Chief of Police Message - November 2012Chief's Message - November 2012
This time of the year is especially poignant for me as I realize many people will spend the holiday season away from their friends and family. So, as we enjoy Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday celebrations with our loved ones, let us remember those who are away from home during this time.
With that said, I would like to ask everyone to take a few moments this Veteran’s Day to pay tribute to our brothers and sisters in blue, and the many brave men and women, who so valiantly protect our Country and safeguard our freedom while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
History of West Valley Area
At the end of World War II a housing boom began in the San Fernando Valley. At this time the Van Nuys Station, which had opened in 1926, was the only police station in the Valley.
By 1957 it became necessary to create a second police station to serve the ever-growing valley area.
On May 1, 1957, after some renovation, the first West Valley Police Station opened at a storefront location on Reseda Blvd. It was the first new division to be opened by the Los Angeles Police Department in more than 31 years. On opening day, a total of 112 personnel were assigned to the division, which would serve an area of 79 square miles and 160,000 residents. The boundaries of West Valley Area were Rinaldi Street on the north, Mulholland Drive on the south, Balboa Boulevard on the east and the City limits on the west.
On August 7, 1960, West Valley officers closed the temporary station and moved to their new home at 19020 Vanowen Street. The new state of the art station had 19,000 square feet of working space, a motor garage and parking for 200 vehicles. At the time of the opening, there were 156 police officers who patrolled 83 square miles and a population of 230,000. The new station would cost $600,000 to build.
After 40 years, the West Valley facility had become too small to accommodate all of the assigned employees and construction began on a new station. On April 14, 2005, the new West Valley Community Police Station was dedicated. The current facility consists of four structures on 3 acres of land. The cost of the facility was $26 million. Presently, 294 personnel are assigned to the Division. Its newly created boundaries now cover 33 square miles and serve a population of approximately 194,000.
Throughout the years West Valley Area has seen its share of high profile arrests, crimes and natural disasters. The most noteworthy was the January 17, 1994, magnitude 6.7, Northridge Earthquake which struck the western San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles area. The quake caused extensive damage and loss of life in the community of Northridge. Fifty-seven people were killed and more than 8,700 were injured.
Fallen Heroes of West Valley
Since the opening of the West Valley Area, four officers have been killed in the line of duty within the Division. A wonderful memorial for these fallen officers sits proudly just outside of the station entrance for all of our citizens to visit and pay tribute to these brave individuals:
- Motor Officer Martin Parker was killed in a motorcycle accident on September 14, 1961.
- Detective Thomas C. Williams was ambushed and killed in order to prevent him from testifying in a robbery trial on October 31, 1985.
- Motor Officer Randol L. Marshall was killed in a motorcycle accident on June 2, 1987.
- SWAT Officer Randal D. Simmons was killed by an armed suspect while making entry into a residence on February 7, 2008.
I hope to see all of you at the 2012 Chief’s Holiday Party which will take place on Saturday, December 15th, at the Omni Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. This annual party is always a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate the season with friends, co-workers and family.
Another event you will not want to miss will be the 9th Annual Holiday Assembly which will take place on December 13, 2012, at 1030 at the Deaton Auditorium. Don’t miss out on the gift giveaways, holiday themed contests, and free lunch. Please take time out of your work day to stop by and partake in the day’s activities.