I am often asked why and how I first began supporting the Los Angeles Police Department. It was simple back then but it was rather self-serving too.
I bought my first house in 1990 in the San Fernando Valley. I had a seven year old daughter and settled in to what I had hoped would be a lovely neighborhood filled with families who cared as deeply as I did about the general well-being and safety of my new micro-community. I grew up playing outdoors, sometimes away from my family’s home for hours on end, bicycle in tow and PALS nearby. I quickly learned not only had times changed, people had changed. No more sense of community!
What did I do? I asked about an active Neighborhood Watch Program and found there was none. I had a vague familiarity but, no personal experience. I felt an urgent need to understand my neighborhood from all perspectives including crime, public safety and quality of life related issues. What began as a self-appointed Neighborhood Watch Block Captain’s position, morphed over the next ten years to a PCR role (Police Community Representative) recruiting and training-up seven Block Captains in my neighborhood and finally, and invitation from an LAPD Senior Lead Officer’s invitation to join the Community Police Advisory Board (C-PAB). This is when I became to really understand the good work of the Los Angeles Police Department. I no longer wondered why they couldn’t “fix” everything and/or be everywhere, all the time – enough to suit my needs anyway or anyone other individual’s for that matter – I saw where the disconnect was. The needs FAR exceeded the means – in every sense including personnel and financial resources and so began my further engagement.
After challenging and successful leadership roles on the C-PAB and the booster for the Van Nuys Division, I came to the North Hollywood Division of the LAPD in 2013. What a wonderful group of Officers I have come to know and respect. Critical to any volunteer’s level of impact and success is the support of the Commanding Officers. North Hollywood Division is led by Captain Stephen Carmona and Captain Synthia Lee and their support to the Community is exceptional. They lead by example and the partnership within the Division with outlying business leaders, clergy council and individual stakeholders is extraordinary. This is imperative as the relationship between the LAPD and the community has become even more important in the past decade or so. Hats off to the LAPD for recognizing the heightened importance of communication and transparency from Chief Beck all the way to you and me in the Community.
Everyone can help. You can do good for others, while doing good for yourself too. Here’s how you, your family and your neighbors can participate in keeping our Community safe.
Help raise money to pay for the many seemingly vital things that the Department doesn’t allocate for in their budget? YES – sign me up – it’s really satisfying work! Fund special events for the kids in our Cadet and Jeopardy Programs – absolutely! Put together Community Meetings so we can ALL pay our respects to the Officers have who gone above and beyond – you betcha! It’s ALL good….. for them, for me and for you!
I don’t consider my volunteer work on behalf of the Department a “job” – I consider it a responsibility. We must all take part in the betterment of the Community; no one entity, organization or individual can do it all –rather, we all have to do it together! You’ll discover, like me, that serving others can be a service to oneself.