During Police Memorial Month we take time to remember all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and died in the line of duty. This month holds a special significance, not only for all law enforcement agencies around the country, but for our Department as well. I write this message with a heavy heart as, sadly, we mourn the death of yet another Los Angeles Police Officer. This has been a difficult time for us all. The untimely deaths of two LAPD officers within weeks of one another underscores the inherent dangers of this job and reminds us of just how precious life is.
In the history of the Los Angeles Police Department 206 courageous men and women have been killed in the line of duty. On April 9, 2014, a hero was taken from us too soon. Valley Traffic Division Motor Police Officer II+II Christopher Cortijo, Serial No. 25473, battled and lost his fight to overcome the traumatic injuries he sustained after being hit by a suspected DUI driver in North Hollywood. A 27 year veteran of our Department, Chris was well respected by his colleagues and exemplified what it means to be a Los Angeles Police Officer. He arrested more than 3,000 drivers suspected of being under the influence and in doing so saved countless lives. We lost a brave and dedicated cop who will never be forgotten. His call sign, 35MX101, will now forever be his own as I am retiring it from service.
It seems only a few short weeks ago we mourned the loss of our brother, Officer Nick Lee from Hollywood Division, also killed in a tragic traffic collision while responding to a call with his partner on March 7, 2014. I ask that you always keep in your thoughts and prayers, Nick's surviving partner officer. Nick was a great cop, and spent much of his career working Hollywood Area. The community came to know him well and see for themselves why he was well liked and respected by those who knew him. In his honor, I officially retired Nick Lee’s car, 6A65 after his final farewell when he was laid to rest. The new Basic Car designation for that area has been identified as 6A63. We will always remember Nick and his “call sign” 6A65. RIP.
We must never forget Chris, Nick, and the other 204 Los Angeles Police Officers who sacrificed their lives while protecting and serving. In remembrance of our fallen heroes join me in wearing the black mourning band over your badge everyday throughout the month of May. I hope you have a chance to attend our Annual Memorial Ceremony on May 8th in the courtyard of our Police Headquarters Building at 10am. It is a great tribute honoring our fallen officers. Each day you put on your uniform and shine your badge, honor them as they are still with us. Heroes never die. They live forever in our hearts.
Police Academy Remodel
At the end of February the academy café closed its doors as the first phase of the Elysian Park Police Academy remodel began. Plans are currently underway for the closure and relocation of the administrative offices as well as the LAPRAAC offices and Gun & Gift Shop. Full closure and relocation of these offices are anticipated to be complete by the end of June.
The LAPRAAC offices will relocate into classrooms 2-6 (trailers) as well as the Gun & Gift Shop. All team sports and competitions will continue with some events having to move off site. There will be two shooting ranges open during the entire duration of the remodel so you will still be able to qualify on the grounds.
The remodel of the academy will be paid for out of Proposition Q funds and is long overdue. The academy will feature new shooting ranges complete with traps, targets and decking as well as new plumbing, electrical wiring, flooring and paint for refurbished buildings. There will also be a new building built with office space for administrative functions as well as classrooms for training purposes. The entire process is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete.
To be clear, the academy will not be closed during the remodel. Certain functions will merely be temporarily relocated.
Baker to Vegas
This year we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the annual Baker to Vegas Relay Race. Billed as “the longest foot pursuit in the world,” the race featured more than 250 teams from law enforcement agencies around the globe.
Our Department had more than 100 teams participate, many of them running in honor of Police Officer Nick Lee. Our Department’s Open and Women’s Team took top honors in their respective categories yet again. This is a tremendous accomplishment. The LAPD is making history and creating a legacy of winning teams. The Department’s Open Team enjoyed a “three-peat” win and our Womens Team has held the top title for five consecutive years!
Thank You to all the support teams and team coordinators who make this event possible.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of you who participated in the race and recognize Olympic Area for their impressive First Place finish in the Station Category, followed by Southeast Area, finishing 3rd. In the Mixed Category, nine LAPD Areas dominated with Foothill Area taking 2nd Place. 77th Street Area finished 2nd in the ISta category and Major Crimes Division placed 4th in the IX800 category. Also in the IX800 category, Old Blue placed 5th. (Thanks for having me, Old Blue!) It was a great run. Every year I take great pride in seeing your competitive spirit alive and well in the desert and I look forward to seeing you out there again in 2015.
Los Angeles Police Celebrity Golf Tournament
The Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation will be holding its 42nd Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament on Saturday May 31, 2014, at the Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena, California. The event will be hosted by actor Dennis Quaid and is sure to be a star-studded affair.
The proceeds raised by the golf tournament will benefit the Memorial Foundation which has done a tremendous job of supporting the families of the Los Angeles Police officers who have died in the line of duty. Their generosity and financial support contributes to the healing process of those families during their time of need. I commend the Memorial Foundation for their efforts over the years and am grateful for their support.
History of Reserve Officers
This year marks the 67th anniversary of the LAPD’s reserve program. The concept actually started even earlier, during World War II, when the war depleted the pool of qualified police officer candidates. To help make up for the personnel shortage, the LAPD looked to citizens who began to serve as auxiliary police and air-raid wardens.
In 1947 the official Police Reserve Corps was established per a Los Angeles City Council ordinance. The Corps has evolved over the years, and the standards for Reserve Police Officer of the Los Angeles Police Department have been progressively upgraded. Today Reserves exactly match the same training standards as full time officers. Reserves contribute their own time on a volunteer bases. They are not paid. Many LAPD officers become Reserves upon retiring from their full-time position, and some begin their careers in law enforcement as Reserve Officers, as I did.
In 1968, the LAPD began a line reserve class. It was the year Adam 12 debuted. Chief William H. Parker had died two years before. Jack Webb was producing the second version of the Dragnet television series, playing Sergeant Joe Friday, this time in living color. Line Reserves were to be trained as regular field officers, and assigned patrol duties when they graduated.
There are currently more than 400 active LAPD reserve officers today. They work a variety of assignments – from Patrol to specialized details (Detectives, Vice, Air Support, Motors, and Mounted units). The hours and duties worked by these 700 officers are equivalent to a force of 100 full-time peace officers. I cannot thank them enough for their commitment to the profession and the community we serve.
Fallen Heroes, Our Reserve Police Officers:
There have been two LAPD Reserve Police Officers killed in the line of duty: Stuart Taira, Air Support Division, died in a helicopter accident on March 1, 1983. Reserve Officer G.B. Mogle, assigned to 77th Division was shot by a prowler suspect on July 31, 1946. He succumbed to his wounds a week later on August 7, 1946.
This memorial month take some time to remember those who have sacrificed all in the name of service to others. Their memory will live in our hearts and within our organization forever. Please take care of yourself and each other.