Across the United States, public safety agencies are being forced into tough financial decisions, making sacrifices as their cities struggle through difficult economic times. Severe reduction in revenue which translates to shared sacrifice for all city departments has become the reality. The Police Department is doing its part to reduce costs, sharing the pain that is being felt by fellow city employees. The Los Angeles Police Department is not immune to the fiscal realities of today. By the time you read this message the budget information will have changed and steps will have been taken toward economic recovery. As recent as today, the City announced discretion in spending has been limited and aggressive steps to guard against the City’s cash flow shortfalls are being implemented with extraordinary spending controls in place. This will inevitably affect the Police Department. These are tough economic times and we need to make a clear distinction between our critical needs and those things that are nice to have.
We all make decisions at home based on our personal financial situation, using what we already have instead of buying something new, oftentimes doing without. Now we must do the same at work. With every decision made, we must consider the City’s deficit. We are doing all we can to cut the deficit – we will not purchase new vehicles or motorcycles and it is unknown if we will be able to make any other equipment purchases. Now, more than ever, it is important that we take good care of the existing equipment we are fortunate to have. We were fortunate to have opened several new police stations and facilities within the City, that we can proudly call “home” and together we should do all we can to maintain the condition of these facilities.
I cannot stress how vital the civilian workforce is within the Department and I remain committed to keeping you as informed as possible regarding the budget crisis and concerns over layoffs. As I write this message, the Mayor has just issued an order to start the civilian layoff process. Coalition classes may be targeted for layoff, but will not actually be laid off until July 1, 2010. Non coalition classes are subject to layoff now. The Police Department will not be hit as hard as some other Departments, but nevertheless we've been notified that we will be part of the layoff process. Personnel Department has not yet confirmed the names of the affected employees. I will do everything we can to make the process as respectful and dignified as possible, keeping you informed, as the situation can change from day to day. My leadership team and I all understand that this is extremely difficult for everyone. Tough times do not last, but tough people do and we will see this time through.
Open communication and dialogue with all Department employees at all ranks is very important to me and is something I’m very comfortable with. I enjoy interacting with you, not as Chief of Police, but as Charlie Beck through informal sessions with the sworn and civilian workforce. I have begun vertical meetings with Crime Analysts, Field Training Officers, Area Records Clerks, Area Detectives III’s, various classifications from SID, GED Officers, and Police Service Representatives. These open discussions have allowed me to speak with a cross section of our employees within the Department at different levels and ranks so I can see their point of view.
Many of the decisions I am implementing directly come from talking with you, and from your perspective. Once a month I work a patrol shift where I have the opportunity to talk with you and listen to your ideas and your suggestions. Some are related to operational needs and others are reflective of your concerns and anxieties about the budget. I read each and every email you send me and have been acting on each of your suggestions. I appreciate and value your candid responses. I need your suggestions so that the organization can be more effective and efficient in the way we do business. I truly believe the best solutions will come from you. This is why I want you to contact me at my personal e-mail address: email@example.com and tell me what we should be doing. Many can point to the problem but a few can point to the answer.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Police Officer II Jacqueline Montalvo and Property Officer Ryan Farhand. These two individuals were greatly loved and admired by so many and as members of the LAPD family, they will be greatly missed. I ask everyone to please include them in your thoughts and prayers as well as Chief Darryl Gates. He remains in good spirits and he has expressed that he was deeply touched by all the officers and other friends who have visited him and sent messages of love, care, concerns and prayers. With strong conviction and in true Daryl Gates fashion, he commented that he "felt the power of those prayers and it sustained him." Your cards and well wishes are appreciated, and if you would like to send a card to Chief Gates, please reach out to my Wellness Coordinators, Sergeants Mary Kite and Whit Pauly and Management Analyst Antonia Diaz.
Mary, Whit and Toni report directly to me, and work tirelessly to be my link to all Department employees and their immediate family members during times of need resulting from an injury, illness or death. Maintaining employee wellness, physically and mentally is very important to me and I will ensure that all available resources are made accessible to you and your families during difficult times. We have a personal and moral obligation to take care of one another, as we are our most valuable assets to our loved ones at home and at work.