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National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to be observed April 18-24

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 04/14/2010 @ 02:59 PM

All of us in law enforcement know too well the tremendous difficulties crime victims and their families face as they work to overcome senseless acts of violence. That is why we are particularly sensitive to the importance and significance of the annual observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Every April since 1981, crime victims, survivors, and those who serve them join together to commemorate and honor the individuals and the ideals that inspired the victims' rights movement.

This year’s annual observance will be April 18-24, with the theme "Crime Victims' Rights: Fairness, Dignity, Respect" – reflecting the decades-long struggle to secure victims' rights in communities across the nation.

2009 NCVRW Candlelight Observance attendees observe a moment of silence.

2009 NCVRW Candlelight Observance attendees observe a moment of silence.

Chief among them are the right to access services that can help them rebuild their lives and the right to be notified if an offender is released from jail or prison.

As a nation, we have come a long way in recognizing and respecting the enormous physical, emotional and financial suffering endured by victims of crime. Attorney General Eric Holder put this in perspective in comments leading up to this year’s observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week: “In the not so distant past, victims were being routinely excluded from courtrooms and blamed for their victimization, realities that unfortunately still exist for far-too-many victims. Victims and advocates demanded fairness, dignity, and respect, and the time has come to acknowledge the progress made toward realizing these ideals. While there has been tremendous progress, challenges do remain.”

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a time to for our nation and our community to recommit to full rights and services for all victims and survivors of crime. By observing this important week, we all have an opportunity to join the fight for fairness, dignity and respect for all crime victims, survivors, and those who serve them.

More information on National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available on the Web at ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw/.

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Will the LAPD become a hollow police force?

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 04/08/2010 @ 05:04 PM

In the 1970s, the term “hollow military” was used to describe the state of the U.S. Armed Forces. It remained formidable on paper, but in actuality was underfunded and overstretched.

“Hollow police force” may soon describe the Los Angeles Police Department. Drastic reductions in the civilian workforce, which performs vital administrative functions, has forced sworn officers from patrolling L.A. streets into offices where many are performing civilian personnel functions. In addition, officers are forced to stay home rather than fill vacancies in patrols because of strict limits on overtime.

As the LAPPL spelled out in a news release today, it is a myth that the LAPD has been exempt from the city’s budget cuts. The impact of officers being taken off the streets because of overtime concerns, and filling in for furloughed civilians or vacant civilian jobs, are very real. City officials need to carefully consider the impact of budget cuts and realize the consequences to public safety of any actions that increase police response time and decrease patrols in our city. These widespread cuts, in combination with forced time off, are resulting in significantly reduced police deployments throughout the city that threaten to create a public safety crisis this summer.

The fact is that civilian personnel perform duties that are crucial to effective law enforcement, such as taking 9-1-1 calls, warrant processing, data entry for suspect booking, grant writing and crime statistics analysis. If civilians aren't available to fulfill these critical roles, the responsibilities are shifted to sworn officers.

The numbers are real and troubling. At the end of the last fiscal year (June 2009), 3,958 civilian positions were authorized for LAPD. As of today, there are less than 3,000 LAPD civilian employees. That level is expected to drop to below 2,900 by July 1, 2010. In all, over 1,000 civilian jobs will be eliminated, and their roles will have to be filled by sworn officers.

As we pointed out in our release today, for every 100 officers who are pulled from field work to backfill vacant civilian positions, it is the equivalent of removing about 30 police cars citywide – and that has a dramatic impact on our ability to respond to calls for service and keep crime down. We are getting reports on a daily basis from our officers that they are spending increasing amounts of time in the station performing administrative tasks, rather than fighting crime on the streets. This threatens to reverse the LAPD's historic crime reductions in recent years.

The city cannot tolerate any further reductions in the civilian LAPD workforce. Many of the positions already cut need to be reinstated on a priority basis.

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Officer Joshua Sewell: The right stuff in the right place at the right time

By on 03/31/2010 @ 06:26 PM

LAPD Motor Officer Joshua Sewell cut his vacation short to volunteer at the recent Los Angeles Marathon. It’s a good thing he did. Just ask 21-year-old Jay Yim, who is listed in good condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and expected to make a full recovery. At mile 18, Yim suffered a heart attack and Officer Sewell was one of the first people to come to his aid.

LA Times reporter Jeannine Stein recounts what happened [link: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/03/a-happy-ending-to-a-marathon-nightmare.html]:

When he [Officer Sewell] tried to revive Yim he got no response and found no pulse. Sewell yelled for someone to call an ambulance and recruited an LAPD bicycle officer to help administer CPR. "I did CPR in the [police] academy 15 years ago but not since then," he said. The lapse didn't seem to matter -- the routine kicked in and chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation were done with precise timing.

Also on the scene was Dr. Charles Chandler, chief of surgery at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, who was watching the marathon from near his home and saw Sewell running by. "When I got there Jay was in the middle of the street -- completely still, and his pupils were dilated and he wasn't moving any air." Chandler helped out with CPR, eventually getting a pulse, and called UCLA's emergency room to tell the staff the ambulance was on its way.

After undergoing tests, it was discovered that Yim had suffered some seizures as well, possibly caused by the cardiac arrest, said Dr. Paul Vespa, director of Neurocritical Care at UCLA, who treated Yim. An MRI showed some brain swelling, and fearing brain injuries hypothermia was induced. In that process, the body is cooled to 32 degrees Celsius (the procedure is also used for some cardiac arrest cases) and is in a coma. The process, still somewhat controversial, basically brings on hibernation, Vespa said, causing a metabolism shutdown. "When you have a brain injury," he said, "a whole number of bad pathways get activated, and that can lead to cell death and damage. Hypothermia blocks those pathways." He added that hypothermia can also put the body at higher risk for infection, since the immune system is suppressed.

Yim's body was warmed after about 48 to 72 hours and he is now awake and talking. He's undergoing physical therapy, and while Vespa said it's too soon to tell if Yim will ever do another marathon, his overall prognosis is excellent. What caused his cardiac arrest still isn't known, and although it's unusual for someone his age and good health to suffer a heart attack, dehydration or inadequate nutrition during a marathon or other physical activity can trigger such catastrophic events.

But Yim, a USC pre-med student originally from Phoenix, has some incentive to run again. Sewell, who ran the marathon in 2006, said he promised he'll finish the last 8.2 miles with Yim when he's able. "I told him that, and he got a big old smile on his face," Sewell said, adding that he’s been spending a lot of time with Yim and his family. "I got a little emotionally attached to this one."

We commend Officer Sewell for his quick actions and dedication that saved Yim's life. He is an exemplary representative of the more than 9,900 men and women of the LAPD. Thanks to the LA Times' Jeannine Stein for sharing a great story with a happy ending.

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Memories of a hero

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/31/2010 @ 06:18 PM

Cottle

R.J. Cottle and "Tank", Christmas Day

The tragic news that our LAPD brother, SWAT Officer R.J. Cottle, was killed in action in Afghanistan last week while serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve sent shockwaves through the Department. In a testament to the huge impact R.J. made in the far-too-brief time that he was with us, we immediately started receiving phone calls, e-mails, photos and offers of support for R.J.'s family. The immense love and respect felt for R.J. by his fellow officers, Marines and those he served and protected is a direct result of the pride he took in his country, family, and service in the LAPD and Marine Corps. He touched many lives and we are forever grateful for his sacrifice.

We invite you to share your personal experiences and memories of R.J., so that we can properly honor this great man and hero, both here on our website and in the upcoming issue of the Thin Blue Line. Leave a comment here on the blog, or if you have a longer story and/or photos to share, please send them to info@lappl.org, providing information such as the date, location and additional persons in the photo.

We will never forget R.J. Thank you.

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Officer Joshua Sewell: The right stuff in the right place at the right time

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/31/2010 @ 01:22 PM

LAPD Motor Officer Joshua Sewell cut his vacation short to volunteer at the recent Los Angeles Marathon. It’s a good thing he did. Just ask 21-year-old Jay Yim, who is listed in good condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and expected to make a full recovery. At mile 18, Yim suffered a heart attack and Officer Sewell was one of the first people to come to his aid.

LA Times reporter Jeannine Stein recounts what happened:

…When he [Officer Sewell] tried to revive Yim he got no response and found no pulse. Sewell yelled for someone to call an ambulance and recruited an LAPD bicycle officer to help administer CPR. "I did CPR in the [police] academy 15 years ago but not since then," he said. The lapse didn't seem to matter -- the routine kicked in and chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation were done with precise timing.
Also on the scene was Dr. Charles Chandler, chief of surgery at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, who was watching the marathon from near his home and saw Sewell running by. "When I got there Jay was in the middle of the street -- completely still, and his pupils were dilated and he wasn't moving any air." Chandler helped out with CPR, eventually getting a pulse, and called UCLA's emergency room to tell the staff the ambulance was on its way.
After undergoing tests, it was discovered that Yim had suffered some seizures as well, possibly caused by the cardiac arrest, said Dr. Paul Vespa, director of Neurocritical Care at UCLA, who treated Yim. An MRI showed some brain swelling, and fearing brain injuries hypothermia was induced. In that process, the body is cooled to 32 degrees Celsius (the procedure is also used for some cardiac arrest cases) and is in a coma. The process, still somewhat controversial, basically brings on hibernation, Vespa said, causing a metabolism shutdown. "When you have a brain injury," he said, "a whole number of bad pathways get activated, and that can lead to cell death and damage. Hypothermia blocks those pathways." He added that hypothermia can also put the body at higher risk for infection, since the immune system is suppressed.
Yim's body was warmed after about 48 to 72 hours, and he is now awake and talking. He's undergoing physical therapy, and while Vespa said it's too soon to tell if Yim will ever do another marathon, his overall prognosis is excellent. What caused his cardiac arrest still isn't known, and although it's unusual for someone his age and good health to suffer a heart attack, dehydration or inadequate nutrition during a marathon or other physical activity can trigger such catastrophic events.
But Yim, a USC pre-med student originally from Phoenix, has some incentive to run again. Sewell, who ran the marathon in 2006, said he promised he'll finish the last 8.2 miles with Yim when he's able. "I told him that, and he got a big old smile on his face," Sewell said, adding that he’s been spending a lot of time with Yim and his family. "I got a little emotionally attached to this one."
We commend Officer Sewell for his quick actions and dedication that saved Yim's life. He is an exemplary representative of the more than 9,900 men and women of the LAPD. Thanks to the LA Times' Jeannine Stein for sharing a great story with a happy ending.

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A victory for law enforcement: Ninth Circuit rules felons cannot possess guns while asleep

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/24/2010 @ 04:13 PM

While we have never been shy about speaking out against decisions of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that we don’t agree with, we are also quick to cheer the Court’s decisions that are favorable to law enforcement. This is the case today as we hail the decision of an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit. (What is an en banc panel? “En banc” is a French term used to refer to the hearing of a legal matter where all judges of a court hear the case, often used for unusually complex cases or those considered unusually significant.)

In 2003, three LAPD gang officers were driving past an apartment building known for criminal activity. The officers encountered three men and two women standing on the sidewalk. One officer asked the group what they were doing and one of the men answered "[N]othing." When the group was asked if anyone present lived in the building, one man responded, “It’s okay, we're out of here right now,” quickly turning and running down the center path of the apartment complex. Two officers followed him up the walkway and observed him turn left to grasp an apartment door handle. Seeing the officers in his wake, the man quickly let go of the door, crossed the walkway to another apartment and entered, closing and locking the door.

When the officers were able to get into the apartment, they found Earl Anthony Nevils, apparently asleep, a machine gun lying on his lap and a handgun leaning against his right leg, in clear view of the officers at the door. Later in court, Nevils defense was that he couldn't be held accountable for the weapons because he was unconscious after a day of drinking. In 2008, a divided three-judge panel accepted Nevils’ contention that the government failed to show he knowingly possessed the guns.

Nevils’ luck ran out with the Ninth Court ruling, when the en banc panel upheld his conviction. Reasoning that evidence against Nevils had to be construed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, despite Nevils’ “innocent explanation,” the 11-judge panel unanimously ruled that a rational juror could have concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Nevils knowingly possessed the weapons. Friday’s opinion by Judge Sandra S. Ikuta overturned the outrageous 2008 decision.

We applaud the opinion by Judge Ikuta and the other members of the Court who got it right: Chief Judge Alex Kozinski and Judges Pamela Ann Rymer, Sidney R. Thomas, Barry G. Silverman, Raymond C. Fisher, Ronald M. Gould, Richard C. Tallman, Johnnie B. Rawlinson, Richard R. Clifton and Milan D. Smith Jr. Thank you, judges!

To read the entire decision, click here.

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Beware of Governor Deval Patrick's L.A. fundraisers

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/21/2010 @ 10:56 PM

Normally, we wouldn’t take note of an East Coast governor flying across the country to raise money in California, but we think it’s important to call attention to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is visiting Los Angeles for fundraising events tonight and Monday. According to published reports in his home state, Patrick is having trouble funding his run for re-election in the fall. He has been trailing GOP opponent Charles Baker and even the state treasurer, who is running as an independent, has stockpiled more money than Patrick.

Why is the incumbent governor hurting for contributions at home? One big reason is his continued attacks on police benefits and collective bargaining rights. According to officials with the Massachusetts Coalition of Police Officers, Patrick has been chipping away at their right to negotiate health insurance, pensions and work details.

The right to collectively bargain is the backbone of organized labor, and benefits for hard-working public service employees have been under attack since Patrick took office.

We fully support our Massachusetts colleagues, who demand that the governor preserve their established collective bargaining rights.

We trust Gov. Patrick will enjoy the beautiful California sunshine but hope he falls short in his fundraising efforts 3,000 miles from home.

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Case in point – what not to cut

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 03/18/2010 @ 04:11 PM

Vallejo is a city of 116,760 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. About two years ago, the city opted to declare bankruptcy, becoming the first California city of over 100,000 pushed into insolvency. Now with so many other cities in California, including Los Angeles, facing severe budget pressures, Vallejo provides a case study in what services a city should cut and, more importantly, what not to cut.

Vallejo PD

(Photo: Angelo P./Vallejo Independent Bulletin)

KALW, the highly respected NPR affiliate in the Bay Area, has taken an in-depth look at the correlation between cuts to the Vallejo police force and a wave of violent crimes now gripping the community. As we have been preaching for much of the past year, a city’s economic recovery is dependent on a safe city. Vallejo proves our point.

Read or listen to Reporter Adelaide Chen’s story for yourself. It is recommended for every resident of Los Angeles – especially those elected officials wrestling with L.A.’s budget crisis. Let's learn from the experience – and frankly, the mistakes – of Vallejo. Keep public safety first in Los Angeles!

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