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Police commissioners need to support LAPD

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card An example is the Devin Brown case. It began with a suspected drunk driver leading police on a chase and then backing his car into a cop, who opened fire in self-defense. Although none of the officers involved in the incident had any way of knowing this, the perpetrator was a 13-year-old boy, with marijuana in his system, driving a stolen car. The result is a predictable tragedy, but the villain, according to the L.A. Police Commission, is not the perpetrator, not the family members who let a 13-year-old roam the streets in the middle of the night, and not the schools or other adults who have failed him. It is the officer – the guy who has, for reasons that are becoming less and less compelling, volunteered for this sort of duty. If you are an LAPD officer, and you have made it to the end of your shift without an injury, you will return home to your family, grateful to be out of harm’s way. You might be feeling the aftereffect of the stress and the adrenaline of being in danger for eight or 10 or 12 hours. You might be edgy and irritable. If you were on foot patrol, you might be sore and achy. If you have had to chase a suspect on foot, you might have exacerbated the knee and back injuries that tend to plague cops. You might wonder how much longer you can go on, day in and day out, taking this kind of emotional and physical abuse. So why do you continue to do it? If your heart is set on being a cop, you could earn more money and take fewer risks working somewhere else. Los Angeles has the smallest police force, per capita, of any major American city. You could work in a city that honors and supports its officers. There are others who should be asking themselves this question as well. On Tuesday night, a couple of suspected gang members opened fire on two officers on patrol on the 110 Freeway. The shots pierced their windshield, but they were miraculously unhurt. This time. If you are under attack by someone who you think is trying to kill you, you will feel a rush of fear and adrenaline like nothing you have ever felt before. This will be the worst moment of your life. If you are lucky, and you are not killed, do not suffer a fatal heart attack, and do not have to spend months or years in rehab for injuries suffered in the attack, you will at the very least reflect on this moment as a life-changing experience. You will not want to go there again. However, if you are a Los Angeles police officer, you will have to go there again – because this is your job. Your job is to go into Los Angeles neighborhoods that are among the most violent in the country. Some of the people you meet will hate you on sight because they have been told you are their enemy and you are intent on harm. While it is not exactly open season on cops, retroactively canonizing perpetrators who are injured or killed while attacking LAPD officers gives permission for this sort of thinking. Two consecutive rulings against the suggestion of Police Chief William Bratton make it seem the Police Commission is intent on destroying officers’ morale. Why do they think young men and women should become LAPD officers, and what are they doing to encourage the department to recruit and retain the best officers around? Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa congratulated his handpicked Police Commission for a “job well done,” even though it destroyed an officer’s career and undermined the city’s own police chief. The mayor has to take a hard look at his priorities. The community leaders who applauded this week’s Police Commission ruling aren’t going to be applauding so loudly as a demoralized, underpaid and undervalued police force can no longer retain the officers it needs to keep the city of Los Angeles safe. Bob Baker is president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents more than 9,000 LAPD officers.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more