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Chief of Police Message - March 2013

Chief’s Message
March 2013

With the annual Baker to Vegas Relay Race a month away, I know many of you are hard at work training for this grueling race.  Many hours and many miles have gone into your training as you prepare to represent your Department and your team.  Last year both our Department Elite team and Women’s team took home top honors and I anticipate them doing the same again this year. These groups of individuals have shown they’ve got what it takes to win and represent this fine Department.

For those of you who aren’t running, you might want to think about joining a support team.  This race cannot happen without the generous support of Department personnel.  A winning team relies heavily on a strong support team.  I encourage you to get involved.  I know it will definitely be worth your time.  Good luck to everyone.  I look forward to joining you out there on the course.

The Onion Field

One of the cases that impacted the entire law enforcement profession sadly occurred in Los Angeles 50 years ago when plainclothes Hollywood Division Officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger were kidnapped at gunpoint.  Late on March 9, 1963 the two officers stopped a pair of armed ex-convicts just north of Hollywood Boulevard on Gower.  During the course of the officers’ investigation, one of the armed suspects was able to gain a tactical advantage over Campbell, and demanded the surrender of both officers’ revolvers.  After turning over their handguns to their captors, both officers were loaded at gunpoint into a maroon 1946 coupe and driven to a desolate area just beyond the base of the grapevine.
After the four exited the vehicle, Campbell was shot in the face.  Officer Hettinger, realizing his death was likewise imminent, fled into the darkness.  Wayward shots were fired at Hettinger.  Four additional shots were fired into Campbell, from his own service weapon.  Campbell who was laying defenselessly on his back, died immediately.  Hettinger evaded his captors and found refuge in a farmhouse where he notified the Kern County authorities.  He provided key information that resulted in the arrest of both suspects.  Almost immediately after the incident, the Department published its formal policy on weapon retention.

On March 9th, the fiftieth anniversary of this tragedy, I hope we can all take a moment to remember these officers, and their place in LAPD history.  It is on that day I will help honor their memory by unveiling a new exhibition at the Los Angeles Police Museum.  It is there visitors can learn more about this tragedy and the tradition that was borne of it.  It is there all of us can honor the memories of Officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger.

History of Pacific

In 1906, the Ocean Park trustees formed a new police department, hiring new officers for $65.00 per month. This marked the beginning of the Venice area being policed by a municipal police agency.  In 1911, with voter approval, Ocean Park became the City of Venice and the police department formed in 1906 by the Ocean Park trustees became the Venice Police Department.

In 1925 Venice voters decided to annex the city to the City of Los Angeles.  The Venice Police Officers who were able to pass the City of Los Angeles Civil Service Examination were allowed to join the LAPD.  Grover Armstrong Sr., the Chief of Police for the City of Venice, became a LAPD Captain.  The Venice Division had 30 police officers, and covered 4.10 square miles.  In 1930, a new police station was built at 685 Venice Boulevard.  It is the only Art Deco police station in the City and is declared a Historic-Cultural Monument. It is now the home of the Venice Historical Society.

The Venice Police Station was moved to its current location on March 4, 1973.  In 1982, in order to better reflect a community that includes Westchester, Mar Vista and Palms neighborhoods, Venice Division became Pacific Area.

Pacific Area Significant Events

Formation of LAPD first “Beach Detail”
In 1974, nude sunbathing was permitted north of the Pavilion.  It caused such a stir that the City voted 14 to 1 to ban this practice.  In response to this new law, and the growing skateboarding community, the Pacific Area Beach Patrol was formed.  That beach patrol is still active, and can be found working the historical Venice Boardwalk to this day.

Pacific Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

As we reflect on the history of the LAPD, let us honor the lives of our brother officers killed in the line of duty while assigned to Pacific Division.  May they rest in peace.

Officer Brian Brown:  EOW 11-29-98

Officer Brown, while pursuing two gang members who had just committed a drive-by shooting, was struck by gunfire and died as a result of the injuries.

Officer Raymond Hicks:  EOW 8-17-76

Officer Hicks, while serving a narcotics warrant, was struck by gunfire and died as a result of the injuries.

Officer Phillip Riley:  EOW 10-25-71

Officer Riley, while attempting to subdue a suspect who fled on foot following a high speed chase, was struck by gunfire and died as the result of the injuries.

Officer Gilbert Reyes:  EOW 5-4-59

Officer Reyes, while on patrol, died from injuries received during a duty related auto accident.

Ask the Chief

Many of us enjoy working Northeast Station but we have concerns and are in desperate need of a new police station.   What is the timeline as to when the new station will be built?

I clearly understand and appreciate your concerns of working in an old police station.  We are working as quickly as possible to get a realistic timeline considering all factors and variables that is involved in building a new facility.  As of now, plans for ground breaking will begin at the end of this year and we expect the new Northeast Station to open towards the end of 2015.  The current station will remain open during the construction and will be demolished once everyone has moved into the new building. 

I’ve noticed all radio calls at parks are dispatched Code2.  Is this something new since General Services joined our Department?

Yes it is.  This is new protocol for responding to parks within the City but also libraries, zoo, Convention Center and Bureau of Sanitation sites.  All calls for service involving those locations are urgent calls that must be answered immediately and will be assigned Code 2, at a minimum.  With the added resources acquired from GSD, the responsibility of safeguarding the vital City facilities is now one of the many crucial responsibilities of the LAPD. We as a Department are committed to ensuring the quality and level of service remains consistent and seamless during the transition.  As with any other Code 2 radio call, I trust that as hard working patrol officers, you strive in providing prompt and exceptional services to those that live, work and visit our beautiful City.  If you have additional questions regarding the calls for service, you can contact the Security Services Division Watch Commander.

Please take care of yourself and keep those questions coming.

Be safe,