Chief's Message - Dec. 2009

For my family and I the holiday season has always been a time to reflect on our many blessings, enjoy spending time with each other, our friends and colleagues.   As we celebrate the holiday’s and look to the New Year, I want to take the time to reflect on all of our accomplishments and experiences in 2009.  It is ironic that during the year when we were celebrating 140-years of LAPD history, we were living through a year in which substantial change came to the organization, change that in itself is history making.
In 2009 we were released from the Consent Decree.  While Federal oversight is no longer required, that the reforms brought about by the Consent Decree must become the way we do business, the very best practices of this Department.  It was also a year of grand openings and moving into several new state-of-the-art facilities.  We opened the Real-Time Analysis and Critical Response Division, Emergency Operations Center, our 20th and 21st Area stations, Olympic and Topanga, and new Hollenbeck and Harbor stations.  We also moved the granddaddy of them all, our new Police Administration Building.
In 2010 we will continue to work hard to drive crime down while continuing to police in a constitutional manner, and we will do all that we can to prepare for and prevent acts of terrorism.    Our jobs will be made more difficult because of the current and future budget shortfalls the city faces.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and our elected officials have committed to continue to hire to attrition, but we have to do our part.  The people of this city expect us to give them the best policing value possible for the precious dollars they are spending.  We have to make maximum use of all of the money we are given before we ask for more

During this holiday season please also take time to remember the 48 Los Angeles Police Department employees that continue to serve in the United States armed forces.  Many of them have not been with their family and friends for the holidays for several years.  I am struck by the extraordinary sacrifices they and their families make to serve our country on foreign soil and here in our communities.

Officer Micheal Almasy 31030 Army National Guard
Officer Francisco Argueta 38829 USMC
Officer Micheal Bain 38932 USMC
Sgt Thomas Bojorquez 30872 Army
Officer Christine Bulicz 34690 Air National Guard
Officer Ismael Chaparro 38731 USMC
Officer Jean-Pierre Charles 39485 Navy
Officer Robert Cottle 29940 USMC
Sgt David Craig 31411 Army National Guard
Officer Cesar Espinoza 37930 USMC
Officer Dominic Evans 38564 USMC
Officer Peter Galan 31808 Army National Guard
Officer Issac Gonzalez- Clemente 38092 Army
Officer Ramon Garcia 39097 USMC
Officer Evan Guevara 34091 USMC
Detective James Hayes 23916 Air National Guard
Officer Eric Hermann 35481 Air National Guard
Officer Mell Hogg 35351 USMC
Officer Manuel Huezo 33990 Coast Guard
Officer Brian Indreland 37296 USMC
Officer Eric Jimenez 39222 Army
Sgt Michael Johnson 31570 USAF
Officer Eui Joung 39150 Army
Sgt Jonathan Kirkpatrick 27400 USMC
Officer Bruno La Hoz 39050 Navy
Officer Brady Lamas 37904 USAF
Officer Timothy Ledingham 32869 Army National Guard
Sgt Chad Lewis 30713 USAF
Officer Erik Loomis 38329 USMC
Officer Victor Lopez 35269 USMC
Officer Kevin Marshall 38399 Army National Guard
Officer John Miller 39293 USMC
Officer Raul Olivares 38917 USMC
Officer Viengkham Ounsombath 37351 Army
Officer Edward Palacios 36023 Army
Officer Edward Petterez 34154 Army
Officer Christopher Phelan 39661 USMC
Officer Noah Pippin 39064 USMC
Officer Brian Putnam 33871 Coast Guard
Officer Thomas Ralph 35104 Army
Officer Jonathan Rocha 38919 USMC
Officer Jose Salgado 39307 USMC
Officer David Sanchez 38115 Army National Guard
Officer John Seffel 35330 US Navy
Officer Francisco Serrano 34668 USMC
Sgt Martin Spann 25923 Army National Guard
Sgt Hector Villanueva 35500 USMC
Sgt Robert White 32998 Army

This year we sadly said good bye to co-workers, partners and friends who passed away. As members of our LAPD family, we keep them alive in our hearts.

Ruben Baca Police Officer I Southeast Area, End of Watch – 2/6/2009
Kenneth Otto Garner Deputy Chief Operations-South Bureau, End of Watch – 3/1/2009
Joyce Diane Corrales Police Service Representative II Newton Area, End of Watch – 3/4/2009
Darlene Goya Commission Executive Assistant I Police Commission, End of Watch – 3/11/2009
Kelvin M. Lee Garage Attendant Motor Transport Division, End of Watch – 3/11/2009
Janine Manji Detective I Wilshire Area, End of Watch – 4/13/2009
Gail Bealey Senior Clerk Typist Detective Support & Vice Division, End of Watch – 5/12/2009
Susan J. Clemmer Detective II Gang and Narcotics Division, End of Watch – 7/6/2009
Bianca Brown-Greene Senior Clerk Typist Communications Division, End of Watch – 7/23/2009
Maria Victoria Castro Management Analyst II Commission Investigation Division, End of Watch ― 8/13/2009
Byung Sun Lee Auditor I Internal Audits and Inspections Division, End of Watch – 9/16/2009
Yvette Jean Pierre Police Service Representative II Rampart Area, End of Watch – 9/23/2009
Willie B. Ford, Jr. Photographer III Scientific Investigation Division, End of Watch – 10/23/2009
Edward Peter Pandolfo Police Officer III Hollywood Area, End of Watch – 10/26/2009
Max Kerstein Reserve Officer Olympic Area, End of Watch – 11/17/2009
Kenneth C. Aragon Police Officer II Northeast Area, End of Watch – 12/3/2009

At this time of year many of us reflect on our own lives and renew our commitment to each other and the causes we believe in.   We look for opportunities to give thanks and help those who need it most.  I encourage everyone to support the LAPD Angels Community Toy and Book Drive by donating a toy and a new or gently used book.  Every little thing we can do to make the holidays a brighter for children in our communities helps to make a difference in their lives.  Each station will mark the holiday season by hosting a party, and inviting those families in their area that are in special need. Your donation will go towards these generous efforts.  I also extend an invitation to everyone to attend the annual Department Holiday party on Saturday December 19 at the Los Angeles Downtown Marriott Hotel.  More information can be found on the LAN.

As we say good bye to 2009, I thank each one of you, sworn and civilian, for all that you do to make us the best law enforcement agency in the world.  From my family to yours, I wish you and your families a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.

Chief's Message - Nov. 2009

Each morning when I wake up and put on this uniform, I am proud to be a member of the LAPD family, and now I’m honored to have been selected as the leader of this extraordinary family, its 56th Chief of Police.

To be a part of the history of this great organization in the capacity of Chief is humbling and I can honestly say, a bit overwhelming.  But I would not have even considered applying for and pursuing the position had I not felt deep in my heart that I am truly the right person at the right time for this organization.  I have been entrusted with the critical job of continuing to ingrain the many changes we have experienced over the past 7 years into the very DNA of this organization.

Change does not only take place at the top levels of any organization, but must also be embraced from the roots up, and in this Department, that means by the boots on the ground.  I want to take the culture change that has occurred in the upper echelons of the Department and make it the core of our rank and file.  I also believe that the only way an organization truly changes is by giving people the resources they need to do their jobs and then hold them accountable.  That means putting more officers into the Areas.  I want to give the Area Captains their own ability to manage their resources, put the authority where the accountability is.       

The progress and transparency that has taken place over the past several years must be maintained and expanded.  Although the leader is important to the LAPD, it takes a team of people to do the job.  It is much too complicated for just one person.  Chief Bratton did a tremendous job of building a team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t build something better.  Think of it in these terms; expect an evolution, not a revolution.  The selection of the Chief of Police is just that, a selection, it’s not an election.  The other candidates have not gone away and I intend to continue to utilize their talents and energies.

I will also work hard to convince our many diverse communities that their talents and energies are also critical to our success.  The recent Harvard and LA Times polls make it clear, the people of Los Angeles like their Police Department and think you are doing a great job.  That’s the way it should be.  The people of this City should be proud of and feel as if this is their Department.  As your Chief, I will have an open line of communication with the different communities of this City to gain a better understanding of the views and opinions of how we protect and serve.  I will also continue the cause of increasing the size of this Department.  We can never go back to the way we used to police, that thin blue line that focused only on response and enforcement.  This needs to be the way we do business:  collaboration and transparency.  We must work with all of our communities and address their problems.  I believe it starts at the patrol level, that is the primary service delivery vehicle and that is who shows up first.   

I also care about your views and opinions.  I want each and every one of you to do well, to feel the same pride that I do to be a member of this policing family.  I have 32 years of working the streets of this City and have learned that by visiting each of the stations, and talking to officers one on one; I can gauge your thinking about the future of the organization and your place in it.  I don’t want you to have to go through an extended learning curve like I did.  I want each of you to progress and develop your careers through compressed evolution.  I want to create and maintain a common framework and shared vision that will include every Department employee, both sworn and civilian.

I know the ghosts of this Police Department’s past, I lived them.  In the 90’s we did not always rise up to our abilities. We did not do what we should have done in some instances.  Feeling the mixture of the pain and pride of our past, I want to convert former Chief Bratton’s legacy into our Department’s destiny.  As an organization we are the bridge between our own past and our future. 

This is not just a job to me, this is who I am.  My father joined the LAPD in 1950 and retired as a Deputy Chief.  I joined the Department in 1977.  My sister was one of the greatest detective’s I have ever worked with.  My wife was a narcotics canine handler for the LA County Sheriff Department.  My daughter is currently a patrol officer in Hollywood and my son will graduate from the Academy on December 4, that graduation will be the first time that I will preside over a ceremony as the Chief of Police of this City.  I can’t argue when people say my blood runs LAPD blue.  That is why I do this job.

Together, we will continue our commitment to reduce crime and the fear of crime, and making this City the safest in America.  Through your continued exemplary hard work and commitment, we will achieve great things as we move forward.  My message to you and what I always want you to remember is this, cops count - character counts; do the right thing and you can be the difference. 

One last thing before you go to work tonight or today. For now on, when you’re in a class C assignment, you can wear long sleeves with no tie.

Thank You

CHIEF’S MESSAGE – October 2009

In this Blueline message I will discuss the new Use of Force Policy and give you a status update on the Department building program.  Use of Force Policy and Department facilities are unlikely partners in a Chief’s message, except that both had been long overdue for a comprehensive review.  Both are now ready to serve you in the years to come.    

Use of Force Policy

From the very first days of the Academy, police officers are reminded that they are entrusted with some awesome responsibilities and none more awesome than those related to the use of force.  With the best of intentions, our policies and procedures pertaining to the use of force evolved until they existed in at least 18 different directives and manual sections.  The fact that these policies and procedures were disjointed was only the beginning of the problem; they were also inconsistent with prevailing case law and lacked clarity for such an important policy.

We owed it to the officers and to the community to make sure that the policy was clear, concise, consolidated and consistent with prevailing law.  Using our methodology of “best practices,” we reviewed use of force policies across the United States and Canada.  We examined applicable case law and the California Penal Code.  After years of work, on July 14, 2009, the Police Commission approved Special Order No. 36, 2009, which will codify the Use of Force Policy entirety in Department Manual Section 1/556.

As many of you already know though your e-learning or through roll call training, the 1989 Supreme Court decision “Graham vs. Connor,” established “Objectively Reasonable” as the standard courts use to judge the lawfulness of a use of force.  It is on this foundation that the new policy is based.    

I care about your safety and your careers.  So please take some extra time to fully understand the new policy.  The potential that you would use force on a human being is, after all, one of the most awesome responsibilities entrusted to you by the people of Los Angeles.

The new Use of Force Policy is the result of outstanding leadership provided by Commissioners Anthony Pacheco and Alan Skobin, First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell, Police Administrator Gerald Chaleff, Deputy Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur, Commanders Rick Jacobs and Richard Webb, Captains Carol Aborn, Scott Sargent, and Steve Zipperman, and City Attorney Debra Gonzalez.  Los Angeles Police Protective League Attorneys Gary Ingemunson and Mike Stone were also a vital part of the process.  I offer my heartfelt thanks to these leaders and all those who played a role behind the scenes.  Job well done.      

World Class Department – World Class Facilities

The billion dollar facilities update we are enjoying today is yet another vote of confidence in you by the people of Los Angeles.  By the time this article is published, we will have constructed 11 new police facilities and renovated 12 others.  Additional new facilities include the Emergency Operations Center, the Metropolitan Detention Center, Metro and Valley Bomb Squad facilities, the Operations-Valley Bureau Headquarters and Valley Traffic Division facility.  With money saved during the building program, the old Rampart Area Station will be renovated and commissioned as a much needed station for Metropolitan Division and there will be extensive remodeling of the Elysian Park Academy, including the addition of a new classroom.      

Our old friend “Parker Center” reached its service life a decade or two ago. We bid it a fond farewell.  The new Police Administration Building (PAB) is a 10 story, $437 million, 500,000 square-foot structure, with a 400 seat civic auditorium.  The new PAB has state of the art technologies like fiber optic connections to computer servers, video conference rooms and a media room with live stream capabilities.  One area in the new PAB that I hope is used to the fullest is the fitness center.  Stay in shape for yourselves, for your families and for the Department.

There will be a new and fitting memorial to the LAPD Officers who gave their lives while serving the people of this City.  The Los Angeles Police Foundation deserves a special thanks for championing the beautiful Memorial Sculpture and garden area located on the top tier of the plaza.  All architectural work for the Police Memorial was provided pro bono by the distinguished firm of Gensler.  In a separate memorial, glass cases near the main entrance will display a replica badge for each of the fallen officers.    

Thousands upon thousands will visit the new PAB in the years to come.  Many of them will visit the memorials.  Few will have the opportunity to express their gratitude for the job you do and the danger you face every single day.

Chief’s Message August 2009

Since it was first commissioned in 1940, the current Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) badge is arguably the most recognizable badge in policing.  Officers in departments across the nation wear badges with distinct LAPD influence.  The familiar LAPD badge has inspired authors, screenwriters, and thousands of young men and women in pursuit of a police career.  The most significant change to the badge came about in 1973 when the designations of “Policeman” and “Policewoman” were retired.  After 1973, all new badges below the rank of Detective and Sergeant read “Police Officer.”

On that special day in the Academy when the badge is pinned on for the first time, I encourage every recruit to wear it with pride and to never do anything to tarnish it.

One of the most accomplished men in Hollywood ever to wear the LAPD Badge was ironically never a police officer.  He was of course actor Jack Webb.  For an eight-year run starting in 1951, Jack Webb played the role of Sergeant Joe Friday and then came back again in the 1960’s for several years.

In August, the United States Postal Service will honor Dragnet, among other classic television shows, in their 20-stamp Early TV Memories collection.  The stamp commemorating Dragnet, will depict Sergeant Joe Friday in his classic "just the facts, ma'am," stare.  Department personnel, families and stamp collecting enthusiasts are encouraged to join us on August 11, 2009, for the Dragnet stamp dedication ceremony at the Elysian Park Police Academy.  It promises to be quite a day.

One of the things Joe Friday understood is that public safety is a primary responsibility of government.  In the City of Los Angeles, 27 cents of every budget dollar is invested in police services, more than double the next most expensive City service.  Police are an investment.  The return on the investment is record low crime rates, unprecedented community confidence and a stronger economy.  But when a budget crisis comes to a country, a state and a city, it also comes to a police department.  In every corner of the LAPD, people are talking about what the budget crisis will mean to them, but none more than in the civilian ranks of the LAPD.

I want to emphasize the fact that this Department would grind to a halt without our civilians.  There are no unimportant civilian jobs in this Department.  Without Civilians: Calls don’t get dispatched.  Cars don’t run.  Evidence doesn’t get analyzed, Paychecks don’t get deposited, and the list could go on and on.

I have been reluctant to talk about the crisis because the situation is still in flux, making today’s fact, tomorrow’s rumor.  As I write this article, the Department is still in the hole $153 million or about 14 percent of our overall budget.  To close this gap, we have cut our salary account to the tune of about $135 million from the sworn account and $18 million from the civilian account.

At a certain point, a police department cannot “do more with less” and neither can a family or individual.  We can tighten our belts, but eventually hard-won momentum is lost.  Hopefully we will come to some definitive resolution on our budget in the not too distant future so that every Department member knows where they stand.  I’m sorry that the process has been so frustrating and has gone on for so long.  Even in the midst of fiscal crisis and uncertainty you, the men and women of the Department, still continue to perform to the highest standards.

In the last few weeks, the world’s eyes were on the City of Los Angeles.  Whether we’re talking about the Lakers championship parade or the Michael Jackson memorial services, you showed the world how major events should be policed.  What would normally have taken weeks or months to plan and execute, you did in a matter of days.

We worked with our partners from allied agencies and public and private service providers, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metrolink, the California Highway Patrol, and Staples Center just to name a few.

In the days that followed the Michael Jackson memorial, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial that pointed out several things that I agree with whole heartedly:  You handled the event “flawlessly” and you are indeed, “a terrific police department.”  Who would have ever thought we would hear that well deserved and appropriate high praise from the LA Times.  It’s a new day and a new LAPD.


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


If you were to read a news headline that said, “Banks Fail, Fortunes Lost, Government Dumps Millions into the Economy” you might think it was printed in either 2008 or this year…  In fact, it is a doom and gloom headline from 1869, the same year the first eight Los Angeles Police Officers took their oath…      

One hundred forty years later, amidst similar headlines, we find ourselves in one of the most interesting periods in law enforcement history…  Through unprecedented transparency we have given academicians and pundits of every type a front row seat to the extraordinary work we are doing and the changes taking place in our Department…  Front row or not, being a member of the “audience” can never compare to being a member of the LAPD team.  You are on the team that is the envy of police departments around the globe…  

I was fortunate enough to become the leader of the LAPD nearly 8 years ago.  As your Chief, I have worked tirelessly to give unprecedented access to the Department…  I have opened doors to writers, reporters, researchers, both critics and supporters alike…  For those already serving, and for those desiring to serve on this Department, I will work just as hard to make sure that your personal goals are achievable as well…

Whether your goal is to attend a “roll call” and “clear” for radio calls in a Black and White on the day you retire and every day before, or whether your goal is to someday sit in my chair, as the Chief of Police, there is honor in both…  I take pride in the fact that I have torn down artificial barriers and broken glass ceilings whenever and wherever I’ve found them, and I will continue to do so…  My commitment to you is that your goals will be achievable in an organization free from discrimination based on race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status or domestic partner status…  We celebrate diversity…  

July is the month we celebrate the diversity of gays and lesbians on the LAPD…  We have people who are openly gay or lesbian and others who choose to be private about their sexual orientation.  Either way is completely appropriate…  Through this diversity, we are becoming a Department that reflects the community of Los Angeles…  It makes good sense that through diversity, we are better equipped to protect and serve…       

The Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Forum exists to help me understand and address the unique issues faced by this community…  At regularly scheduled meetings, members of this community can voice their concerns directly to me and other command officers…  As a show of my support to the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community, I plan to participate in the 39th Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade later this month…  In years past, I have found this event to be very worthwhile...    

Through events such as the 39th Annual Los Angeles Pride Parade, the forum, and through ongoing efforts by our Recruitment and Employment Division, the LAPD demonstrates an eagerness to hire qualified candidates from the gay and lesbian community…  The next gay and lesbian hiring seminar will take place on June 20th at 9:00 a.m. at the Ahmanson Recruit Training Center…

In September, the Gay Peace Officers’ Association will be hosting the 13th Annual International Criminal Justice Diverse Symposium…  This year, the Symposium organizers have arranged for first-rate training on topics including hate crime investigations, domestic violence in gay and lesbian relationships and police officer suicides…

As we strive to continue to build our ranks based on diversity, we are on course to set an all-time high for sworn deployment in 2009…  Somewhere at a recruitment seminar, in the testing process, or visiting is the 10,000th officer…  He or she will enjoy the most up-to-date training, facilities, radios, and technology in the history of law enforcement - anywhere…  In the staffing and equipping of the Department, the taxpayers of this City and the leadership whom they’ve elected have given you a vote of confidence.

The LAPD, sworn and civilian, is an investment…  For eight consecutive years, the investment in the LAPD has paid substantial dividends…  A safe Los Angeles will help to lead California and the Nation from this recession… When we reduce crime, real taxpayer dollars are saved, not to mention the incalculable devastation on families…  In the first weeks of May 2009 compared to the same time period last year, more than 40 fewer people have been murdered…  In April 2009, and for the first time in my tenure, Los Angeles experienced a seven day stretch without a single murder…  

In fact, as of the week ending May 2, 2009, every category of Part One Crimes is in negative numbers:  Homicide -32.6 percent, rape -7.4 percent, robbery -2.1 percent, and aggravated assault -6.9 percent…  On average, total violent crime is down by 5 percent...  Property crimes are also on the decline:  Burglary -4.9 percent, grand theft auto -18 percent, burglary theft from motor vehicle -3.2 percent, and personal theft -4.6 percent…  On average, property crimes are down by 7 percent…  

As we near the mid-year mark in 2009, I am looking forward to even more milestones and to telling more of your success stories…  I am proud to be the leader of a Department of men and women who are so committed to this profession and to the communities we serve…  You were called to a noble profession and you should feel enormously proud... Each and every day you are proving that cops count and police matter...

Chief’s Message – May 2009

We Will Never Forget
To protect and to serve does not come without its sacrifices – the sacrifice of time away from loved ones, the sacrifice our families make, and for a valiant few, the ultimate sacrifice made while in the line of duty.  We all know far too well the dangers of our profession and the bravery and dedication with which we wear the LAPD badge.  Each May, during National Police Officer Memorial Month, we pay tribute to those courageous officers who with their own lives defended the badge and upheld their commitment to the freedoms our democracy provides and police officers protect.   In return, we pledge to them and their families that we will never forget them, their sacrifices, and those that they leave behind.  

Over the course of the Los Angeles Police Department's one hundred and forty year history, 202 officers have given their lives in the line of duty.  In celebrating our Department's 140th anniversary, we cannot forget the heroic tales of our fallen colleagues.  From the very first fallen LAPD Officer in 1907 with Policeman Clyde A. May to Officer Randal Simmons the very first LAPD SWAT officer to die in combat, their sacrifice does not go in vain and each will continue to live on in LAPD history.    

Although a year later, the City continues to feel the loss of our much- loved Officer Randy Simmons.  A true community legend, Officer Simmons epitomized the very best of the LAPD.  As Randy's legacy is burnt in the hearts of the hundreds of children he mentored and thousands of lives which he touched, so will his name be forever etched in the memorial wall in Washington, D.C. this May as he is honored for his sacrifice.

Sadly, last year also did not go without another loss.  Most recently, we lost Officer Spree Desha whose life was cut short in the tragic Metrolink crash of September 2008.  Her body was found among the wreckage, and she was still wearing her badge, bent but unbroken.  Officer Desha was an exceptional officer, receiving 34 commendations during her seven years of service.  Her love for her family and Department was only matched by her devotion to the communities which she so proudly served.

Please join the Department in honoring these fine men and women at the LAPD Annual Memorial Ceremony which will be held on Monday, May 4 at 10:00 a.m. on the Elysian Park Field.  This year, Officer Spree Desha will be inducted as the 202nd LAPD officer to die in the line of duty.  A presentation will be made to the family of Officer Desha and the names of all 202 fallen officers will be read.   Show your support by joining us in commemorating these courageous officers. 

The memory of our fallen officers will also carry on in the new LAPD Officers' Memorial at the site of the new Police Administration Building.  Designed by the Gensler Architecture Firm, the magnificent memorial wall is made of individual brass plaques etched with the LAPD Badge and the names of the officers.  The wall will be placed in the memorial garden area where a reflective space will allow family and friends to remember the officers who have given their lives in service to the City of Los Angeles.  All of the members of the design team at Gensler generously donated their time and expertise in developing the new memorial.

As we take this opportunity to pay tribute to our officers who have given their lives in the line of duty, it is only appropriate during this time of remembrance, we also keep in our hearts and prayers our fellow colleagues, both sworn and civilian, who we have lost over the past year.

Peter Courtney Sinclair
Police Officer II
Personnel Division
End of Watch: 6/12/08

Dorothy E. Gist             
Principal Clerk Police II
Records and Identification Division
End of Watch – 6/14/08

Arthur H. Aspiras         
Senior Clerk Typist
Training Division 
End of Watch – 8/8/08

Spree DeSha                  
Police Officer III
Office of Operations
End of Watch – 9/12/08

Ernesto R. Haro             
Police Officer III
Hollywood Area
End of Watch – 9/29/08

Richard Mathias            
Police Officer III
Southeast Area  
End of Watch – 10/24/08

Grace Bradbury
Harbor Area
End of Watch – 11/11/08

Gregory Allen Ortiz
Police Officer II
Professional Standards Bureau
End of Watch – 12/31/08

Ruben Baca
Police Officer I
Southeast Area
End of Watch – 2/06/09

David Lee "Dr. Dave" Briggs, Sr.
Minister of Leather
End of Watch – 2/24/09

Kenneth Otto Garner
Deputy Chief
Operations-South Bureau
End of Watch – 3/1/09

Joyce Diane Corrales
Police Service Representative II
Rampart Area
End of Watch – 3/4/09

Darlene Goya
Commission Executive Assistant I
Police Commission
End of Watch – 3/11/09

Kelvin M. Lee
Garage Attendant
Motor Transport Division
End of Watch – 3/11/09

And let us not forget our recently departed retired colleagues who we have also lost over the past year.

Sally Greer

Michael Callan
Police Officer III

Ernest Herman Lucero
Police Officer II

James Young   
Police Officer III+I

Daniel W. Lott Jr.
Detective III

Thomas Felix Sr.
Sergeant I

Edmond Burns Jr.
Police Officer II+II

William H. Jones
Detention Officer

Cathy Bagnall
Principal Clerk Police III

Kenneth Vils

Jeff Poor
Investigator II

Ron Zito
Garage Attendant

Terry Pearson
Detective III

Randall Becker
Policeman III+III

Jesse H. Roth, Jr.,
Policeman II

David Jay Harrison
Detective III

Morrie R. Henkin

Jack Rollins
Investigator III

Joe S. Lewis
Detective III

Barney O. Hroza
Police Lieutenant I

Russell Taggart
Police Detective III

John Charles Payton
Police Officer II

Joseph Daniel Friend
Detective III

Michael Mines
Lieutenant II

Fred R. Riscen
Detective I

Robert Fredrickson
Detective III

George O'Nan

Thomas Gerald Pompa
Detective I

Virginia Abney

Cecil Muchmore

Raymond Crawford
Police III

Harold N. Crowder

Charles P. Brown
Sergeant II

Joy Kindler
Police Service Representative

It is often said the LAPD is like a second family.  We often refer to one another as our LAPD brothers and sisters.  As a family, we must care for and look after each other.  Two such ways in which the LAPD cares for its personnel is through its Military Liaison Program and the Department's Wellness Coordinator.

The Military Liaison Program works closely with both Department employees and their families to resolve situations or problems that may arise out of the employee's military activation.  Officer Richard Garibay currently serves as the Department's Military Liaison Officer and is dedicated to providing enhanced quality of life services for those serving in the United States Armed Forces, Guard and Reserve.  For more information, please visit the Military Liaison Officer Program link on the LAN.

Another excellent resource for Department personnel is the Department's Wellness Coordinator.  Now under the command of my office, the Wellness Coordinator represents the Department in critical incidents involving sworn or civilian employees and their immediate family members who are hospitalized, seriously injured, catastrophically ill or who have been impacted by a long-term illness.  The Wellness Coordinator is available to assist with a multitude of resources in the midst of a crisis.

The sworn Wellness Coordinators are on-call 24 hours/seven days a week to respond when a Department sworn or civilian employee, or immediate family member, is critically injured, ill, hospitalized or dies.  If you would like assistance or have questions for the Department Wellness Coordinator, please contact Sergeant Whit Pauly at 213-925-0963, Sergeant Mary E. Kite at 213-944-6819 or the Civilian Wellness Coordinator, Antonia Diaz at 213-216-7009.  

As we take this opportunity to pay reverence to our fallen colleagues and thank them and their families for their sacrifice, we also strengthen our resolve to continue their fight to protect and to serve with integrity, dignity and honor as they did in the name of duty.  We vow to continue to tell their stories and ensure their legacy is never forgotten.sdas

Chief’s Message – April 2009

As one of the world’s finest law enforcement agencies, the Los Angeles Police Department is constantly evolving and striving to improve its capabilities and expertise as we seek to become a recognized leader in establishing and promulgating best practices.  This month as part of our continuing 140th anniversary celebration, we not only celebrate our past achievements, but we are proud of new advances that will enhance the future of policing in our Department and around the world.

As we move forward in our yearlong celebration of the Department’s 140th anniversary, during the month of April, we celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) in the LAPD.  In 1913 Lung Yip became the first API officer in the Department’s history, continuing with Stanley Ono in 1947 and Joyce Kano in 1967.  Throughout our history, Asian and Pacific Islanders have proven to be an important part of the LAPD family.  Throughout April, we will be celebrating their accomplishments, including those of Deputy Chief Terry Hara, the LAPD’s highest ranking API officer.  We will also remember the valiant heroes, such as Gary Murakami, the first API officer to die in the line of duty in the Department’s history.  We commend our Asian and Pacific Islander trailblazers for their contributions and thank them for their dedication to duty.   

A significant part of the Federal Consent Decree has been the design and implementation of the Teams II initiative and its many complex systems.
The central component of TEAMS II is the Risk Management Information System (RMIS).  RMIS consolidates information from more than a dozen Department systems, including arrests, crimes, stops, citations, and complaints, uses of force, commendations and officer training.   RMIS makes this consolidated information directly available to individual officers through the TEAMS Report and to management for use in activities such as personnel evaluations, promotional and transfer reviews, and RMIS Action Item analysis.
Each evening, the RMIS Action Item process notifies supervisors of personnel whose activity requires further review.  Supervisors then are able to combine their direct observations of those employees with data provided by TEAMS II to determine a response, which may include no-action required, a commendation or an intervention activity such as additional training.  Each action item should then be discussed with the affected employee and documented.  
In addition, the RMIS Action Item allows supervisors to record narrative observations of exemplary performance.  RMIS Action Items have resulted in more than 110 commendations in bureaus across the Department.   A recent review revealed many positive comments from supervisors.
As RMIS and the other TEAMS II systems have been rolled out across the Department, you have voiced many suggestions for improvements and we have been listening.  Under the command of Police Administrator Maggie Goodrich, the TEAMS II Development Bureau has undertaken a program of continuous system improvements to enhance both the effectiveness and usability of the systems in a concerted effort to make it more user friendly.  For example, the Bureau recently was able to significantly reduce the number of data fields captured on FDRs.  The new process for capturing data is currently being piloted in Operations Central Bureau, and will be deployed Department-wide this spring.   
Another part of the continuous improvement of TEAMS II lies with each of you.  I encourage you to regularly review your own TEAMS Report.  If you have any concerns about its contents, immediately report them using the Data Correction process located on the TEAMS II web site.  Properly utilized, TEAMS II can prove to be a valuable and innovative information tool for you, your supervisors and the Department.

Multi Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities (MACTAC)

Terrorism is a reality of 21st century policing.  We, as a Department, must continually seek to improve our abilities and capabilities to respond to any type of terrorist attack, including multiple assaults similar to the recent attacks in Mumbai.  We must constantly assess and learn from events that shape the way local law enforcement prevents or responds to acts of terrorism.  As part of that effort our Department is developing a Multi Assault Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities (MACTAC) Doctrine to improve our readiness to respond to, and defend the City from attacks similar to that recently experienced in Mumbai.  

Under the leadership of Deputy Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur, the development phase of this project is currently underway and includes both internal and external experts in the area of tactics, weapons and intelligence.  Special Operations, Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence, Detective, Incident Management and Training, Professional Standards Bureaus and Office of Operations personnel are all part of this effort.  The MACTAC project also involves officers and supervisors with special weapons expertise, counter terrorism tactics experience and several military personnel who have recently returned from tours in the Middle East.  In addition, the Police Protective League will be included in the process.  

Ultimately, we must design a counterterrorism force response that’s appropriate to our region and its particular needs.  The response should also include collaboration with other police agencies, such as the Sheriff’s Department and the other 45 cities in our region to handle large scale and multiple incidents of terrorism.  In the future, the committee will incorporate other City Departments, various county and regional agencies, as well as national partners.

The three primary goals of the plan are:
1)     Identifying state of the art equipment, tools and weapons for law enforcement response  
2)    Designing flexible, innovative, cutting edge tactics to swiftly resolve such an attack
3)    Developing Department-wide training to prepare everyone, from our officers in black and white patrol cars, to our Special Weapons and Tactics teams, to respond to such an incident

It is the expectation of our City leaders, our residents and visitors to Los Angeles,    that when a multiple assault event occurs, the Department will immediately switch from our community policing patrol-ready mind set to a rapid response-ready capability in a matter of minutes, not hours.  We have learned from our New York counterparts and those across the globe that minutes save lives during such events.  We are also acutely aware preparation and training allows you, the men and women of this Department; to do what you do best, protect the City from all threats and hazards, foreign or domestic.

The initial plan will soon be released and I fully expect the MACTAC doctrine will include an expansion of our Urban Police Rifle program, improve tactics allowing for a rapid response to react and neutralize simultaneous incidents.  Working side by side with our city, county, state and federal partners, we are working hard to ensure that we are in a position to respond, contain and eliminate any Mumbai type of assault in our region.

As I reaffirmed at a recent news conference, the Los Angeles Police Department is committed to designing initiatives and equipment that lead American policing and will become best practices for national models of police response.  We are a Department with a proud tradition of creativity and excellence and over the last several years, have significantly expanded our ‘suite of excellence and best practices.’  For 140 years, the LAPD has forged the way for modern day policing, emerging as a leader in the law enforcement community in its creativity, expertise and partnership efforts.  We should all expect nothing less from a Department that is second to none and continues to work together in furtherance of that goal.


For 140 years the Los Angeles Police Department has proudly served the City of Los Angeles.  As our yearlong anniversary festivities continue, we dedicate the month of March to the legendary women of the LAPD.  This month, we celebrate their achievements and the contributions they have made throughout the years.  We pay homage to our pioneers: Alice Stebbins Wells, the nation’s first policewoman, Terri Lincoln, the Department’s first female command pilot, and Assistant Chief Sharon Papa, the highest ranking female officer in the LAPD.  And we pay tribute to the selfless heroes who dedicated their lives to protect and to serve: Tina Frances Kerbrat, the first female LAPD officer to die in the line of duty, and most recently, Officer Spree Desha and injured Officer Kristina Ripatti.  We applaud these women for their contributions and thank them for paving the way for future generations.  Each serves as an inspiration to female officers around the world and is a significant and poignant part of the great legacy of our Department.

2009 Gang Initiatives

At a recent news conference, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and I announced our 2009 Gang Initiatives.  Over the past year alone, thanks in large part to your hard work, gang homicides dropped 25% and gang crime declined overall by 10%.  This year, I have no doubt that you will be able to continue the trend.  Chief Earl Paysinger and Charlie Beck have set a stretch goal of a further 15% overall reduction in gang crimes.  Nobody knows better than you the negative impact of gangs that for far too long have plagued our City, terrorized our neighborhoods and instilled fear in our residents.  In 2009, we will partner with our Federal, State, County and local law enforcement agencies to create a seamless web thoroughly committed and focused on dramatically impacting the violence caused by those gangs whose violent act draws attention and coordinated law enforcement response.  If they stick their heads up, if they raise their profile and levels of violence, we will move quickly to arrest and incarcerate them.  Building on the trust we continually earn from the communities we serve, we will increasingly work together with many in those communities to keep control of the streets.  You have shown with your dramatic positive impact on crime and gang activities that cops count, police matter.


This year will also see a strengthening of the City’s prevention efforts.  Mayor Villaraigosa has pledged to direct resources to the communities most in need.  From the expansion of the highly successful Summer Night Lights program to juvenile intervention programs and other alternative options for at-risk youth, we will help parents and caregivers recognize the early warning signs of gang involvement and provide them viable options to redirect their children away from a life of crime.


As you have heard many in law enforcement say before, we cannot arrest our way out of gangs.  Suppression is often necessary, but suppression alone will not ultimately succeed.  Intervention is crucial to the rescue of those already involved and is an extremely valuable tool in the reduction of crime.  For the first time, under the control of the Mayor, the intervention, prevention and many of the re-entry strategies will be directed and coordinated in his office.  Gang intervention training will be provided to officers who deal with gang crime as part of their normal assignment and a supervisor in each geographic bureau will be designated as the liaison between the officers of the respective bureau and a gang intervention agency.  

The Department will work to support Reverend Jeff Carr and the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development to ensure intervention workers receive timely and accurate information whenever a violent gang incident occurs.  Reverend Carr has made great strides in bridging the credibility gap for gang intervention workers and he will have the Department’s full cooperation and support in the development of the Gang Intervention Academy.  


Based on our significant success to date, we know that we can significantly reduce gang activity through innovative and effective law enforcement strategies.  By concentrating on coordination of strategies, tactics, resources, and improved timely intelligence, we can expand the lines of communication with our law enforcement colleagues.  The blurring of jurisdictional lines, which used to be a disadvantage for law enforcement, is now a significant and intentional advantage.  Federal, State and local agencies will work together to determine not only what we need for a successful prosecution, but also which jurisdiction can get the toughest sentence.  Other local police departments such as the Los Angeles Unified School Police, for example, can be of particular assistance in areas such as intelligence gathering, infrastructure protection, and truancy enforcement.  Every agency will have a role.

Through coordination comes efficiency.  Not only do we continually look to improve outside relationships, we took a good look in the mirror and figured out how we could do it better from the inside.  Earlier this year, the Department combined Gang Operations Support Division and Narcotics Division to create the Gang and Narcotics Division.  Recognizing the link between gangs, guns and drugs, this new Division, under the command of Deputy Chief Charlie Beck, will unite 300 detectives specifically focused on the reduction of narcotics and gun trafficking.  

I also recently promoted Michael Williams to the newly designated Strategic Operations Commander position under the Office of Operations.  In as much as over 60 % of gang crime occurs at night, Commander Williams will be assigned during the evening hours and will work with RACR to identify gang trends or incidents as they occur and move resources quickly throughout the City to address them.  

This year, you will see the continuation of successful programs such as the Top Ten Gang Members and Top-Targeted Street Gangs.  We will continue to work with the Mayor and City Attorney’s office to seek permanent injunctions against the most violent gangs and expand our Community Law Enforcement and Recovery sites and Gang Reduction and Youth Development Zones as necessary.  In addition, the Department will conduct COMPSTAT inspections of every Department entity responsible for Gang Enforcement and will focus a part of each COMPSTAT session on the reduction of gang crime.

In the coming months, an additional 400 officers will receive specialized training in gang history, culture and trends and each of the Area Gang Enforcement Details will have the ability to assign additional personnel to gang enforcement duties as needed.  Assistant Chief Paysinger has tasked each Operations Bureau Chief to design a set of proposals that will address gang problems specific to their individual commands.  This will allow each Bureau the opportunity to modify their gang prevention approach in accordance to their area’s particular needs.

Understanding the critical nature of timely intelligence gathering, Area Watch Commanders will now have the ability to share gang crime information in “real time” with their counterparts in all geographic areas throughout the City through the use of a Secure Gang Blog.  As the program expands, qualifying outside agencies will also be allowed access.

Not only will we target the gangs’ neighborhoods, we will also go after their vehicles.  The Violent Crime Motor Enforcement Team will be a cadre of 30 motor officers deployed in high crime areas throughout the City dedicated to the enforcement of vehicle code violations, to help reduce the number of drive by shootings and other major assaults that occur in gang-infested areas.  They will continually be supplied with information from RACR relative to gang vehicles used in crimes and known to be in possession of gang members.

In 2009, the Department will also work aggressively to reduce gang graffiti.  Assistant Commanding Officer of Detective Bureau, Commander Patrick Gannon, will have additional new responsibilities as coordinator for the Department’s anti-graffiti efforts.

We will also actively engage more with our communities.  Where gangs have relied on fear to keep people from talking to the police, we will offer more ways for people to safely report crimes anonymously either through cell phone texting, the internet or toll free calls.  The Community will also be asked to help us get more guns off the streets.  In partnership with the Mayor and the Sheriff’s Department, the Department will assist with a Gifts for Guns program.  At strategic times throughout the year, gift cards will be exchanged for guns “no questions asked.”  The Sheriff’s Department had great success with this program in 2008.


When a gang member wants out of a life of crime, the Department and the Office of the Mayor will be there to provide that opportunity.  We will continue to support the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development’s initiatives and will work on the expansion of re-entry programs already being conducted at Operations-South Bureau and other parts of the City.  

The Department will continue to convene the Executive Ad Hoc Committee on Gangs as a means to evaluate our collaborative gang reduction efforts.  Decision-makers from all our law enforcement partners will continually examine and refine enforcement initiatives to ensure program effectiveness.

The LAPD’s 2009 Gang Initiatives are the most comprehensive effort ever in the history of this Department and will ultimately serve as the national model for how to deal with gangs and gang violence, how to keep them from growing and getting started in the first place.  

I have no doubt that you, the men and women of this Department, will continue to make a difference in the communities we protect and serve.  Gangs are a way of life in LA, and we will never totally get rid of them.  But we are sending each and every one of them this message…if you choose to continue to engage in violence, the LAPD and its partners will go after you – effectively, efficiently and relentlessly.  How do we know we can reduce their violence and their impact?  Just look at the reduction in gang violence over the last several years.  That didn’t just happen.  You made it happen.

CHIEF’S MESSAGE – February 2009

As the Department continues its year long celebration of its 140th Anniversary, I’d like to talk with you this month about a number of issues.   As a part of the Department’s 140th Anniversary, the month of February celebrates the diversity of the Los Angeles Police Department.  Recognized as one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse law enforcement agencies with a language bank over eighty languages strong, the Los Angeles Police Department has truly become a Department more reflective of the communities it serves.  And with the support of Mayor Villaraigosa to add 1,000 officers to our ranks, the LAPD aims to increase and diversify its ranks even further.  The current breakdown of our sworn personnel closely mirrors the very diverse communities we protect and serve.  For example, in comparing the City’s demographics to the Department’s overall sworn ethnicity, the City’s population is comprised of 44.6% Hispanics versus 41.3% Hispanic officers, 31.1% Caucasians versus 37.5% Caucasian officers, 12.0% Asian-Pacific Islanders versus 8.6% Asian-Pacific Islander officers, 9.5% African Americans versus 12.1% African American officers and 0.8% Native Americans versus 0.5% Native American officers.  

In reference to our continuing crime reduction efforts, at a time when cities across the nation struggle with surges in violent crime, 2008, thanks to your efforts, was the seventh year in a row that we have seen significant reductions in crime.  In 2008, your hard work and dedication has driven homicides down another 4%.  Angelenos have not seen numbers this low since the 1960’s.  Through your committed efforts violent crimes have dropped another 4% and Total Part I Crimes have decreased 2.5% since 2007.

Reported gang crime shows even more significant reductions.  The Department’s 2008 gang initiatives proved highly effective with reductions in nearly every gang category.  Gang homicides have declined 25%, aggravated assaults are down 15%, and gang-related carjackings have gone down 27% for an overall 10% reduction in gang crime.  There were also 300 fewer victims of gang-related shootings in 2008 versus 2007.

As your Chief, there is no more important mission than ensuring the safety of the men and women of this Department.  To that end, in 2009, the command staff and I will increase our focus on reiterating and reinforcing the basic tenants of officer safety which are at the core of your training and day-to-day mission.  Command officers will directly address this issue with their officers and each supervisor will discuss officer safety issues with their platoons.  Supervisors will also be directed to immediately address officer safety concerns when they become apparent.

As part of our continuing efforts to improve officer safety, we will be doing a number of things.  Through recent changes to the Use of Force Review and Adjudication process, the Use of Force Review Division identified notable tactical and officer safety issues during the adjudication of both Categorical and Non-Categorical Use of Force incidents.  The following are some of the more serious trends and concerns that arise repeatedly and must be comprehensively and proactively addressed by all Department members.


A review of Use of Force cases has revealed a disturbing trend of officers failing to go Code-6 on calls for service or upon self initiating field activity.  While there may be occasions when there is simply no time to go Code-6, the majority of cases where failing to go Code-6 was identified as a serious issue, officers failed to do so when there was sufficient time.  Additionally, in many circumstances where officers originally went Code-6, they then failed to update their location after moving to another location or changing locations to do a follow up investigation or make contact with a suspect.  Failing to go Code-6, or to notify Communications Division of their updated location, exposes officers to serious jeopardy when and if they need help.


When responding to calls or self initiating field activities or contacts, officers must ensure they have enough personnel and the appropriate tools to address the problem.  When officers face a violent suspect without sufficient assistance or the proper tools, such as a baton, TASER or Bean Bag Shotgun, they may place themselves and their partners, as well as innocent civilians, at significant and avoidable risk.

Some examples include: failing to request additional units for a perimeter or to contain an armed suspect; or leaving an issued TASER in the trunk of the car when confronting a potentially violent suspect.

Bottom line – officers should make every effort to maintain a tactical advantage.  Whenever you request additional officers or tools, Communications Division will find the resources you need - if not from your own area then from a neighboring area.  We are also, this year, acquiring an additional 1,200 more modern TASERs for distribution to the patrol force, along with 10,000 ROVERs to be issued to each officer with individual ID numbers for emergency help identification.


Officers should NOT use simplex as their sole primary operating frequency.  At least one officer should be on their base frequency or on a monitored Tactical Frequency.  The Department has 14 individual Tactical Frequencies, including six assigned to each bureau.  The issuing of individually assigned ROVERs will increase your ability to comply with this concern.   

While Simplex is a great resource, it is limited in range and is generally not monitored by Communications Division.  In short, when you yell for help it is possible that no one will hear you.  When involved in any tactical operation, or during day-to-day deployment, officers must have access to their designated base frequency or in the alternative, operate on a monitored tactical frequency when it is appropriate to do so.    


Another significant cause for concern is the trend for officers to mitigate their need for help.  In several cases, officers broadcast a Back-Up or Assistance request – when the incident had clearly escalated to an emergency and HELP was urgently needed.

The policy on Help calls is currently being rewritten; however, current Department policy states that a HELP call must be broadcast when immediate aid is required by an officer.  Ultimately, failing to broadcast a HELP call - when help is clearly needed - can cost lives.  When in any doubt about “HELP” or back up, call for “HELP.”    

In summary, to increase your safety, officers are expected to:

•    Go Code-6 and continually update their location

•    Secure sufficient resources, whenever possible - prior to taking action or initiating contact with suspects.  These resources may take the form of additional personnel or tools.

•    Work on a primary or other monitored duplex frequency and only use Simplex frequencies in limited tactical circumstances.

•    Lastly, do not minimize your need for help.  When you are faced with an EMERGENCY – request HELP.

To be clear – officer safety and tactics is of paramount concern and will receive my full attention when I am reviewing Use of Force cases and other incidents.  Furthermore, I have directed the Use of Force Review Division and Use of Force Review Board be vigilant for these and other officer safety practices, and to take these concerns into consideration when adjudicating the tactics portion of a Use of Force case.

Your safety is my primary concern and that of your union and our Department.  We need each and every one of you.  You count, you matter.  Let’s work together to make sure that everybody goes home safely at end of watch.