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March 2011 COP Message

At the beginning of the year, I sat down for well over an hour with officers in the roll call room at Hollywood station.  The experience brought back some great memories from my days in roll call. More importantly, I was very pleased with the candor of everyone present.  It was a great opportunity for open dialogue, to dispel rumors and to provide insight as to how and why recent changes in systems of this organization are made, while sharing a cup of coffee with you. For those who couldn’t be there, we talked about everything from Financial Disclosure forms, to promotions to training and many other important concerns.

To date, a substantial number of officers have signed a Financial Disclosure.  Whether or not to sign is a personal decision and one that I know is not made lightly.  I want to thank those officers who have signed Financial Disclosures for your commitment to staff these important positions. I also want to thank those that have chosen not to sign for the outstanding job you did while assigned to these positions in reducing crime.  I am confident all of you will continue to work together in the future to make Los Angeles the safest city in America.

Much of our discussion involved budget problems.  As you all know, the current budget situation makes it tough for me to implement some great ideas you’ve suggested to make your work much more efficient.  For example, one officer asked about telephonic reports and electronic DFARs and reports, both of which clearly make sense. Sadly, with civilian staffing levels severely impacted by furloughs and the lack of funding and technology to integrate with our current systems, going paperless is just too difficult to implement under current conditions.  But, I’m not giving up on this great idea.  This is a long term project that I will support, as it is a means getting you back out onto the streets a lot faster.  But we cannot do this without our civilian workforce fully staffed.  I’m looking forward to the day we can refill those critical civilian positions which all of us understand are vital to our ability to properly serve the city.

A few other issues we discussed at the Hollywood Area roll call: 

•    While I am still looking for ways to streamline the booking process to get officers released faster, (especially when arrestees need medical treatment), forced furloughs of our detention officers limit any ideas that would include additional jail staffing.
•    We are researching the impact of the educational requirement for promotional exams.  I will continue to support programs that assist you in earning college credits.
•    As a few of you have suggested ways the Department can generate revenue by charging violators for “Fix it” tickets, my staff is currently looking into this and researching the pros and cons of taking this on.
•    We are looking into expanding the list of approved firearms for both off duty and back up carry (.380 pistols: the Ruger LCP and the S&W Bodyguard) in addition to testing new primary duty weapons (Springfield Model XDM .40 caliber, S&W Model M&P .40 caliber, or the Glock Gen 4 Model 22 .40 Caliber).
•    The question about future training for FTO, Vice and Narco schools was posed.  As of this writing, a modified training schedule for these schools will continue as calendared for 2011.  Please check the Training Notices section on the LANs for upcoming schools and training or contact the Training Coordination and Detective Training Units.


I appreciate very much the suggestions and ideas I got at Hollywood and the many others I receive from officers as I read my email (and I read every one), visit with officers on the street and work the occasional patrol shift. Your ideas do not fall on deaf ears by any means. However, in the best of times I could not implement overnight every good idea I hear.  In today’s budgetary climate, it’s even tougher to move forward.  But I’m not discouraged. And I hope you aren’t either.  Please keep those ideas coming and know we will move on them as quickly as we can.

Good Bye, Bill

By the time you read this message, I will have visited Van Nuys’ station as my second stop for my monthly coffee chat with you in roll call.  I would be remiss if I did not express my heartfelt empathy for Captain Bill Eaton’s family and friends.  Last month I asked you to keep Bill in your prayers as he was battling cancer.  Despite giving it his all, Bill lost the fight and passed away on January 13, 2011.  Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers as they, like all of us, are mourning his loss.  Many of us men and women in blue were fortunate to have called him a friend and became part of his extended family.  Bill was a great man and truly deserving of the special tribute to his life recently aired on an episode of the television show “Southland”.  May his memory live on through the selfless work you do every day.


Burglary Suspect Caught in the Act

Los Angeles:  A burglary suspect, who is believed responsible for several residential burglaries, was taken into custody early Friday morning shortly after committing a burglary.

On February 18, 2011, at around 6:45 a.m., investigators from Robbery Homicide Division, Special Investigation Section (SIS) were in the area of Halsted Street and Encino Avenue, investigating a series of burglaries in the West Valley Area.  As they were conducting their investigation a burglary occurred and investigators began following the suspect, 23 year old Jonathan Martin.

Officers attempted to make a traffic stop on Martin, but he failed to comply and led officers on a short pursuit.  Once stopped, Martin jumped from his vehicle and ran from the officers.  After establishing a perimeter a search for Martin was conducted.  He was found hiding by LAPD Metropolitan K-9 Officer Chris Amador and his K-9 partner, “Ralph”.

During the arrest Martin was bitten by the dog. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries and listed in stable condition.

Martin was booked for Burglary and is being held on $50,000 bail.

Officer Amador is a 21-year 3-month veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.
 
Force Investigation Division is conducting the investigation into the use of force resulting in Martin’s injuries.


Missing Person

Los Angeles:  The family of Manal Bali and the Los Angeles Police Department requests the public’s assistance in helping to find her.

On February 17, 2011, at around 11 a.m., Bali was last seen in the 400 block of South Gramercy Boulevard.  She had told her mother that she was going to church, but never returned, and has not contacted her family.  This behavior is very uncharacteristic of Bali and family members are extremely concerned for her wellbeing.

Bali is a 52 year old White female of Egyptian decent, with brown hair, brown eyes, 5 feet 4 inches tall, and weighs approximately 110 pounds.  She was wearing a black jacket and gray pants and had her hair pulled back.  Bali is known to frequent the area of Western Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.  She is also known to frequently feed the homeless in the area of St. Basil’s Church.   

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Bali is asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Missing Persons Unit at 213-996-1800. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


Molotov Cocktail Assault Suspect Arrested

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Wilshire Area Major Assault Crimes and Narcotics detectives have arrested a suspect who used a Molotov cocktail device to threaten victims.

On Feb. 6, 2011, a resident from the Mid-City area of Los Angeles reported threats to his and his family’s safety from a suspect trying to collect on a debt.  That evening, a Molotov cocktail device was lit in front of his residence, prompting a response by the Los Angeles Fire Department.  The device did not cause injury or damage to the victim’s residence and was collected by LAFD arson investigators.  

Wilshire detectives worked in conjunction with LAFD arson investigators in the early stages of the investigation, which disclosed that the suspect was threatening the victim due to a drug debt owed by a family member.  Detectives believed the threat was credible and the victim would be harmed on Friday, February 11, if the debt wasn’t collected by the suspect’s deadline. In the meantime, detectives developed information that the suspect responsible for the threats and lighting the Molotov cocktail could be staying on a boat in Marina Del Rey.

On Feb. 11, 2011, Wilshire detectives conducted a follow-up investigation in Marina Del Rey where they located a boat on which the suspect, 29-year-old Dane Reynaldo, was staying.  Detectives made contact with Reynaldo and took him into custody without incident.  Also, a search warrant for Reynaldo's West Los Angeles residence and the boat recovered a large amount of narcotics and a handgun.  

On Feb. 15, 2011, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office filed multiple felony counts against Reynaldo, including possessing and igniting a destructive device with intent to injure/intimidate, criminal threats, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and several narcotics counts.  Reynaldo's bail has been set at $1,035,000.

Anyone with information about this incident or suspect is asked to call Wilshire Area Detective DeShon Andrews at 213-473-0510 or 213-922-8205.  During non-business hours, calls may be directed 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may contact Crimestoppers by texting the number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


Suspects Sought in Home Invasion Robbery

Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Olympic Division detectives are asking for the public’s help in providing any information that will lead to the arrest of suspects responsible for a home invasion robbery in Koreatown.

On January 24, 2011, at about 2:45 a.m., three male Korean suspects entered a condominium complex in the 3900 block of Ingraham Street and robbed some residents. The suspects then took the victim’s property and left the location in an unknown direction.

The suspects are to be considered ARMED and DANGEROUS.

Suspect #1 is Austin Yun, a 20-year-old male Korean. He stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.


 


                          
Suspect #2 is Brian Choi, a 24-year-old male Korean, and stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds.






Suspect #3 is Inkee Ryu (AKA Danny Ryu), a 20-year-old male Korean, 6 feet and 180 pounds.  He owns a 2003, 2-door black Honda Civic with the license plate of “5EUK025”. 




Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Olympic Area Robbery Detectives at 213-485-1383. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


Murder Suspect Identified Suspect Considered Armed and Dangerous

Los Angeles:   Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) North Hollywood Area detectives have identified a suspect who shot and killed a man and wounded another in a McDonald’s parking lot on Dec. 6, 2010.  

Investigators have identified 27-year-old Andranik Katabyan as the shooting suspect who approached 27-year-old Davit Khachikyan and 24-year-old Ashak Tatoyan at a McDonald’s location in the 12000 block of Victory Boulevard.  Katabyan also had an associate with him. A verbal dispute ensued, and Katabyan shot both victims multiple times with a handgun.  Khachikyan died from the gunshots, and Tatoyan was wounded and hospitalized.

Katabyan is a male Armenian who stands about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 210 to 220 pounds. He is still at large, and detectives consider him armed and dangerous.  

Anyone with information regarding this case, especially the location of the suspects, is asked to call North Hollywood Area Homicide Detectives Mark O’Donnell or Steve Castro at 818-623-4075. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.


Child Abduction Regional Emergency (C.A.R.E.) Alert Babysitter Sought in the Kidnapping of 2-year-old Girl

**Update**
February 18, 2011
Today, at about 12:20 a.m., the suspect Tamara Moore walked into the 77th Street Community Police Station and turned herself in along with 2-year-old Lashiba Joy Berry.  Moore was taken into custody and Berry is safe and in the care of Department of Child and Family Services.

Los Angeles:  The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is requesting that the media provide the public with the following information to assist law enforcement efforts in locating an abducted child.

On February 15, 2011 at around 8:10 p.m., 2-year-old Lashiba Joy Berry was last seen in her family’s RV parked in the area of 70th Street and Grand Avenue where she resides with her father Larry Berry and her two-month-old brother.  Lashiba and her brother were left in the care of the father’s female friend Tamara Moore while he ran some errands. When Berry returned 30 minutes later, Tamara and Lashiba were gone.  Berry found the two-month-old in the RV unharmed.

Tamara has been known to frequent the area of 103rd and Figueroa Streets and 109th Street and Western Boulevard.

Tamara is described as an 18-year-old Black female with black hair and brown eyes. She stands  5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. Tamara has tattoos under each eye and the name “William” on the back of her neck.

Lashiba is described as a two-year-old Black female with black hair and brown eyes. She is 2 ½ feet tall, weighs about 45 pounds and was last seen wearing orange and pink pajamas.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Lashiba is urged to contact LAPD Newton Division at 323-846-6551. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7.  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

 


Off-Duty Officer-Involved Shooting

Los Angeles: On February 14, 2011, at 11:45 p.m., an off-duty LAPD South Traffic Division police officer, three years and seven months with the Department, parked his personal car in the area of Denker Avenue and West 224th Street.  As he was getting out of his vehicle, he saw a man on the sidewalk running towards him armed with a handgun. The suspect pointed the handgun in the officer’s direction, and an officer-involved shooting (OIS) occurred. The suspect was struck by gunfire and fell on the sidewalk.  

LAFD paramedics responded and pronounced the suspect dead at the scene. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Miguel Sanchez.  The off-duty officer was not injured.  The name of the officer will not be released at this time as there are outstanding suspects in the case.

Detectives from the Department’s Force Investigation Division responded to the scene and are conducting an investigation into the OIS.  

The investigation will ultimately be reviewed by the Chief of Police, the Office of the Inspector General and Board of Police Commissioners for compliance with the Department’s use-of-force policy which states that an officer’s use of force actions must be objectively reasonable.  Additionally, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division will conduct a comprehensive review of the facts of the officer-involved shooting.



OP-ED PIECE BY LAPD CHIEF CHARLIE BECK

Every day when Los Angeles Police officers pin on their badges and prepare to protect and to serve, they're reminded of what they learned as Academy recruits: a reverence for human life.  Los Angeles Police Department officers are never trained to “shoot to kill,” only to stop a deadly threat in order to keep the community and themselves safe.  This isn't a rhetorical turn-of-phrase or semantic contrivance, but a real world reality: taking a life -- anyone's life -- is never our intent.  It's a tragedy when it occurs for everyone involved and for the City of Los Angeles.

 On January 14th around 3:30 am, two officers from LAPD’s Pacific Division responded to calls for help and confronted a naked, unarmed, 25-year old man jumping on cars and behaving erratically.  After trying several times to detain the man, they ended up on the ground in a struggle with Reggie Doucet Jr., a six-foot, 190-pound former college football defensive-back.  One of the officers shot Mr. Doucet who was then transported to a local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.  Both officers were injured and were transported to a local hospital.

 This entire incident is a tragedy.  My heart goes out to all involved, from Mr. Doucet's family, to his loved ones and his friends, as well as to the officers involved.  In meetings with community leaders shortly after this tragic event occurred, I expressed deep sympathy for their loss.  I assured them that this incident would be fully and objectively investigated.  And it will.  As the investigation continues, I will provide the facts in the most transparent manner I can without compromising the investigation.

 Understandably, some wonder how it's legal for police to use deadly force against unarmed suspects.  LAPD policy is based on the 1989 Supreme Court ruling in Graham v. Conner in which the court mandated application of an “Objectively Reasonable Standard.”  Under this guideline, officers are trained to evaluate the severity of the crime the suspect is committing or is about to commit and the likelihood his or her behavior will inflict serious injury to an officer or other person.  If a suspect's behavior is likely to cause serious bodily harm, injury or death, officers are, by law, justified in using deadly force to defend themselves and others.  Indeed, many people have died at the hands of unarmed killers and many police officers are slain by unarmed suspects who gain control of officers’ weapons.  No less than 44 officers died this way between 1998-2008; at least two in 2009.  Only a rigorous and exacting investigation can determine whether the use of deadly force in this instance was objectively reasonable.  Whenever officers use deadly force, the LAPD’s Force Investigation Division (FID) conducts an extensive and thorough investigation.  Next, a Use of Force Review (UOFR) Board is convened on all incidents involving use of deadly force, where the use of force requires hospitalization of the arrestee or results in a death.  The Board submits its findings and recommendations to me, the Chief of Police, and I review the case.  I have to decide whether the force was within Department policy and the law, and present my findings and recommendations to the Board of Police Commissioners.  The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office independently investigates the use of force, as does the Inspector General (IG), which monitors the ongoing investigation and conducts its own independent review.  Both are totally separate from the LAPD.  They do not report to me.  The IG's office submits its findings and recommendations to the Police Commission, which makes the final decision as to whether or not a shooting falls within Department policy. 

 Certain things are already known: We know that if a suspect takes or tries to take an officer's gun by force, it's reasonable to assume he or she intends to kill that officer and possibly others.  As recently as November 2010, Riverside Officer Ryan Bonaminio was likely killed with his own duty weapon.  A few weeks ago, the Police Chief of Ranier, Oregon, struggled with an unarmed suspect.  The Chief was killed with his own gun.

 And we know, every single day, law enforcement officers in Los Angeles place themselves at life-threatening risk to keep the rest of us safe.  What's more, they consider it a privilege to do so and so do I. 

Keeping the people of Los Angeles safe is our highest priority.  Major crime rates may be at decade-low levels, but the threat of deadly violence is always present.  LAPD continuously looks at ways to improve our policies and training.  In fact, in 2009, we made further changes to our Use of Force Policy making it even more concise, more easily understood and consistent with prevailing law and law enforcement best practice.

 While both Mr. Doucet and the officer involved in this incident are African-American, some have alleged race played a role in this tragedy.  Though that seems unlikely, I ask all concerned to withhold judgment until the facts are in and we can make a reasoned determination based on actual circumstances, available evidence and provable facts.  To those who protect and serve the City of Los Angeles, we owe them that much and more.


Notes from the February 15, 2011 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

•    Police Chief Charlie Beck said the Department successfully policed the Grammy Awards over the weekend and is preparing to police the NBA All-Star game this coming weekend.  He added February is a very busy month.

•    The verbal presentation and update from the Commanding Officer and Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) representative regarding community initiated problem solving, crime strategies, and other programs and goals within the Olympic Area, was given by Captain Matt Blake.  Captain Blake informed the Board crime reduction is the number one goal of the Olympic Area CPAB.  They will accomplish this through various programs including the CPAB Crime Watch Team, Neighborhood Watch, and youth programs such as the Police Cadets.  In order to maintain membership numbers the Olympic CPAB recruits door-to-door.

•    The Inspector General’s report, dated February 9, 2011, relative to the Department’s standards based assessment inspection – Lieutenants and below, was approved.

•    The Inspector General’s report, dated February 9, 2011, relative to the LAPD secret service funds systems audit – narcotics and vice, was approved.

•    The Executive Director’s report, dated February 9, 2011, relative to modification of police commission rules governing official police garages (Rule 13) to require official police garages to hold scofflaw vehicles as defined by California Vehicle Code Section 22651(I), was approved.

•    The Department’s report, dated February 3, 2011, relative to request for supplemental review of biased policing complaint investigations recommendations, was approved.

•    The Department’s report, dated February 2, 2011, relative to biased policing update, as given by Commander Richard Webb, was approved.  Commander Webb stated there were 245 complaints of bias policing in 2010 with 4 involving a racial remark.  One-third of all cases involved issues of constitutional policing. Commander Webb added there are more eyes focused on biased policing cases than any other type of complaint.