LAPD Chief's Monthly Message
| LAPD Chief
by Chief of Police Charlie Beck
This past May, U.S District Judge Gary Feess formally lifted the consent decree which ended the federal oversight that was imposed on the Department back in 2001. At the time the consent decree was imposed, we were a much different Department. The wounds from high profile incidents of misconduct were still fresh and our standing in the community was on shaky ground. While some may have resisted the idea of federal oversight and mandatory reforms at the time, the consent decree was the foundation for what our Department has become today.
Ideals such as constitutional policing, community policing, transparency and accountability are now hallmarks of our organization. Public approval ratings of our Department are at an all-time high and diversity in our ranks mirror that of the communities we serve. With time, came change and with change, came respect. We have now regained our status as a world-class law enforcement agency which I believe is second to none.
Coming out from under the consent decree a better Department is a significant achievement and one we all worked towards. I want to thank each civilian and sworn employee of all classifications and ranks for making this happen. You should all be very proud of yourselves, each other, and the Department.
As we move forward in this new chapter in our organization's history, I want you to know none of the ideals of the Police Department will change. We are still dedicated to constitutional and community policing, transparency and accountability. It is important we remain committed to serving with dignity, honor and respect. Remember, you played an important role in bringing this positive change to our Department and you will play an even more important role in maintaining it.
Uses of Force Incidents
In recent months there have been a few highly publicized incidents of officers using force which have garnered the attention of many. I want to be clear; we are always going to have controversial force incidents because it is the nature of the business we're in. With digital recording devices everywhere, a watchful eye is upon us, and we all know police work isn't pretty. So, even more importantly, as controversial incidents come to light, we act swiftly to demonstrate the Department is honest, and transparent in its investigations of these incidents.
In the meantime, I want to always be sure to respect your rights as a police officer. There is a delicate balance that takes place in these investigations between the public's right to know and an officer's right to privacy. It is my job to ensure we stay on both tracks. You have my commitment to fair and unbiased investigations and my full support should you be found to be doing the right thing. But incidents found to be unauthorized or out of policy will be handled accordingly. We cannot and will not compromise our high standards. I know each and every one of you expect the same from yourselves, your partners and your peers.
History of Mission Area
Each month, we highlight a particular geographic Area within the City and this month we highlight one of our ‘younger' police stations. On May 1, 2005, Mission Area's police station was opened for service. Communities previously served by Van Nuys, Devonshire and Foothill Areas comprised the new Division covering 28.1 square miles. On opening day, the station was staffed with 268 civilian and sworn employees. Operations Valley Bureau personnel also occupied a portion of the building. As of June 2013, there are 51 employees of the original crew still serving the community of Mission Area.
Significant Mission Area Events
Just two years after Mission Area was opened, two off duty officers found themselves in a situation where they acted quickly to save a life. On December 22, 2007, Officer Alonso Menchaca was assigned to Mission GED and Officer Steven Beumer was working Foothill Area at the time. The two officers were off duty and observed a horrible traffic collision on the 118 freeway. Officers Menchaca and Beumer stopped to rescue a motorist trapped in a burning car. Both officers were recognized and awarded the Medal of Valor for their selfless acts of heroism and bravery.
When we reflect on Mission Area's history, we are vividly reminded of the Sayre Fire. On November 13, 2008, the Sayre Fire ravaged the community of Sylmar destroying 489 homes and scorching over 11,000 acres of land.
Lastly, over the past few weeks we have experienced a series of attacks on our officers that have served as a daily reminder of the brazen, indiscriminate acts of violence committed against police officers and inherently dangerous our work continues to be. Thankfully, these officers live to continue to serve this great City, but not without sacrifices. These incidents bring to mind an incident much too recent for all of us that occurred in Mission Area on April 4, 2011. I distinctly recall the moment I learned that one of our own was seriously wounded. Metropolitan Division K9 Officer Steve Jenkins was shot in the face by a domestic violence suspect. Officers returned fire, which led to a 16 hour standoff. The suspect was later found dead inside the home. Steve is a highly respected 22 year veteran of the Department and is a true gentleman and family man. His remarkable mental and physical toughness is certainly a testament of his character. I'm proud of this man, and proud to have him back in the field where he belongs, working Metro K-9. The unfortunate and unintended consequences of our line of work continue to make us stronger as an LAPD family. Many of you were there to support Steve and his wife Beth, who is an LAPD sergeant, and I've witnessed you continue to do the same for others since then.
Take nothing for granted in the field, debrief tactical incidents and seize every opportunity to share officer safety issues, safe tactics, communications and crime intel. This can happen on the hood of a black and white, in roll call or the locker room…it doesn't matter where it happens, but what's important is that it occurs and that each of you take an active and honest role in the debrief with the same goal in mind…to go home to your loved ones each and every day.
Ask the Chief
We have heard about an Automated Days Off System that some divisions are using so officers can submit requests for days off electronically from their MDCs. When will this go citywide?
The Department has recently deployed the Automated Days Off System (ADOS) that allows patrol officers the ability to submit their request for days-off from any LAN computer or even from any Mobile Data Computer (MDC). The new system was to develop a paperless process that preserves the original dates requested, eliminating redundant entry by the supervisor into a spreadsheet and again later by timekeepers into the Deployment Planning System. Efficiencies are also realized by supervisors attempting to balance the Haves and Needs for their Watch by providing a better visual template and allowing them to make decisions on "Red Days" that are requested, by reading the comments submitted by the officer in the electronic calendar form.
Early feedback from ADOS users has validated its utility as a time saver at the officer, Area and the Bureau management levels. Full deployment to all Geographic Areas will occur by the end of Deployment Period 8. This automated system represents one of many projects undertaken by the Information Technology Bureau (ITB) to provide efficiencies to everyday tasks throughout the Department. I'd like to thank the staff that worked on this project. I know they worked hard to make this as user friendly as possible for everyone and I know you'll be happy with the results. Thank you all for your great work!
Thank you for your continued suggestions and I look forward to hearing from you. Take care of yourselves and look out for one another.