Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants

Editor's note:. The following was originally delivered as a speech to the final Police Commission community meeting which followed a Central Bureau Townhall event. The highlight of the Townhall meeting was a speech by Chief Martin Pomeroy, which Ms. Harmon had just heard (you can read the text of his speech here, too).

My criteria in selecting the next Chief of Police

June 27th

Chief Pomeroy personifies what I would like to see in the next chief of police. He's nice, personable, communicates well and is a fair man. He doesn't just speak to his command staff but to his officers no matter what rank. He supports his officers and has lifted their morale and given them back their pride and respect.

I have listened to him speak in front of the officers and they cheer and give him standing ovations, a far cry from the boos Chief Parks use to receive. He has inspired his troops like a true leader. Recruitment is up, officers who left want to come back, and officers are not leaving in the numbers as before. In the short time he has been interim chief, he has made changes that are steps in a positive direction.

He has been a breath of fresh air to a stale Department.

I would like to clone Chief Pomeroy and keep him. I would like the police commission to use the same criteria for the new chief of police that they used to select Chief Pomeroy.

Community based policing has been successful in other cities throughout the country. We need to bring that to Los Angeles. We need to start communicating and working as a team with our officers to make our neighborhoods safe. The community needs to become more involved and start a dialogue and support our officers.

LAPD lost over 1,000 officers last year. If they don't respond to a call in a timely manner there's a reason. They just don't have the manpower. Every division is short officers. Instead of blaming police officers for the crime in our neighborhoods we should hold the parents of the criminals accountable. Those parents need to start taking responsibility for their kids who are gangbangers, drug dealers and who write graffiti.

If the community hasn't made a concerted effort to communicate with the officers and they simply complain, then they are part of the problem and not the solution. I've been to basic car meetings where LAPD comes out to the community but the community doesn't think it's important enough to come out to them. That needs to change.

I would like the new chief to reinstate the CRASH units. LAPD cannot punish good officers for the few bad cops that took part in Rampart and that's the reason CRASH was disband. We need them back. Our officers are not afraid of the gangbangers and CRASH is the answer to solving the violence occurring in our city. Hollenbeck has 30 homicides and 77th over 50 to date.

I want our new police chief to support anti-secession. If the valley secedes after a year LAPD will lose over 1,000 officers because the valley will hire the sheriff dept. We as LA City taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the valley until they get on their feet. That is not where I want my tax dollars spent. I support the police protective league's stand on anti-secession. They represent the over 8,000 sworn who are fathers, sons, uncles and brothers, mothers and daughters. We as the community need to start a dialogue with the union on issues that will effect our communities.

LAPD can't speak out against the consent decree but we as taxpayers and community members can. The consent decree cost us taxpayers over $100 million to implement and the two most important groups, taxpayers and police officers didn't have a say in it. The consent decree is a brick being held over the officer's head preventing them from doing their job. Each community member needs to get a copy of the consent decree and read it.

We need to write our Congress representatives, Senators, city council members and the Federal judge who simply rubber-stamped it.

Monica Harmon
Los Angeles