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Consider the Officers

… and their desire to be of service

Bill Murray - 3/31/02

Consider 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 showing up.

Yes, I'm thinking of the Officers now, of every rank … those who 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 happened.

You see, in our Division we try arrange things so that every Officer who drives the patrol car attends the Basic Car meetings … to meet 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 LAPD.

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 enforcement … 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 ...

Peace … 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 scandal.

Now is the time to show you support your LAPD Officers ... all of them.


Note: This list will not be shared with any other group, nor will it be used for purposes other than promoting Los Angeles Community Policing.

Yours in service,

Bill Murray
Bobbie Logan

Thank you for supporting your LAPD Officers.


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