Adopt A Block, the program
Community Policing and the Ideal Basic Car

"Adopt A Block" ... an adjunct to Community Policing and the Ideal Basic Car

The "Adopt A Block" program is simplicity itself. Its principal tools, a pamphlet stuffed with a few flyers, cost next to nothing to create, and the flyers used can be updated at each Deployment Period (DP) with the latest information the Division wants to get out.

Implementing "Adopt A Block" will immediately start to bridge the gap which currently exists between many residents and the typical Basic Car Officer.
The community will begin to see the Officers as genuinely committed to "protect and serve" them.

Essentially, it is an inexpensive and simple plan to promote Community Policing. Officers simply take these packets with them in the Basic Cars ...

"Adopt A Block" : the full program


Even at full strength, the Los Angeles Police Department is one of the smallest municipal police departments per capita in the country. It is obvious that the more the community is in partnership with the Division the more effective the concepts of Community Policing and the Ideal Basic Car programs will be.

As Chief Bernard C. Parks has said about Problem Solving partnerships, "Safeguarding our communities is a combined responsibility shared by all residents ..."

But for many the relationship with the Department is damaged, and it is crucial for the LAPD Officers to initiate contact with members of the community they serve.


"Adopt A Block" is intended build cooperation and trust. It addresses two purposes:

1) to help LAPD identify specific members of the community as potential partners in Community Policing programs, and

2) to introduce local residents to the Officers from their Basic Car area and to put problem solving tools directly into the residents hands


The "Adopt A Block" program described herein is a model. Since each Division has its own individual neighborhoods, with their own special problems, significant latitude for the implementation of these concepts should be given local Area Commanders.

For example, some Basic Car areas are mainly residential, and some have large business districts. Some have neighborhoods with mostly single family homes, while others have many apartment complexes or housing projects. It will be up to the 18 Division Captains to adapt, modify and implement the "Adopt A Block" program to best serve an area's needs.

It is hoped that within the "Adopt A Block" program described below the spirit, if not the exact process of what is intended, will be clear. It is designed to compliment, not replace, existing LAPD programs.


Whereas it is now a prime duty of all LAPD Basic Car Officer to involve themselves in day to day community relations, a job which had been thought by some to be principally assigned only to the Senior Lead Officer, this program introduces the individual Officers in the field to individual local residents in their area.

The "Adopt A Block" program will not require either significant training or extra duties. The materials needed are not expensive to create. In fact most of them, with the possible exception of a pamphlet describing the program itself, already exist.


Each Senior Lead Officer will designate a specific block or two to each of the Basic Car Officers on the daylight shifts each month. If more appropriate, a group of smaller blocks, a business district or even a single building in a large apartment complex might be substituted.

The Officers will be encouraged, as normal patrol activities permit, to return to these areas, exit the car, and introduce themselves to the residents of their assigned blocks. Community members will be handed the current "Adopt A Block" packet.

The Division will provide it's Officers with printed materials to be handed out during each shift. Folded into the pamphlet describing "Adopt A Block" can be any number of things: current Problem Solving contact sheets, information on the Neighborhood Watch, descriptions of Community Police Advisory Board and LAPD volunteer programs, and flyers for upcoming LAPD events.

The Officers will offer these tools along with their business cards (or that of the SLO), or they'll jot down their names in the space provided on the back of the pamphlet.

They will encourage the residents to become involved in Community Policing.

Whenever comfortable to do so, the Basic Car Officers will ask for a new contact's name, address, and phone number. These names will be turned over to the SLO on a regular basis.

The Senior Lead Officer will maintain a contact list of the residents the Officers meet, and will place phone calls to new contacts, periodically suggesting that some of them become Neighborhood Watch members, Block Captains, or participate in other Problem Solving programs.

If the community does not have a current Neighborhood Watch the Senior Lead Office will naturally offer to assist in setting one up.

The Senior Lead Officer will use this contact list of residents as a tool for reaching out to the community as needed, and the Division may choose to maintain an ongoing combined "resource list" of residents who have been contacted.

At the end of the DP, the SLO will either assign new blocks, or decide to continue some Officers on the same blocks for an additional month.


Each local LAPD Division can easily modify and streamline the "Adopt A Block" program to suit it's own unique purposes. And it can be implemented citywide in a timely manner.

The essential common denominator will be to empower every Basic Car Officer with the tools he or she needs to reach out to area residents, and to have the Officers exit their cars, "Adopt A Block" packets in hand, and maintaining a posture which makes them approachable.

LAPD wishes to increase participation and partnership with the community. The Department needs to actively encourage the Officers take a proactive attitude, giving the citizens of Los Angeles an ongoing opportunity to meet, shake hands with, talk to, and get to know them.

And if each Basic Car Officer makes a meaningful contact with only one or two new residents a week, the results will be dramatic. Through "Adopt A Block" a Division will quickly gain dozens of involved partners in Community Policing.

Over a relatively short period of time communication with the community will be significantly improved, and trust with individual Officers, and the Department as a whole, will begin to be reestablished.

The emphasis of "Adopt A Block" will be on identifying ways the local Division can better "protect and serve" its community, and on encouraging the residents of Los Angeles to become engaged in meaningful Community Policing partnerships.

Bill Murray
Hollenbeck Division C-PAB
323 / 225-6393