As a 50 plus year sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department, which is recognized as one of the most professional law enforcement agencies in the world; and a life-long resident of Los Angeles; a former Vice – Chair of the Elected Charter Reform Commission and a 12 year elected member of the Los Angeles City Council, I am disgusted and appalled by the lack of respect, support and acknowledgement of the hard work, sacrifice and dedication to duty of the men and women of the LAPD by Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the L.A. City Council.
How dare elected City of L.A. Officials disgrace the professionalism and dedication of both sworn and civilian members of the Department when law enforcement has been the target of attacks by certain individuals and groups in recent days and weeks.
Throughout their careers as politicians, L.A. officials have traditionally stood and supported law enforcement’s efforts to make Los Angeles the safest City in America. Now they desecrate the memory of the 210 LAPD Officers who have given their lives protecting the once proud City of the Angels.
They and their colleagues by their comments or silence have caved to the make believe notion that the LAPD and law enforcement agencies in general are responsible for racism and against communities of color. They are the career politicians and if anyone is responsible for systematic racism they are the responsible people along with other leaders in Los Angeles including members of City Commissions and other elected and appointed officials in California and throughout the nation that have continued to establish planned housing developments in certain locations while neglecting minority and poor communities including those of color.
I find it ironic that while the current L.A. City Council has been under Federal Investigation by the FBI for corruption including R.I.C.O. violations they are now pointing the finger at the members of the LAPD.
It is not widely known that on occasion certain council members utilize the LAPD for their own personal protection detail including 24 – hour protection at their residence. While city officials demand expedited responses to their personal calls for service, city residents wait for extended periods of time for police response due to understaffed resources caused by the leadership at L.A. City Hall.
The fact of the matter is Mr. George Floyd died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis and that has nothing to do with the LAPD. Mr. Floyd’s death was tragic and every member of the LAPD immediately acknowledged this, including Chief Michel Moore. Everyone has called for an expidited investigation and swift criminal prosecution for all the officers involved.
Yet, somehow Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and members of the city council by comments or silence have managed to erase every bit of dedicated work that the vast majority of police officers perform serving all L.A. communities, most importantly communities of color.
The LAPD has led the national effort for community policing. This is evidenced by the Community Police Advisory Boards, Clergy Council, Police Activity Leagues, Cadet and Jeopardy programs along with many other community- based programs intended to engage the entire community from youths to the senior population in true partnership.
The LAPD has not been without sin over previous years. This is evidenced by the Federal Consent Decree that cost millions of dollars to implement and established major reforms within the Department. The LAPD emerged from the multi-million- dollar decree as a better organization and we continue to improve daily and move forward.
The LAPD has undertaken several steps to ensure proper training for all personnel. This training was not in response to recent events or protests. The training has been instituted over the past number of years. Examples of this training include De-escalation, Implicit bias, Mental health awareness and Crowd management. The training is in addition to strict policies already in existence to immediately report any misconduct and take immediate action to stop excessive force.
Additionally the LAPD has been utilizing digital in-car video and body worn video for a number of years. The LAPD has also had a long – standing policy prohibiting the use of the carotid restraint hold since 1980, allowing its use in only situations where lethal force is necessary and justified. The LAPD has previously instituted training for all personnel to identify excited delirium, as well as instituting strict policies prohibiting individuals being placed in the prone position for an extended period of time.
As L.A. elected and others push to reduce millions of dollars of critical funding for the LAPD, these same individuals advocate for more inmates to be released from prison and push for more lenient criminal sentencing.
Los Angeles has an ever- prolific homeless population which is increasingly dependent on drugs, as well as a high percentages suffering from mental illness. Los Angeles officials and other civic leaders will be directly responsible for the subsequent increases in crime, additional victimization and the deterioration of public trust in law enforcement with the reduction of millions dollars for the LAPD.
The window to repair the damage that has been caused by recent demonstrations and looting, fires and riotous activity is quickly closing as Elected Officials fail to defend the 10,000 sworn and 3,000 civilian employees of the LAPD who have dedicated their lives to ensure public safety while fighting bias, ensuring equality treatment and treating everyone with dignity and respect.
What about the LEGAL OBLIGATION of people to cooperate with the Police and peacefully submit to arrest without resisting? Does that matter in our society. Just think that if you don’t fight the officer you won’t get injured!
In any profession there will be a few bad apples, but that does not erase the hard work and dedication of the majority. The fact is there have been priests and teachers who molested children, financial experts who stole money and doctors who committed malpractice. Every profession has its bad apples and the current FBI investigation shows that certain Los Angeles Elected members and staff of the L.A. City Council are no different.
You cannot deny the fact that the majority of law enforcement professionals across America are doing the right thing , serving their communities in an unbiased manner 24 hours a day. More importantly for residents of Los Angeles, the vast majority of LAPD officers do the right thing every day, protecting and serving without bias or prejudice, all while risking and sacrificing their lives for complete strangers.
Based on logic, it is safe to assume the fact that since several CURRENT L.A. Elected Officials are under criminal investigation for corruption means that we should paint all with the broad brush of being corrupt and ineffective politicians. Stealing from the very communities they have taken an oath to protect and represent.
What many fail to recognize is that being a member of law enforcement is a noble profession. Open to all people regardless of gender, race, creed or lifestyle. Law Enforcement officers across this country are made up of members of the community. It is completely irrational to not realize that police officers who risk their lives daily protecting the community are also our friends, family members, and neighbors. Especially with the LAPD, in which you have the best representation of community diversity amongst all LAPD ranks. The LAPD strives to achieve a department that is parity with the vast community it serves.
As Mayor Eric Garcetti and other elected and appointed SPINLESS civic leaders respond to those calling to reduce police funding, the Department will have no choice then to reduce the safety net for Los Angeles residents and business. Should the Department cut the S.W.A.T. Team, Air Support Division, Recruitment, In –Service Training or patrol units, not replace the number B/W Police Units that have been destroyed during the recent Riot? At any rate, any reduction of the LAPD will result in less protection for residents and business owners alike. Is it time to buy a gun and arm yourself to protect yourself, your business and your family?
Cutting the LAPD Budget is a HUGE mistake that will negatively impact every law-abiding Los Angeles resident, business owner and guest……If you care about the safety and security of Los Angeles, get up and get involved and let your civic leaders know that cutting funding to the LAPD is a huge mistake that you do not and will not support….
Just remember the recent live TV news reports of the recent demonstrations in and around Los Angeles that turned into riots with looting and burning and the destruction of both private and public Property. Remember the sight of burning police cars. If you are one of the people that lost your business to looters and fire, think how much worse it could have been without the limited police and fire personnel serving you and your community. Pressure your elected officials to maintain public safety in Los Angeles by properly funding the LAPD and other critical public safety services for you, your family and your community.