JUST THE FACTS-Those who say they support the men and women of the LAPD really don’t show it in their actions, deeds or public comments. Recently I attended the “Twice a Citizen” dinner celebration for our Los Angeles Police Department Reserve Officers. Hundreds of LAPD Reserve officers and guests attended this annual banquet in Hollywood. Reserve officers included doctors, airline pilots, attorneys, actors and many from other professions.
Chief Charlie Beck attended the dinner, along with a number of Assistant Chiefs, Commanders, Captains and other members of the Department. What was notably missing were all the members of the Police Commission as well as elected officials. It seems that not one elected official in the City of LA could find the time to show support for our LAPD Reserve officers. Their vocal “support” of the dedicated men and women of the LAPD Reserve Corps end up being truly empty words.
Police Commission President Matt Johnson and his fellow commissioners are the appointed heads of the LAPD. They review Department policies and practices; and they carry out a variety of other responsibilities that impact the men and women of the LAPD. In addition, they dictate policy directions to Chief Beck -- directions that become orders and modifications affecting the way the LAPD delivers service to the people of Los Angeles. It’s interesting to read stories that detail the following recent crimes and then wonder why the Police Commission, particularly Mr. Johnson, seems totally out of touch with illegal activities taking place throughout the City:
*Women found stabbed to death in South Los Angeles apartment.
*Beloved worker found bound and fatally shot inside Laundromat in South Los Angeles.
*LAPD and Sheriff’s Department Command Staff criticized for handling of wild LA police pursuit.
*4 shot in South L.A. while setting up for BBQ.
*Man with gunshot wounds dies in liquor store.
*Family ID’s body of woman found off freeway.
*Police seek clues after driver shot in Van Nuys.
*Horse beaten and shot to death and left on Sylmar street.
*2 women sentenced in shooting death of young father outside church.
*Man found shot to death inside alley in South LA.
*Man shot, wounded during carjacking in South LA.
*3 wounded in Pacoima shooting.
*Mayhem in East Hollywood as robbery suspects crash into 4 cars; 3 in custody.
*20 year old beaten and stabbed to death near Sylmar High.
*Three teen boys shot in Pico-Union area.
*Three people shot, wounded in South LA.
*Hunt for assailants who attacked four in separate South LA shootings.
*Vigil held for Los Angeles murder victim as search for killer continues.
As you can see, very serious crimes are happening throughout Los Angeles, committed by very violent people. One would think that Mr. Johnson and his fellow commissioners would be concerned about victims and their family members who’ve been impacted by the ever-increasing crime numbers.
Operating with less than the budgeted 10,000 officers, the LAPD must police the sprawling City of Angels, a task made more frustrating when the Department sees that the Commission members and especially its president, Mr. Johnson, push forward their policy on officer-involved shootings. They seem more concerned with protecting criminals than our officers.
Mr. Johnson and his anti-police attitude will only force members of the LAPD to think twice before engaging in a situation causing him or her to draw a weapon. It’s a sad state of affairs when those who are sworn to protect and serve are not adequately supported by those who set policy for them. As I have mentioned before, it may be time to arm yourself to protect yourself and your family.
Perhaps someday we will have elected officials and police commissioners willing to let those who commit crimes know that it is wise to cooperate with the directions of the officers who are sworn to “Protect and Serve.”
(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. He writes Just the Facts for CityWatch. You can contact him at [email protected].) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.