(Editor’s note: Part I of the interview with Captain Craig Heredia, who is the new Commanding Officer of the West L.A Division, ran on November 22. This is part two.)
This past February, Captain Craig Heredia was promoted to Captain by the Chief of Police and was assigned as Commanding Officer to West L.A. Patrol Division.
“It’s a different kind of busy,” Heredia said about West L.A. “You don’t have the same amount of violent crime, but there is still a lot of crime that needs to be focused on to help the community.”
Heredia said there are fewer officers assigned to West L.A. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as opposed to other divisions. “We need to be strategic how we deploy our resources,” he said. “Everything needs to be done in a purposeful manner.”
While working as a detective commanding officer, he learned that too many shoplifting/theft related crimes were taking place. “In an effort to suppress thefts and to prevent employees from becoming injured, I created a retail theft working group.”
Heredia put together a group of business owners, managers, cashiers and security officers (Rite-Aid, CVS, Ralphs and Home Depot) because “the financial loss of stolen merchandise is absolutely incredible – millions of dollars.”
The group meets with LAPD about every month and discusses trends and patterns. “We worked proactively to identify and arrest shoplifting and burglary suspects,” Heredia said, noting that the working group is now being duplicated in commands throughout the city, but “West L.A. has a property crime problem with lots of thefts and shoplifting.”
Heredia was asked about recruitment for the department. “It’s a significant challenge,” he said, noting that he had just attended a graduation of 33 recruits, but “We lost 40 officers to retirement.”
He explained that in 2020, there were 10,000 police officers in Los Angeles, now there are 9,200.
How do you encouragement recruit, he was asked?
“Having officers have positive encounters,” he said. “We can only improve the image of the department one contact at a time.”
He also praised the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and plans to continue partnering with them. “There are so many volunteers that come out and care for the community and make it better for everybody.”
He has vowed to keep the Beach Detail in Pacific Palisades as long as deployment numbers allow. “Its something we’d like to honor, seven days a week,” Heredia said. “It has value.”
Without it, there’s the possibility of “the homeless starting a warming fire. And that could be a recipe for a large fire,” he said.
Heredia was the first in his immediate family to enter the police force, but after he was in, his father, who had worked as an accountant, shared that he had always dreamed of being a police officer.
His father had chosen what he felt was a stable job, to raise Heredia and his two siblings.
But then his dad, Edward Heredia followed his son and decided to pursue his dream and entered LAPD.
After the academy, Edward was assigned patrol in the Harbor Division. He later switched to traffic and spent much of his career working West Traffic division, which included West Los Angeles, and Pacific Palisades.
Father and son finally had the opportunity to work a shift together at Olympic at West Traffic Division but were never assigned to the same station. Heredia’s father retired as a Police Officer III+1 from West Traffic in 2014.
“I have more time on the job and I out rank him,” Heredia said, “But he’s still the senior man, he’s my dad.