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Recently, I had to make a difficult decision. After months of investigation and thorough review, I made the determination that one of our officer involved shootings was not only not up to our Department standards, but was also a violation of criminal law. And because of that I recommended to the District Attorney that she file criminal charges on one of our police officers. I don't do this lightly. And the vast majority of the time, as you well know, I stand up for you regardless of public opinion. But in this case, I had to call it like I saw it. I had to do the right thing. I expect you to do it and I demand for myself that I do it. Know that I believe in you. Know that I believe in this police department. Know that when we are right, I will always be there. But when we are wrong, I have to say it.
Prevent, Prepare, Protect, Pursue
There have been far too many tragic reminders illustrating why it is so important that the Department continue to work tirelessly to maintain our readiness in order to keep our City safe. The Department has exercised extraordinary tactical planning by assigning more than 200 police officers and configuring them into Direct Action Teams. Officers were integrated with special assault weapons, armor, bomb technicians, hazard materials technicians, and command and control operations utilizing a Tactical Operations Center. Additional capabilities were exercised to include Aerial Platform Shooting (APS), Active Shooter, Bomb Device Disruption, Incident Command, Unified Command, and Area Command organizational structure.
Our first responder partners including Los Angeles Sheriffs’ Department, California Highway Patrol, and Los Angeles City Fire Department, also participated and exercised their tactical response and interoperability. Threat briefings, mission assignments, and scenario problem solving were discussed. These exercises keep us prepared and build public confidence and trust.
Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, led by Deputy Chief Michael Downing, has four objectives. The first objective is preventing terrorism by reducing the motivation, solicitation, and support of terrorist ideology. The second objective is to actively pursue terrorists and the organizations that support them. The third objective is preparing our citizenry and local government for the consequences and recovery associated with a terrorist attack. The fourth objective is to protect the region through the continued development of sophisticated specialized tactical resources and response capabilities. I want to thank our personnel who continue to work hard and train hard in order to insure the safety of those we protect and serve.
32nd Annual Baker To Vegas Challenge Cup Relay
I wish the best of luck to all runners. Some of you will enjoy this challenge for the first time while others of you have returned year after year to represent our Department with pride. The training and commitment to compete in Baker to Vegas requires dedication and perseverance. This challenging competition is part of law enforcement history. Each of you serve as a proud representative of the LAPD as you compete against law enforcement agencies from around the world. A very special thank you to the support teams, event organizers, and alternate runners as they assist and encourage the runners through the desert, over the mountains, and to the finish line in Las Vegas. I look forward to being there with you to celebrate your accomplishments.
Thank you for all you do.
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Preservation of Life Medal
As many of you may know, we are going to begin to recognize acts of heroism performed by LAPD officers that have not been formally acknowledged in the past. Everyday, we see LAPD officers going to extraordinary lengths to preserve the lives of both suspects and victims. Sometimes these kinds of heroic actions, where no deadly force was used, don't get recognized within the current award structure. The establishment of the Chief of Police Preservation of Life medal is designed to fill that gap.
There have been numerous times in my career where I have seen police officers use commendable restraint when faced with situations in which deadly force could have been used. I want to make sure when that is done, we reward it. Police work is inherently dangerous and our organization values tactics and training designed to preserve life…the lives of our officers as well as the lives of victims and suspects. This is part of our overall value system.
In establishing this Chief’s Preservation of Life medal, I am obviously not trying to discourage officers from using the appropriate level of force when reasonable and necessary and I am certainly not asking them to unduly endanger themselves. What I am doing is recognizing those who, in the normal course of their duties, manage to preserve the life of another human being.
We are not looking to modify behavior but to reward behavior that we are already seeing. Some critics have claimed that rewarding this type of behavior will cause officers to act differently and possibly endanger themselves in pursuit of a medal. That tells me that these critics do not know LAPD officers, what they value and how they operate. I believe that our officers are the finest, best-trained, most tactically sound officers in the world and I just want to recognize them for acts of bravery and heroism that sometimes go un-rewarded. It’s that simple.
Prepared and Vigilant
The deadly assaults both around the world and far too close to home are reminders of the times we live in. Appropriate preparation and training are essential to our success in protecting our communities and one another. Counterterrorism is something we have focused on for many years now. The Department is in constant communication with our local and federal partners to prevent any attack on our City. We remain vigilant by gathering and analyzing information, and continuing our ongoing counterterrorism training. Department wide coordinated response and recovery efforts are continually being reevaluated to insure the most effective response. As always, maintain a level of alertness. If you see something, say something.
The Year Ahead
I wish everyone and your families a very happy and prosperous New Year. We will build upon our progress, continue working on community issues, continue trust building, and continue our efforts to reduce crime. Thank you for all your tireless efforts to maintain public safety.