in Los Angeles.  In the areas identified for improvement, the numbers suggest that we are doing just that - improving.  

Police departments are especially resistant to change because the process of change often comes too close to the agency’s pride, tradition or perceived standards for officer safety.  In the mind of many officers, the Consent Decree touched a nerve for all three.  The weight of widely reported scandals and a broken discipline system already had officers on the defensive.  Your pride, morale and productivity were already under attack, and then came the Consent Decree.

Among the most sweeping changes would be a call for an automated “early warning system,” to alert managers of “at-risk” behavior and tracking of certain information on police stops, such as race and ethnicity.  There would be comprehensive changes in the area of use of force reporting.  Anti-corruption protocols would focus on the use of confidential informants and oversight of gang units.  Officers felt like they were under a microscope and at a significantly increased risk of getting in trouble.

Your ability not only to survive, but to thrive during a time of unprecedented change is a testament to your professionalism and resiliency.  I wanted the policing profession on a large scale to benefit from your success, so I called for an independent study.  


 Making the Grade at Harvard

With grant funding from the Police Foundation and unprecedented access to the LAPD, the distinguished faculty, staff and graduate students at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government embarked on what has been described as the most far-reaching study of a police department outside the time of a crisis.  In some respects, asking for an independent review is like asking for comments in an open roll call.  A chief had better be thick skinned, because the resulting commentary can be good, bad or ugly.  When the Harvard Study was complete, there was mostly good; the little bad was showing signs of improvement, and there was virtually no ugly.  

Harvard researchers even found an indirect but reliable way to measure quality.  It is surprisingly simple, but makes good sense.  In essence, anytime a police action results in a “record” or a process which requires a supervisory review, prosecutorial filings, or judicial review, Harvard researchers found a predictable level of quality above the stops not subject to critical review.    

Between 2002 and 2008, the number of stops you made went up by 49 percent.  That is well over one quarter of a million more stops.  In 2008 stops were far more likely to result in an arrest and were therefore associated with a high degree of quality.

Your productivity is up, your concerns about the risks to your careers are down, your confidence in the discipline system is up, and most importantly - public confidence in you is way up.  

Public Confidence

Public Confidence was at the heart of the Federal Consent Decree.  Two years ago, 71 percent of the Los Angeles public thought that you were doing either a good or excellent job.  Responding to that same question today, 83 percent believe you are doing either a good or excellent job.  The people rating your work as “excellent” doubled over the same two-year period.  

An 83 percent approval rating and one that is trending up from two years ago is nothing less than phenomenal.  Virtually any service provider who measures public approval ratings would love to have an 83 percent approval rating.  Rarely do even popular presidents hold a rating this high for more than a brief time.  Considering that police work is not always nice and neat, the trends in public confidence that you have achieved are very encouraging.  Not only is the LAPD approval rating significantly higher than just two short years ago, but today a significant majority of the respondents  no longer believe that crime is a big problem.    

More than two-thirds of Hispanic and Black residents think well of the job the LAPD is doing today, rating us as good or excellent; yet a substantial minority within each of these groups remains unsatisfied with the Department, and 10 percent of Black residents report that almost none of the LAPD officers they encounter treat them and their friends and families with respect.

It is encouraging though that Black residents of Los Angeles are among the most hopeful about the Department.  In fact, the vast majority of each racial and ethnic group is hopeful that respectful and effective policing will soon be routine.

Improving Status of Critical Positions

The Harvard Study reported an increase in the status of certain positions and groups, including the positions of Senior Lead Officer, the Inspector General and the Police Commission.

The Senior Lead Officers have become neighborhood specialists and experts in building relationships.  The Harvard researchers found Senior Lead Officers to be very well informed about the basic car areas and the officers assigned to those areas.  Unlike “community liaison officers” found in other departments, the Senior Lead Officer of today has more influence with the area command and supervision.   Seventy-five percent of all officers completing the Harvard survey agreed or strongly agreed that the work of Senior Lead Officers helps to reduce crime.  Eighty-eight percent of officers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that “SLOs do valuable work for the Department,” with one-third strongly agreeing.

There is a growing respect for the Police Commission and the Inspector General.  In the Harvard study, many described the status of the Commission as the strongest Board in a long time.  Theirs is a full time job…for no pay.  They handle complex issues, from the political to the technical.    

The Inspector General has “earned respect” in the Department.  During the Harvard Study, one officer reported  “We need them … They’re in the business of criticism, and we’re not perfect.”  The research was very complimentary of the current Inspector General with regard to his diplomacy.  His new approach has earned him greater access than his predecessors enjoyed.  The systems that he has implemented will help ensure that the improvements to the status of his position will survive a change in administrations, including his own, the Chief of Police or the Police Commission.  

We are all stronger for the increased status and influence of the Police Commission and the Inspector General.  It is my hope that we all recognize that there are no unimportant parts of the LAPD.      

Best Practices

When it comes to the Core Value – Quality Through Continuous Improvement, we talk the talk and walk the walk.  To me, the response “we’ve never done it that way before” is only mildly interesting.  Change does not scare me in the least and I am not concerned if an idea comes from a much smaller agency, a probationary officer or an assistant chief; a good idea is a good idea.  There is always room for improvement and, as the Harvard Study put it, striving for improvement is now a part of our life blood.  We have integrated the mandates of the Consent Decree into our policies and procedures.  They represent the best practices in law enforcement today.  As a result, there will be little noticeable difference in our day-to-day operations.  You deserve a tremendous amount of credit and I applaud your ability to work toward a better LAPD.  The Harvard Study reinforced and confirmed my belief that you, the Department, our residents and our City, have significantly benefited from the Consent Decree.  We are once again known for, admired for, and respected for our best practices, integrity and professionalism.  It was a long a journey but one that was well worth taking.    

The entire Harvard Study is available at www.lapdonline.org

Armed Robbery Suspects Terrorize Clerk

Los Angeles:  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating two suspects who robbed a market at gunpoint in Echo Park.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at around 9:40 a.m., suspect #1 walked into a grocery store in the 3200 block of Sunset Boulevard.  He made a purchase and left the store.

A short time later, suspect #1 returned, accompanied by Suspect #2 who was carrying a duffle bag.  Suspect #1 took a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the store clerk, ordering her to the ground.  Suspect #2 then tied the clerk up while suspect #1 emptied the cash register.  Both suspects ran from the market and there is no vehicle description.

Suspect #1 is described as a male Hispanic with a dark complexion, 16-18 years-old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall, 120-125 pounds.  He was last seen wearing a black, long-sleeved shirt with white stripes, blue jeans with a black belt and white shoes.  He was armed with a blue steel pistol. 

Suspect #2 is described as a male Hispanic, 19-23 years-old, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall, 175-185 pounds.  He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt with a dollar sign on the front, blue jeans, black gloves, white shoes and “aviator” style sunglasses.  He was carrying a blue duffle bag with black handles and a black nylon case with a shoulder strap.

Images of the suspects were captured by store surveillance cameras and are available at www.lapdtv.org.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call LAPD Rampart Area Robbery Detective Emily Raupp at 213-484-3629.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text "Crimes" with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with "LAPD."  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Suspect Injured as He Tried to Escape while Resisting Arrest

Los Angeles: A suspect believed to have a misdemeanor arrest warrant ran from police as they attempted to detain him for questioning.

On July 23, 2009, at approximately 6:45 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street Narcotics Enforcement Division Officer Wesley Sarno, a five-year veteran of the Department, and his partner, were working a plain clothes detail searching for narcotics activity in the area of 1500 West 51st Street.

Sarno and his partner saw suspect Darnell Hampton, 38 years of age, walking in the alley.  Hampton matched the description of a misdemeanor warrant suspect and the officers attempted to stop him to investigate further.  As the officers tried to talk with Hampton, he immediately took off running.  Following a short foot pursuit, the officers caught up to him, but he continued to resist them as they were taking him into custody. 

During the struggle, Officer Sarno's mobile communications device hit Hampton's head, resulting in a minor injury.  He was subsequently taken into custody without further incident.

Los Angeles City Fire Personnel responded, treated and released Hampton at the scene, and he was booked for possessing marijuana for sale.

The LAPD Force Investigation Division is investigating the use of force, and LAPD 77th Area Narcotics Enforcement Division is investigating the narcotics violation.  No officers were injured during the altercation.

Notes from the July 28, 2009 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

  • Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger expressed his gratitude and esteem to the men and women from Central Area homicide and Scientific Investigation Division on their tireless efforts in leading to the capture of the suspect who allegedly killed 17 year old Lily Burk over the weekend.  He added it was a powerful example of what the LAPD is capable of.
  • The verbal presentation and update from the Commanding Officer and Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) representative regarding community initiated problem solving, crime strategies, and other programs and goals within the Foothill Area was given by Captain  Joseph Curreri and Ms. Vikki Burch. Ms. Burch informed the Commission the Foothill C-PAB consists of 47 members, 25 of which regularly attend meetings.  She added C-PAB members work with Senior Lead Officers to improve quality of life in the area.  Programs include the Zero Waste Program, Neighborhood Watch, Youth C-PAB, and a Volunteer Surveillance Team.
  • The Department’s verbal presentation and update relative to the status of the new Police Administrative Building (PAB) and other Police construction projects was given by Police Administrator Thom Brennan.  Mr. Brennan stated the new PAB was in the finishing stages with system testing being done.  September 8, 2009, is the new move-in date.  He added all major construction projects paid for with funds from Proposition Q were complete.
  • The Department’s report, dated July 7, 2009, relative to the Criminal Case Filing Rates of Individuals Arrested – 2nd Quarter Report (April 1, 2009 – June 30, 2009), was continued.
  • The Department’s report, dated July 22, 2009, relative to the Gang Enforcement Detail Quarterly Status Report, Second Quarter 2009, was approved.
  • The Department’s report, dated July 17, 2009, relative to the City Council Motion Regarding Photo Red Light Bankruptcy (C.F No. 07-1202-S7), as given by Deputy Chief Richard Roupoli, City Attorney Terry Martin-Brown, and Sergeant Matthew MacWillie was approved.  Deputy Chief Roupoli said the company which runs and maintains the City’s photo red light system filed for receivership on June 4, 2009.  City Attorney Martin-Brown informed the board a receivership requires an independent person not affiliated with the company be selected to run the operation.  The intent is to either sell the company or to make the assets of the company liquid to satisfy creditors.  She added the current City contract with the company expires April 4, 2011.  Sergeant MacWillie stated there has been no change to the system and the company is still maintaining the equipment and is still sending violations to officers for review.  The Board directed a Request for Proposals be prepared now as opposed to a future date.
  • The Department’s report, dated July 14, 2009, relative to the request for approval of selected vendor for Valley Bureau Wireless Camera Surveillance System, as approved.

One of “LA’s Most Wanted” in Custody

Los Angeles:  After being profiled on television’s Fox 11 news show LA’s Most Wanted, David Gardiner was arrested by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Wilshire Homicide Detectives .

On July 27, 2009, at around 11 a.m., 21-year-old David Gardiner of Los Angeles was arrested following a nine month investigation after being profiled on a local version of a television show featuring most-wanted criminals.  The show, hosted by Tony Valdez, aired on Saturday, July 25, 2009.  A $50,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Gardiner and another outstanding suspect, Brandon Daniels.

Gardiner was one of four suspects wanted in connection with the shooting death of Noe Gonzalez.  Gonzalez was killed during a botched robbery at a marijuana clinic located in the 800 block of La Brea Boulevard where Gonzalez worked as a security guard.  Immediately after the crime, two of the suspects were captured but Gardiner and Daniels eluded police at the time.

Detectives received an anonymous tip after the show aired that led them to Gardiner.  Daniels remains at large and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Wilshire Homicide Detectives at 213-473-0446. During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

COMPSTAT Citywide Profile

Crime Statistics July 25, 2009

VIOLENT CRIMES                2009**           2008**          % Chg

Homicide                             171*              215           -20.5%
Rape                                    454               456             -0.4%
Robbery                              6915             7166             -3.5%
Agg Assaults **                    6362             6884             -7.6%
Total Violent Crimes        13,902          14,721            -5.6%


Burglary                              10101              0681           -5.4%
BTFV                                  16018            16886           -5.1%
Personal/Other Theft          15072            15609           -3.4%
Auto Theft                          10437            12502          -16.5%
Total Property Crimes     41,628          55,678          -7.3%
Total Part I Crimes          65,530          70,399          -6.9%

* Numbers reflects a change in reclassification for Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines and numbers are adjusted accordingly.

** Prior to 2005, Aggravated Assaults included Child/Spousal Simple Assaults

Sexual Assault Suspect Lures Young Girls to Apartment Buildings Suspect Footage Captured on Surveillance Video

Los Angeles:  For over a year, a suspect operating in central Los Angeles has been periodically approaching young girls and trying to entice them into apartment buildings where he attempts to sexually assault them.

The most recent event occurred on July 10 of this year at around 7 a.m. when a 10-year-old girl was walking in the area of 3rd and Hoover Streets.  The suspect approached her and drew her into an apartment building in the 300 block of South Hoover Street where he took her to the roof.  However, something apparently startled him, so he suddenly departed and left the victim behind.

Images of the suspect were captured on the apartment complex’s video surveillance system showing him walking and conversing with the victim as they approached the building.  Later, he is also shown running out of the building.  Investigation of the incident connected the suspect to two other similar events that occurred last year.

On April 30, 2008, at around 7:30 a.m., an 8-year-old girl was walking in the 600 block of South Burlington Avenue in Los Angeles when the suspect approached her and led her into an adjacent apartment building where he attempted to sexually assault her in a secluded area of the property.  Again images of the suspect  were captured by a nearby video camera showing the suspect walking and conversing with the victim as they approached the apartment complex.

On February 29, 2008, at about 7 a.m., a 9-year-old girl was walking in the area of James M. Wood Boulevard and Hoover Street in Los Angeles when the suspect approached her on foot, conversed with her and eventually pulled her into an apartment building in the 2700 block of James M. Wood Boulevard.  He then attempted to sexually assault her.

The suspect is described as a 25- to 35-year-old male Hispanic with black hair, brown eyes, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing between 150 and 170 pounds.

Parents are reminded to discuss safety issues with their children, especially in reference to not talking with people they don’t know.  Parents are also encouraged to accompany their children to school or arrange for children to walk and stay in groups.

** Map of the crimes**

**Surveillance footage of suspect is available at www.lapdtv.org or in the “news room” of the LAPD website at www.lapdonline.org **

Detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect or witnesses to the crime.  Anyone with information should contact the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division, Special Assaults Section at 213-485-2921.  After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or by texting CRIMES (274637) and begin the message with the letters LAPD.  Tipsters may also submit information on the LAPD website: www.lapdonline.org.  All tips may remain anonymous.

Body Of 17-year Old Murder Victim Found In Downtown Los Angeles


On July 26, 2009, at approximately 7:15 p.m., Central Area Detectives booked Charlie Samuel, a male Black from Los Angeles, for the murder of Lily Burk.

Detectives received confirmation Sunday afternoon on latent prints collected from Burk’s car that confirmed that Samuel had been an occupant inside the vehicle.  They then discovered that Samuel was already in custody.
Detectives believe that Burk encountered Samuel in the area of Wilshire Boulevard and Wilshire Place at around 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, July 24, 2009.  Burk and Samuel then traveled to the downtown area of Los Angeles where Burk made several attempts to get money from an ATM. 

After several unsuccessful attempts, Burk phoned both of her parents to ask how to use her credit card to get money from an ATM.  She was told by her father that the card she had could not be used at an ATM.  Burk then made arrangements with her father to go to their home to pick up an unspecified amount of money.  She never made it home.

Within two hours of that phone call, Samuel drove Burk’s car to 458 South Alameda Street where he abandoned the car with Burk’s body inside and simply walked away.

Approximately thirty minutes later Samuel was detained by Metropolitan Division, Mounted Unit Officers Miguel Dominguez and Gary Copeland  for a Drinking in Public violation near 3rd Street and Los Angeles Street.  During the detention and subsequent search of Samuel, the Officer’s found narcotics paraphernalia in his possession.

Samuel was subsequently arrested and booked for Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia.

Evidence already collected directly links Samuel to this crime.  Detectives continue to develop the case with additional evidence expected to be uncovered.  The motive appears to be robbery. 

Samuel had been in Los Angeles to complete a program he was ordered to participate in as part of his parole conditions for previous crimes.

Los Angeles:    In the early morning hours of July 25, 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department received a call of a young woman’s body in a parked car near Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.  

Around 6:15 am, Los Angeles police officers from Central Area responded to a call of a young woman’s body in a black Volvo parked in a lot at 5th and Alameda.  An employee of a local business was walking past the car saw the body and called police.  The teenager, who has been identified as 17-year old Lily Burk, was found in the passenger side of the car.  Detectives who responded to the scene are investigating Burk’s death as a homicide.

Burke had left her home yesterday afternoon July 24, 2009 shortly before 2:00 pm to deliver some paperwork to the Southwestern University School of Law.  More than an hour later she made two phone calls to each of her parents asking them how to get cash using her credit card at an ATM.  She was not heard from again and her parents reported her missing around 7 pm Friday evening.  Officer’s responded to her parent’s home and a missing person’s report was taken.  

Despite working through the night to locate the missing teenager, she was found deceased hours later in her car.  

Homicide detectives believe Burk was killed early Friday evening.  Inside her car, detectives discovered signs of a struggle.  Burk had head injuries and detectives believe the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.  There was no visible damage to her vehicle.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Central Area Detectives Robert Nelson or Albert Marengo at 213-972-1253.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

69Year-Old Critical Missing

Los Angeles:  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is asking for public’s assistance in locating 69-year-old Kathryn Crawford-Baxter a resident of Los Angeles.

On Friday, July 24, 2009 at around 1:45 p.m., Kathryn was dropped off at a park at Valley Circle and Ingomar in Canoga Park by a relative to enjoy some fresh air.  When the relative returned Kathryn could not be found.  Kathryn suffers from dementia and needs her medication.  Kathryn was wearing a yellow and red striped shirt and olive green pants.   

Kathryn is described as female, African-American, 5’02”, 120 lbs, with brown straight hair, brown eyes and a small build.  She was carrying a black purse.

Los Angeles Police Department, Wilshire Division Area is handling the investigation.  Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact detectives at 213-473-0476.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips.  When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Sexual Assault Suspect Behind Bars

Los Angeles:  On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, LAPD’s Sexual Assault Detail officers arrested 49 year-old Jorge Amilcar Pavon for committing Lewd Acts upon a Child under 14 years of age.  

Pavon who has performed maintenance in over twenty apartment buildings containing over five hundred units in the Hollywood area, has been arrested for sexually assaulting a 9 year-old female.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is releasing Pavon’s photo in the event there are additional female juvenile victims that have not yet come forward.  

Pavon is being held without bail and is also awaiting immigration proceedings.  

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Operation West Bureau Sexual Assault Detail Officers Judit Castellanos or Justin Malcuit at 213-473-0404. During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.