(Editor’s note: LAPD Commanding Officer of the West L.A. Division Captain Jonathan Tom sent the following letter to the community.)
March 11, 2021
As many of you know, the trial for Minneapolis Police Department Officer Chauvin started this week. We do not know when the trial will conclude, but we do know that there are some in the community that are concerned about the potential for civil unrest.
While Freedom of Speech and its exercise at peaceful protests are a cornerstone of democracy; acts of violence and looting cannot and will not be tolerated. My purpose in communicating with you is to let you know that West Los Angeles Area (WLA) and the Department are diligently preparing for different reactions to the trial.
That being said, we fervently hope for a peaceful reaction to the outcome of the trial. We do not have any specific intelligence regarding potential unrest but have done the following to prepare: 1) We have pre-identified locations within West LA that are likely to be targets of looting, vandalism and protests. If it appears necessary, we will pre-deploy officers to those locations; 2) We are conducting Table Top exercises to assess our preparedness; 3) We are engaged in weekly planning meetings with WLA and Operations-West Bureau (OWB) personnel; 4) We are reaching out to our community stakeholders to communicate our plans and address any specific concerns they might have; 5) We are conducting inventories of our safety equipment and providing training to our personnel; 6) We are communicating with and working in conjunction with our law enforcement, security partners and political leaders.
I want to reassure you that our priorities remain the protection of life and property. While we have had a reduction in overall Department personnel, the Chief of Police has directed more resources to be allocated to patrol divisions.
As a result, you may have noticed more black and white patrol vehicles driving around your neighborhoods. In my time at West LA, we have never had so many officers in patrol as we do now. You should know that we are proactively working on reducing the fear and incidence of crime in your neighborhoods. We are here for you!
I have said this in the past, there is a way to support law enforcement while still holding us accountable. The two things are not mutually exclusive. We remain steadfast in our commitment to “Protect and Serve” and to do that with honor and integrity! Thank you as always for your support. Take care and stay safe.
Captain Jonathon Tom