LAPD Chief's Monthly Message
| LAPD Chief
by Chief of Police Charlie Beck
This month marks a new chapter in our City's storied history. In May, Angelinos elected Eric Garcetti to be the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles.
Having served as President of the City Council for six years, Mayor Garcetti has been an advocate for public safety and one of our strongest supporters.
His leadership during his council years and his time serving in the US Navy has served him well and now he is set to lead our City into the future.
I pledge to work with Mayor Garcetti very closely and will be meeting with him regularly as we face the challenges that remain and those yet to be realized. There is still much work to be done and I know Mayor Garcetti is eager to get started. We both share the same love for this City and I look forward to continuing our efforts to keep Los Angeles the safest big city in the country.
History of Southeast
Every month we highlight a police station and share its historical facts and significant events that have occurred over the years. This year marks the 35th Year Anniversary of Southeast Area. In writing this piece, it has brought back some special memories for me that begin as early as when I was a brand new “PO II” the day the police station opened.
In 1978 I wheeled off probation to Southeast and I vividly remember walking in the back door to go to work on the first day the station opened. This was the same station that stands there today at 145 West 108th Street. Back then it was given the honorary title of the “Watts Police Department.”
I learned quickly and enjoyed every radio call at such a fast paced division and distinctly recall working 18Z95. I was proud when I was selected to work Southeast CRASH. I went back to Southeast as a Sergeant II AWC right after the 1992 riots and was lucky enough to remain when I made Lieutenant. I worked with so many great people and I am so proud to have once held command as the Detective Captain in 1999. I think of those busy nights and having some great partners over the years during my tours at Southeast, like Ralph Rubschlager, Lonnie Salzman, Dick Bonneau, Stacy Lim and too many others to mention.
Southeast Area is home to the world famous Watts Towers, a historical landmark consisting of seventeen major sculptures of structural steel and covered with mortar, which were created by artist Simon Rodia from 1921 to 1954.
In 1979 the infamous and controversial Eula Love OIS occurred which prompted Department training involving persons with a mental illnesses and edged weapons.
In January 2006, the Watts Gang Task Force was created as a partnership between the community and Southeast Area to reduce gang violence. Today the Watts Gang Task Force continues to work diligently to improve the quality of life and stop violence in our City.
In March 2011, the Community Safety Partnership policing model was implemented in Southeast Area to establish dedicated, full-time law enforcement resources in three public housing developments (Nickerson Gardens, Jordan Downs, and Imperial Courts) to develop relationship based policing by working with a variety of community stakeholders.
Fallen Heroes of Southeast Area
As we celebrate 35 years of history in Southeast Area, let us also celebrate the lives of two fallen heroes last assigned to Southeast. Police Officer James Choquette, Serial No. 14818, was killed while we were both working Southeast CRASH. It was on Thursday, August 2, 1979, when his unmarked police car was struck by a drunk driver as we responded to the scene of a robbery call. He died in my arms and I will never forget him.
And let us never forget Policeman Jack Hayden, Serial No. 13383, who was shot and killed by a suicidal neighbor on Sunday, October 10, 1982, while he was off duty. Officer Hayden was attempting to assist the neighbor when he was shot.
Portraits of both of these officers are proudly displayed in the Southeast Roll Call Room as a tribute to their lives. May they rest in peace.
Please keep them close to heart as you patrol the streets of Los Angeles. Be safe out there and watch over each other on and off duty. You owe it to each other, your families and most of all, you owe it to yourselves.