Officer Randal Simmons Eulogy

Eulogy given by Chief William Bratton for Officer Randal Simmons on February 15, 2008.

I Want To Talk Briefly With You About My Impressions Of Randy Simmons And About A Life Well Led.

Many Of Us In This Church Are Privileged To Wear The Badge That Identifies Us As Police Officers Or Firefighters. Ninety Six Hundred Los Angeles Police Officers Like Randy Wear A Badge That Is Probably The Most Well Known And Recognized In The World. And Like Randy, We Wear It With Pride.

We Are Privileged Because Our Society Has Placed In Our Hands A Sacred Trust – Every Day When We Pin Our Badge On Our Chest And Go Out Into The Streets Of Our City, We Are Given The Opportunity To Do Good Against Evil – To Make A Positive Difference In The Lives Of Everyone Who Lives, Works Or Visits Our Communities. We Get To Protect And To Serve. Randy Simmons, Los Angeles Police Officer, Badge 8579, For 27 Years, Was The Living Embodiment Of That Motto. He Understood That When He Began His Policing Career On Elysian Field Those Many Years Ago That He Had Been Given The Opportunity To Make A Difference. To Make His Life As A Cop Count For Something – And He Has Succeeded, Far Beyond Even His Own Dreams And Expectations – The Thousands Of You Gathered Here Today Are The Living Proof And Recognition Of That Success.

Randy, In Particular, Because Of His Assignment To The Fabled Lapd Swat Unit, Understood The Special Obligation And Life-Threatening Risks That Are Required At Any Moment Of Any Police Officer Or Firefighter—To Run Toward Danger, Never From It, Even As We Move The Weak, The Impaired And The Innocent Away From That Danger.

During His Career With His Beloved Swat, He Went Toward Those Dangers, Through Those Doors Into The Unknown That Awaited Him And His Fellow Officers, Hundreds, If Not Thousands Of Times, But He Would Be The First To Tell You That Because Of His Deep Religious Faith And Convictions, And His Continual Thriving To Be In A Constant State Of Grace With His God, He Went Through Those Doors, Into The Valley Of Death, Fearing No Evil For He Knew That His God Was With Him And If It Was To Be His Time, Then To Lie Beside The Still Waters In The Heaven That He So Deeply Believed In. He Would Be Ready To Stand Proudly At The Doors To Heaven, Knowing, For The First Time, What Lay Beyond Those Doors. As His Loving Wife Lisa Told Me – He Would Be In A Place Where There Was No Pain And Where The Streets Would Be Paved With Gold. He Has Truly Gone Home. His Life’s Journey As A Husband, Father, Humanitarian, Minister And Cop, At An End. He Is In The Place He Was Always Meant To Be And He Will Wait For Us There To Meet Him Again. And If There Is Any Delay In Opening Those Doors, He Can Always Employ The Battering Ram That He Was So Skilled At Using In Swat.

To The Swat Officers Who Were In The Thick With Him In The Early Morning Hours Of Thursday, February 7th,
Dave Keorgte
Tom Chinappi
Jim Veenstra
German Hurtado
Floyd Curry
Tony Samuelson
Mike Barker
Michael Odle
George Ryan
Steve Scallon
Chuck Buttitta

And To The Many Other Members Of Swat Who He Loved And Who Loved And Respected Him, Console Yourself That “The Rock” Spent His Last Moments In The Company Of You, His Police Family. He Understood And Appreciated Your Desperate Efforts To Save Him And Keep Him With Us, But This Time The Pull Of His God To Bring Him Home Was Just Too Compelling.

To His Wife Lisa, His Son Matthew, His Daughter Gabrielle, And His Mother Constance, As Well As To All His Family Members, On Behalf Of The Men And Women Of The Lapd Who I Proudly Speak For This Morning, Thank You, Thank You For Sharing Him With Us, All Those Countless Days And Nights When He Was Away From You. Lisa, Thank You For Sharing Your “Ultimate” Man With Us. Matthew And Gabrielle, Try Hard To Always Honor Your Father’s Memory.

And To The Community That He Protected And Served, It Is Said “No Man Stands So Tall As When He Stoops To Help A Child.”

Well, If That’s The Case, Then Randy Was Truly A Giant. His Love For Children, Particularly Disadvantaged Children, His “Glory Kids” Knew No Bounds. As Lisa Told Mayor Villaraigosa And Me, “No Man Ever Brought So Many Children To God.” That Was His True Passion In Life.

Swat Commander Mike Albanese Told Me This Little Story That I Think Says It All.

Community Involvement
Randy’s Commitment And Dedication To The Community Was Unmatched. He Was Constantly Working In The Community To Help And Encourage Those People Who Were Truly Disadvantaged. He Was Unselfish With His Time And His Money. He Used His Personal Time (Days Off – Overtime Days) To Try To Improve Many Lives With His Presence. This Was A Man Who Worked In Challenging Areas To Reach Out To As Many People As He Could. He Impacted So Many Lives. Trips To The Movies, Beach, Parks, Skate Parks, And Zoo. All Of The Places A Young Person Would Want To Visit. Randy Knew That Many Of These Kids Would Never See/Experience These Places If He Or Someone Else Did Not Take The Lead.

He Worked Quietly During His Outreach With The Community. Some Of His Peers Did Not Realize The Depth And Breadth Of His Work In The Community. One Example Was When He Asked One Of Our Swat Officers If He Would Consider Letting Some Of The Kids Come Out To His Horse Ranch And Ride His Horses. Metro Officers Steve And Mary Grace Weaver Welcomed The Opportunity To Share Their Time And Horses With The Kids - A Great Opportunity For Everyone. Randy Was A Little Vague As To How Many Kids He Was Bringing Out To Their Home. As Mary Grace Weaver Describes It, A Large Chartered Bus Shows Up At The House With Over Sixty Kids On The Bus. None Of These Kids Had Ever Been Around Horses And Through Randy’s Persistence – Steve And Mary’s Hospitality, Over Sixty Kids Rode Horses And Enjoyed A Barbeque.

In Closing, Let Me Read To You The Following Prayer I Think Randy Would Have Liked.
To Those I Love And Those Who Love Me

When I Am Gone Release Me. Let Me Go – I Have So Many Things To See And Do. You Must Not Tie Yourself To Me With Tears. Be Thankful For Our Many Beautiful Years. I Gave To You My Love. You Can Only Guess How Much You Gave To Me In Happiness. I Thank You For The Love We Each Have Shown But Now It’s Time I Traveled On Alone. So Grieve A While For Me, If Grieve You Must. Then Let Your Grief Be Comforted By Trust. It’s Only For A Time That We Must Part So Bless The Memories Within Your Heart. I Won’t Be Far Away, For Life Goes On. So If You Need Me, Call And I Will Come. Though You Can’t See Or Touch Me, I’ll Be Near. And If You Listen With Your Heart, You’ll Hear All My Love Around You Soft And Clear.
And Then When You Must Come This Way Alone, I’ll Greet You With A Smile, And Say…Welcome Home!

Chief’s Message- January 2008

As we begin a new year, I not only feel good about where we are going, but where we have been.  The past year was a very good one for the Los Angeles Police Department.  We continued our efforts to
re-establish the LAPD as the leading law enforcement agency in the nation, raising the bar of professional standards for ourselves and for our colleagues in law enforcement.  We delivered declines in crime for the residents of the City of Los Angeles for the sixth year in a row, furthering a history-making success streak that is making local, national and international headlines.

By the time you read or see this, the Department will have begun the process of evaluating the end of year crime numbers for 2007.  While the preliminary numbers are not yet in, certain trends are apparent and can be used as indicators of what we will likely see once all the statistics are finalized.  What is very clear is that you, the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, are doing what some critics say can’t be done: having a direct impact on crime.  I continue to champion the fundamental idea that cops on the street equals fewer crimes. Quite simply, cops count, police matter.  And more cops will mean an even safer city.  For a brief overview, look at this: projected at less than 400 for 2007, the number of homicides will be the lowest it has been since the early 1970’s.  In addition, there were fewer shooting victims in 2007 than in the previous year.  Overall per capita crime is down to a rate lower than it has been since the early 1950’s.  Los Angeles is increasingly a better place to live, to work, and to visit.  While we are still calculating, it is possible that for 2007 we will have some of the most significant crime declines in the entire country for any major city.

The good news forecasting also includes our efforts at reducing gang crime.  By identifying and targeting eleven of the most dangerous and active gangs, we have been able to decrease their overall crime by 11% so far in 2007, while increasing the number of arrests of those gangs’ members by 20%.  Several of our other gang initiatives have been successful as well, including the top ten most wanted gang members list, the increased involvement of patrol officers in gang injunction enforcement, gang awareness training for communities, and the creation of the South Bureau Criminal Homicide Group.  Combined, these efforts have helped to reduce overall gang crimes at the time of this writing by 4.5%.  Again, all of these statistics will be updated when we have finished the end of year evaluations, but these results mean that we are continuing to expand our anti-gang tactics and strategies with increasing effectiveness.  There is more work to be done this new year but we have shown that when we focus the efforts of the entire law enforcement community and work with our city residents, we can and do reduce gang violence.
As encouraging as these trends look, there are a couple of indicators that are of concern and I want to address them here at the beginning of the year so they will be squarely on everybody’s radar.  First, burglary/theft from vehicles is up citywide, and has been for quite some time.  We continue to caution the public to be careful with what they leave behind in unattended vehicles, and I ask that each of you do the same in your interactions with members of the community.  It’s pretty simple: you wouldn’t leave a hundred dollar bill on the dashboard of a car, so why leave purses, laptops, phones, or other valuable items in plain sight of a thief?  As you well know, the theft of these personal items may lead to other more violent crimes including burglaries, robberies and even rape.   

Both here in Los Angeles and nationally, assaults against police officers are on the rise, another trend that gained momentum in 2007.  By the beginning of December, the total number of LAPD officers shot was higher than it has been in 3 years.  The number of non-hits was lower, but only by a few. Thankfully there were no LAPD officers killed in the line of duty.
During the past five years we have shared many successes and I expect that will continue in this new year.  As I begin my second five year term as your Chief, I will continue to direct the Department to focus its efforts on four major goals: reducing crime, achieving full compliance with the Consent Decree, significantly expanding terrorism prevention and preparedness, and growing the Department by 1,000 officers.

Along with these principal goals, my New Year’s resolution for the Department is to further research and acquire necessary technologies to facilitate your hard work.  Real-time information-led policing is the direction our profession is taking in the information age, and is the key to our success in the future.  LAPD will be the go-to department for many of these innovations.  Delivering information to officers as soon as is feasibly possible is what is called for in the new policing paradigm of the 21st century.  I expect that in 2008 the Department will see an increase in the use of technology as we look at ways of becoming even more efficient at fighting crime.

In closing, we find ourselves in a good position at the beginning of 2008.  But with such great forward momentum, there is a need for even greater commitment.  I expect continued annual crime reductions throughout the year.  Keep doing your part, and I will keep doing mine.