West Los Angeles LAPD Captain Jonathon Tom told Circling the News that Officer Brian Espin will assume the Senior Lead Officer position in Pacific Palisades on August 1. He will replace long-time SLO Michael Moore, who retired in January. Twelve officers interviewed for two SLO positions on the Westside.
Espin grew up in the San Fernando Valley until he was 12, then moved to Venice. He graduated from Venice High School in 1997, where he was captain of the swim team. He also dabbled in water polo, just for fun.
His love of the ocean started when he joined the L.A. County Junior Lifeguard program, starting in middle school and continuing through high school. Although he took classes at Santa Monica College, “once I turned 18 I tried out to be a lifeguard,” he told CTN in an email. “It took me five attempts to make it on the beach. I was always within five spots (positions) of making it. I kept pushing and training until I made it.”
One of the beaches he patrolled was Will Rogers in Pacific Palisades.
He said that “while Lifeguarding on the beach I took up a second job with the Santa Monica Harbor Patrol.” He learned a lot while working closely with the Santa Monica police officers and noted, “This is where my passion for law enforcement took off.”
Palisadian Steve Heineman, who was the Sergeant in charge of the SMPD Harbor Detail, hired Espin. “He’s a great guy!” Heineman said.
Espin worked both jobs, and then applied for a full-time position at both the LAPD and the Santa Monica Police Department. “I tested for multiple departments and decided that whoever calls first, that’s where I will go.” LAPD hired him in 2005.
He spent his probation year in the West Valley, but as soon as he could he transferred back to his home turf on the Westside. “I know it like the back of my hand,” Espin said, noting that he has worked patrol, bicycle unit, Vice unit (undercover) and the special problems unit (SPU) in West LA.
Currently, he is assigned to the community relations office as a youth service officer, working with kids, ages 8 to 18, who are in the Junior Cadet and Cadet programs.
Espin said that his interest in a SLO position started when he worked with SPU. His unit was assigned to handle some of the long-term crime problems in West L.A, and this gave him “a taste of working with community members to try and solve some of the issues in the neighborhood.”
He enjoyed the challenge of working together with neighborhoods and residents to address crimes and quality-of-life issues. “Once a Senior Lead position became available, I tried out for it,” he said. “This was just like the lifeguard position; I kept pushing and interviewed for a number of Senior Lead positions.”
While assigned to the community relations office, Espin has filled in for other SLO’s who have either been out on injury or on vacation.
“I have covered as an acting Senior Lead Officer for every basic car (seven of them) in the West LA area for the last five years,” Espin said. “I am ecstatic that I will be in the Palisades. I consider the Palisades my second home.”
His wife serves as a lifeguard and his son participates in the Junior Lifeguard program.
“I am vested in this community,” Espin said. In addition to the beaches he loves to camp in the mountains. “We have such an amazing area with the mountains and the beach so close to each other.”
When asked how Palisades residents can help prevent crimes, he said that he is only one guy, but “I am very big on community and taking care of each other. One of my sayings is to ‘Be neighborly.’ You don’t have to like your neighbor, but you should look out for your neighbor.
“If you and the neighbors can communicate about issues on your street, we can come together with a plan to attack these issues and deter crime in the area,” Espin said. “The more eyes we have out on the street and residents being visible in our community the more we can see something and say something.”
He thanked the Palisades for its support and “I look forward to working with everyone in the future.”