Los Angeles: Today, November 15, 2007, Chief William J. Bratton, and members of his command staff met with several leaders of the Los Angeles Muslim community to begin the initial efforts of the Community Engagement Initiative.
Those in attendance from the Muslim community included:
• Salam Al Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council
• Hussam Ayloush, Council on American-Islamic Relations
• Shakeel Syed, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California
• Sadegh Namazikah, The Iranian-American Muslim Network
• Dr. Mohammed Khatibloo, Westwood College
• Dr. Greg Esteban, Westwood College
• Dr. Maher Hathout, Muslim Public Affairs Council
• Affad Shaikh, Civil Rights Coordinator, Council on American-Islamic Relations
• Ranjana Natarajan, American Civil Liberties Union
• Peter Bibring, American Civil Liberties Union
• John O’Brien, National Association of Muslim Lawyers
• Dafer Dakhil, Omar in Khattab Foundation
• Abdul-Kareem Hasan, Bilal Islamic Center
• Naim Shah, Ilm Foundation
• Najee Ali, Project Islamic Hope
• Ahmed Ali, Council of Pakistan American Affairs
• Zabie Mansoory, Muslim Public Affairs Council
• Shazia Kamal, Muslim Public Affairs Council
• Munira Syeda, Council on American-Islamic Relations
• Douglas Mirell, American Civil Liberties Union
• Fatma Saleh, Islamic Education Center of Orange County
At the meeting, honest and frank dialogue surrounding the LAPD’s Community Engagement Initiative – and in particular – the mapping of Muslim communities, was shared. Chief Bratton assured those in attendance that the mapping component of the initiative will not and cannot move forward as it would have required shared cooperation between the Department and members of the Muslim community.
“The LAPD strongly embraces the philosophy of Community Policing in all of our daily operations and functions,” said Chief Bratton. “Community Policing is a partnership between the police and the community, whereby the police and the community share responsibility for identifying, reducing, eliminating and preventing problems that impact community safety and order. By working together, we can reduce the fear and incidence of crime and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods Citywide. I have said it many times, in many places, and I want to be perfectly clear…We cannot do this alone! We need the working cooperation of all members of our community.”
In a democratic society, the police derive their power from the people. The people are the police. In order for us to do our job effectively, we must actively seek out and maintain the trust and support of the diverse communities we serve.
Eighteen months ago, as part of our on-going Community Policing initiatives – specifically our community engagement initiatives, the LAPD reached out to the many Muslim communities, and their leaders, throughout Los Angeles.
The principal purpose of these engagement initiatives is our desire to learn more about the Muslim communities – their religion, needs, fears and concerns. It is also intended to give them a better understanding of their police department, and how we might better relate and respond to their particular needs and concerns. In effect, to sustain our ongoing partnership based on mutual trust and respect.
We continually seek wise counsel and guidance. The Muslim communities’ united, swift and assertive negative reaction to one element of our engagement strategy initiative, in addition to our quick response to no longer pursue it is, I hope, a clear indication that the relationships, which have already been formed are paying off. Our having frank, transparent and open discussion about a major issue of concern has resulted in what will be a meaningful and satisfactory resolution.
As we move forward, we must continue to build upon the relationships we have fostered. At the same time, we must forge new relationships with all of the diverse communities throughout this great City with the goal being to make Los Angeles the safest big city in the nation.”