With the holidays upon us, and the year near its end, it is appropriate to pause for a moment to reflect on the experiences of the past year. The year 2007 has been a good one for the Los Angeles Police Department, and for the people of the City of Los Angeles. We have much to be thankful for and now is the time to count our blessings.
First and foremost, crime in our city is down. You’ve heard me say it before, it is the story to tell here. Crime levels in Los Angeles are down dramatically for the fifth year in a row. This is due, in no small part, to you and your nonstop efforts. Only pure talent, sheer determination and consummate professionalism can deliver the sort of results we have seen here in Los Angeles. We are a historically understaffed Department charged with policing a sprawling city- a city that was once considered the nation’s murder capital. The yearly decreases in crime that we have produced together are truly inspiring.
The LAPD of today is leading the way in law enforcement and laying the foundation for what I believe will be a future of peace and safety in our city and on our streets. For me that future begins with my second term as your Chief. I am grateful to the members of the Los Angeles Police Commission for giving me the opportunity to lead for another five years. My job here at the LAPD is far from finished. I intend to continue to focus on the goals I established when I became your Chief in 2002: continuing the yearly reductions in crime, fully implementing the consent decree, building a renowned Counter Terrorism prevention Bureau, increasing the size of the LAPD and procuring for you the very best technology and tools available to help you do your jobs better and protect your lives. If you were not able to attend my swearing in ceremony, you can listen to the podcast of the event on the LAPD Blog. A link to the Blog can be found on the internal LAN homepage, as well as the homepage of LAPDOnline.org
The year 2007 was also good to us in that, thankfully, we have not lost a single officer in the line of duty, despite the major spike in assaults on officers we’ve seen this year. Success against such odds makes this good news even better. I want to commend each of you for working so hard and successfully reducing crime in our city, all the while knowing of the ominous statistics at play. Bravery and courage are essential to the success of any police officer, and I am privileged to see so much of it in the officers of this Department.
Speaking of bravery and courage, this year, 16 Department employees-15 sworn and 1 civilian- will be overseas on military duty for the holidays, away from their families and friends. This level of service is the epitome of the holiday spirit. Please join me in saluting each and every one of them and please take time to remember their loved ones during this holiday season as well.
Another salute goes to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MC-LEF), an organization that, with one overwhelmingly generous act, has just helped change the lives of the members of the Selleh family. As we all remember, Mission Area Narcotics Detective Mike Selleh was involved in a fatal off-duty motorcycle accident on the 101 Freeway last July. The MCLEF has just gifted his two children, Scott and Jessica, each with full college scholarships. These scholarships are without limit, and will cover the entirety of their undergraduate, and any postgraduate, studies. With this single act of generosity, the Selleh family will never incur any educational expenses for Scott and Jessica, ever. The MCLEF has given over $27 million dollars to 2600 children of fallen Marines and police officers over the past 12 years. A non-profit organization, they receive funding from private donations and every single dollar they receive in donation goes right back out in the form of a gift. The Department extends sincere gratitude to the MC-LEF for this gracious act and all the good work they do, and we send our love and support to the Selleh family this season, as we will every season. The gifts of education, and the close relationship between the military and law enforcement communities, are both priceless.
On the subject of gifts, the Department and the communities we serve will again join forces this year for the LAPD Angels Toy and Book Drive. An annual tradition, the Toy and Book Drive underscores the very best aspect of the holiday experience: giving. It is also a community relations initiative that unites us all in a common cause other than law enforcement, and helps to build relationships between the Department and the people of our city. We will once again ask our generous community members to donate gifts and new or gently used books to local underprivileged youngsters by dropping off the unwrapped items to their Area stations this month. Once collected, all the Department’s police stations will then reach out to families in need within their own communities and distribute the gifts in the days before Christmas. Each year, LAPD officers give thousands of toys and books away for the holidays, and this year should be no different. We are brave, talented, law enforcement professionals, and we also have heart.
No holiday season should go by without a good party. This year, my wife Rikki and I would be honored to have all of you join us in what we hope will again be one of the great parties of the season. The LAPD Holiday Party will take place on Saturday, December 15, 2007, from 7 p.m. to midnight at the downtown Marriott Hotel. We all deserve some fun and merriment so, to that end, there will be live music in multiple ballrooms, dancing- including salsa and dance instruction- complimentary guest portraits, and even door prizes. We do it in high style, so dress up, but black tie is optional. For those interested in staying the night, we have negotiated a favorable room rate with the hotel. Call Marriott Reservations and reference the LAPD Holiday Party to receive your room discount. Tickets to the party are available through our good friends at the Police Foundation; you can reach them at 213-489-4636. We sincerely hope to see you there and share a happy evening of revelry together.
We have accomplished quite a lot in 2007, and we have much to celebrate as this year comes to a close. Your constant efforts at reducing crime have delivered positive results and will make happy, peaceful holidays for Los Angeles residents. Personally, I have experienced many things in my 37-year law enforcement career. Now as I enter my second term as your chief, I have nothing but tremendous pride in your achievements, and am humbled by the great work you continue to do. I couldn’t be in a better place than I find myself in today as your leader. I celebrate you, and I wish all of you warm, safe, happy holidays with loved ones and friends.