the Officers ... especially now
In the whirlwind that surrounds the moment, with all sides making
their calculated "moves," I'm wondering just what it takes to keep
Yes, I'm thinking of the Officers now, of every rank
come to work for us every day, to protect and to serve us, not knowing
how all this will turn out. And I admire them.
It takes me back
A couple of years ago we were holding a combined Basic Car meeting,
with two or three cars together in one evening, and something remarkable
You see, in our Division we try arrange things so that every Officer
who drives the patrol car attends the Basic Car meetings
the community, and to be introduced. So there were quite a few of
them, impressively dressed in their Class "A" uniforms, all seated
at a long table lined up across the front of the room.
Early in the evening, just after the welcome, the Officers were
asked to stand. Then our Captain surprised them, asking each one
to say hello, to tell us how long they'd been on the force, and
to add an explanation of why they'd originally been drawn to joining
One by one, Officer after Officer, they said their names, described
their length of service
and then each one stammered through a
short story they'd not expected to give ... the story of why they'd
decided to become a cop.
They were a little embarrassed, yet proud to tell us.
Some related tales of how their fathers or grandfathers had been
cops, others had been in the military first, and some had just been
drawn to it "out of the blue"
But the amazing thing, the common denominator, and the one thing
that we community members who were there remember even today, was
that to a person each in his or her own way related they'd
felt a calling and a deep desire to serve others. They'd
wanted to make a difference.
We in the audience were deeply impressed.
Being "on the job"
Now, I've had lots of jobs, mostly in show business, and some of
them were real stinkers. Not that I didn't like the work especially,
but as a free lance worker-bee, I've done many projects where I
had to answer to the whim of some unbelievably oppressive producers,
directors, writers, actors and network executives
each one pushing
and pulling for and against the others, politicking to make an impression,
to manipulate, and to have their own way.
At times like this, I've had absolutely no control of the forces
around me, and have had to answer to my superiors, who in turn had
to answer to theirs, and so on and so on. None of us could speak
up or voice our opinions openly for fear of repercussions.
Regardless of this, I've still attempted to perform at the highest
level, doing the best job I could. The show must go on
Sure it's oppressive, but whenever I've been on such a project the
saving grace for me has been knowing it's "only temporary."
So I'm thinking
what would it be like to have a job situation
like this, if it wasn't temporary, if I wasn't just an artist
with a craft, but a person with a vocation, a calling
say in law
where all I'd really want is the privilege of being
of service to the community, day in and day out?
I imagine that if I were young, say 20 or so, and was considering
where to place my commitment
would I be tempted to look elsewhere?
I think about how I would feel being 10 years into my career, on
the way up
would I think about taking my experience and resume
to another place, where it would count?
I wonder how it would be if I'd spent 20 or 25 years or more devoted
to the job, and was now in command
would I stay, even if miserable,
and ride it out?
Frankly, I don't know
But without the support of the community I think I'd feel lost.
I'm told we have a lot of trouble getting new recruits. I'm told
a lot of Officers have departed. I'm told that even some respected
commanders with just short of 30 years of service have chosen to
resign. I'm told the number of Officers is way down
So, I'm amazed at the dedication of those of every rank who
suffer these times, yet continue on. They come to the job daily,
heads held high, ready to serve the City, even if it means being
closed mouthed about what's going on all around them, and even if
it means extra effort.
They keep showing up with an unending desire and a commitment to
protect and to serve.
They make me proud, and I applaud them
Still, I can only imagine their concerns ...
be with them
Our entire City suffers now, unnecessarily. It's under siege from
an outspoken few, and it's being manipulated silently from behind
the scenes because of a perceived power struggle to "control" Parker
Center. Ridiculous sides shows feature "unnamed sources" spreading
third hand rumors of this and that
the press is only too happy
to cover the story
It would all be laughable, too, if it weren't so serious.
But the community is smarter than that, and understands the Department
is a service. The Officers know this, too. It belongs to, and works
for, all of us. Civilian oversight exists for a reason.
There's a Closed Session evaluation process going on at the Police
Commission, and one with an uncertain outcome.
Over and over we've heard each of the five members say they'll base
their decision solely on the merits.
And over and over we've heard the Chief say that's all he asks.
Yet lines are being drawn, and people are "demonstrating" abrasively
... on all sides of the issue. There seems to be little thought
of how horribly divisive these inappropriate trumped up "political
campaigns" are to the City, and how they've damaged, and will continue
to damage, the LAPD.
It must stop. All of it. From all "sides" involved.
Now is the time for the only comment to be, "No comment."
Now is the time for unbridled rhetoric and histrionics to cease.
Now is the time for all of us to allow the Commission, and the City
Council behind them, to do their work.
Los Angeles is at stake. Our already overburdened Officers can ill
afford thinking about having to deal with the possibility of yet
another riot ... and their Department can ill afford yet another
Now is the time to show you support your LAPD Officers ... all