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Steve Soboroff, President - Comments from September 26, 2017

Steve Soboroff, President
Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners
Comments from September 26, 2017

Thank you to my colleagues on the commission for your support.  Over the years I have gotten to know each of you as thoughtful, fair, and compassionate people — and I need your continued time and energy in order to continue progress the critical issues that matt just described, for the sake of every Angeleno, and especially the underserved among us.

Matt, your service as president has been nothing short of remarkable during a remarkably difficult time.  Your legacy as a Commissioner was earned based on your leadership skills, your integrity, and your determination to continually do what is right for the people of Los Angeles, and the brave men and women of the LAPD.  it will be appreciated for years to come.

I have learned plenty since my last acceptance speech four years ago.  Four specifics have risen among dozens.

First, the job of being a police officer is far more difficult than any non-cop can imagine.    The dozens of split second variables that simultaneously occur to the men and women who wear those uniforms are never ending, always changing, and becoming more complex.

Second, being underserved is far more difficult than the privileged can imagine.   Lack of job opportunities, sub-par educational and health facilities, living amongst gangs, drugs and guns, and living homeless with or without mental illness is nothing short of a national health crisis.

Third, "law enforcement best practices" change rapidly due to:
  • new technology;
  • advancements in training of officers to deal with those with mental health, homelessness or substance abuse problems; and,
  • instantaneous communication among law enforcement leaders and scholars from around the world.
Chief, you and your command staff ably lead the finest police department in America — or anywhere in the world, and you have acknowledged that every one of us is a still a work-in-progress, me especially.

Fourth, we must recruit boys and girls away from gangs, by providing them programs, jobs, positive reinforcement, healthy choices, education and opportunity.    We cannot police our way out of this.   We all can and should work together to support our youth to prepare them for college or entering the workforce.    Their success and their self-confidence is our answer.

In summary, as President of this commission, my responsibility now, is to facilitate crossing the goal lines of many of the initiatives that Commissioner Johnson, the Mayor, the City Council through its Public Safety Committee, the LAPPL, my fellow Commissioners, cops, and the public have begun. For example:

  • Mayor Garcetti has challenged us to deliver, and Commissioner Johnson has pushed us to make real programs and policies from new and better training in de-escalation and implicit bias, to strengthening our protections for immigrants and service to the homeless.  Over a hundred programs like the Watts Bears, Cadets and even shoe-give-aways are a critical part of community based policing.
  • Every member of the LAPD will hopefully double down on community and relationship-based policing so everyone in Los Angeles can trust that this is their Department, and they can feel safe, comfortable, and free to engage with the officers who serve their neighborhoods.   Every Angeleno deserves an ever-evolving LAPD that protects and serves every Angeleno and every Angeleno needs to help in some way to help make that happen.  There is no place in any zip code for illegal guns or drug-pushers. and finally; 
  • City Department systems must work better and faster together to increase recruitment, especially to continue diversification of the LAPD.  More women, African- Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders should have the opportunity to wear our badge, and be represented throughout future organizational charts.  It is a goal of all of us that every child in Los Angeles will grow up seeing, talking to, and respecting officers who look like them. 

All of us need to push the reset button with those we have disagreed with.   Let's start anew, keeping in mind the words of Dr. Maya Angelou in her famous poem, HUMAN FAMILY:

"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."

Fasten your seatbelts everybody, and let's get moving!     Thank you!