Our Weekly Newspaper
Shirley Hawkins

The Los Angeles Police Department announced that it is expanding its facilities and adding 400 new police officers to the force in 2009.

At a community forum summit held at the Soka Gakkai International Friendship Center Thursday, Dec. 4, Police Chief William J. Bratton said that several new multi-million dollar new and remodeled police facilities had been completed and more are underway. The chief said the new facilities will help strengthen the police department�s ability to better serve the community.

“We are going to benefit from investments that will pay off in a big way for you, your child and your neighborhood,” Bratton told the crowd of nearly 200 attendees. “You voted for Proposition Q, which will help police officers remodel and build new facilities and departments and we will be able to expand from 18 to 21 facilities.”

Bratton said the new and expanded facilities will include a crime lab, a detention center, an emergency operations center, and several area police stations. The chief said that the department will also receive new walkie talkie radios and 1,200 tazers.

“We are building a $450 million police administration building in city hall and it will be the most modern in the country,” said Bratton. “Next year, we will continue growth of the police department by recruiting hundreds of officers.”

Bratton also announced that the department in partnership with the city attorney’s office will “crack down” on the most notorious gangs. “City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo plans to move against the largest gangs in Los Angeles,” said Bratton. “Next year, we feel we will be able to break the backs of the gangs and put the gangs in jail. We are going to be taking their houses, cars, assets and property.”

On Monday, Delgadillo was joined by law enforcement officials in MacArthur Park to announce legal action he is taking against several members of the 18th Street gang. Recently passed legislation allows prosecutors to seek monetary damages from members of criminal street gangs under injunction for nuisance activity.

The chief also emphasized that crime was down in the city, with homicides, aggravated assault, rape, robbery and carjacking facing significant decreases. But he emphasized that the LAPD would not be able to combat crime without the support of the community.

“Coming out of the turbulence of the ‘90s, we have developed partnerships that are strong,” he said. “As we go into the new year, I feel we will be able to reduce crime and reduce the response time to crime.”

Assistant Chief of Police, Earl C. Paysinger, directors, said that the community forums are important to the department. “These are important timely sessions in providing feedback in our work and desire to be public servants for the people. Everything could not be done without you and your partnerships. We may not agree on issues, but without collaboration, none of the things we do would be possible if not for you.”
Deputy Chief Terry Hara of the Operations West Bureau also urged that in order for the police to be effective, the community and the LAPD must continue to work together. “We need your involvement,” he insisted. “It’s a partnership and an investment. At one time, our badge was tarnished, but now its shining bright. I’m proud that we are strengthening our relationship with the community.”

Bratton said that Lt. Fred Booker, a 37-year veteran who had recently retired, had been “coaxed” back into the police force as a special assistant to the chief.

“The reason I came out of retirement is because Chief Bratton is trying to improve conditions throughout the city. I really know his (Bratton’s) heart and I see what he’s trying to do with his community,” said Booker. “The police department is at a great time now as reflected by the relationships that have developed with all of the different communities in the city. The chief is trying to improve the relationships because it helps officers better do their jobs and to solve crimes.”