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Chief of Police Message - March 2014

Chief’s Message
MARCH 2014


In January the Department began evaluating the use of body worn video cameras for patrol use. We have quickly made progress and I'm pleased to provide you with the following update. This is where we are as of now:  Thirty of these small cameras were provided by Taser Corporation for field testing in Central Division and will be used for 90 days. A second type of camera, provided by Coban, will be field tested immediately following the first 90-day deployment. Like In-Car Video, these body worn cameras can provide us with an opportunity to capture the good work you do every day and positively affect the outcome of criminal investigations, personnel complaints and transparency to the community. The input from the field officers testing these units will help shape the future deployment of these cameras and the policy governing them.

Biased Policing Complaint Mediation Program
The Department’s new Biased Policing Complaint Mediation Program is in full swing as of January 2014.  Some of you may have already received a call from the Department’s Mediation Coordinator expressing eligibility of your complaint in the mediation program.  The reception of the program from Department personnel and the community alike has been positive and those entering the program are doing so with open minds.  With such positive responses thus far, I am hopeful this program will make a difference in improving community relations and help build a better understanding between the police and the communities we serve. 

This program has my full support as well as the support of the Los Angeles Police Protective League and the Police Commission.  As we move forward in the post-Consent Decree era, this program will help demonstrate our commitment to our Constitutional and Community Policing goals.  I believe this is a step in the right direction for us all.  By the end of the pilot program period, I anticipate we'll have a good number of cases from which we can learn from and obtain feedback about the program. 

Robbery Homicide Division
This month we highlight Robbery Homicide Division (RHD).  Established in 1969, by combining the once separate Robbery and Homicide Divisions.   Today's RHD is made up of approximately 110 sworn and civilian personnel under the command of Captain III William Hayes and is comprised of five sections:
  • Robbery Special Section (RSS)
  • Homicide Special Section (HSS)
  • Gang Homicide Unit
  • Special Assault Section (SAS)
  • Cold Case Homicide Special Section (CCSS)
  • Special Investigation Section (SIS)

Each section is under the supervision of a lieutenant and tasked with investigating or providing surveillance support for a wide variety of select crimes that are often high profile in nature.  The sections also serves as liaisons between other law enforcement agencies regarding cases of mutual interest and, when required, orchestrate multi-divisional and/or multi-agency task force investigations.

Noteworthy investigations that RHD has completed or participated in read like a Hollywood script depicting the history of crime in LA:  The Tate-LaBianca murders (1969), the Symbionese Liberation Army Shootout (1974), the “Hillside Strangler” (1977-1978),  the “Night Stalker” (1984-1985), the O.J. Simpson Investigation (1994), the “North Hollywood Shootout” (1997), Serial Killer Chester Turner (1987-1998), the Robert Blake Investigation (2001), the “Grim Sleeper” Task Force (2005-Present), LAFD Captain David Del Toro Investigation (2006), and the Michael Jackson (2009).

Elysian Park Renovation construction
As the Elysian Park Academy gets ready to close for renovation, the LAPRAAC café is still open for service.  Their last day of operation is Friday June 13.

RIP Clerk Michael Pell, R&I Division
In closing, I'd like to express my heartfelt sorrow for the unexpected loss of an unsung hero, Clerk Michael Pell, Serial No. A8825.  After holding clerk positions in the United States Post Office and County USC Hospital, Michael Pell,was hired by the Los Angeles Police Department on November 22, 1974, as an Office Trainee assigned to the Records & Identification Division's Arrest Disposition Unit at the age of 25.  He was appointed to the position of Clerk two years later and was assigned to the Department's Mail Room, where he remained working until his passing, on February 6, 2014.
 
For almost 40 years, Michael ensured that the members of this Department received their mail on time and their packages were delivered.  He was the go-to person to track down previous incarnations of Department entities renamed during various reorganizations.  Michael epitomized personalized service, finding common interests with his customers, swapping news tidbits and anecdotes and sharing his interests in the Jewish religion, collecting law enforcement patches, hockey, and ComicCon events.  His coworkers describe him best, as a "fan of life."  He truly loved his job and his Records and Identification Division family, as evidenced by many years of perfect attendance, and his refusal to even discuss the possibility of retiring.  It is safe to say that Michael is an LAPD icon, familiar to many, and loved by all.  He will truly be missed.