Commissioner John Mack
Charisse Bremond-Weaver President, Brotherhood Crusade
Andre Birotte Inspector General
Chief William Bratton LAPD
The Community Relations Section of the Los Angeles Police Department has been established to provide the department with timely information regarding police/community relations and concerns
Last Thursday evening, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) held one of its community forums at the Crenshaw Christian Center’s Faithdome to continue its efforts to foster better relations with the African American community. The tone of the evening’s presentation was set by the welcoming remarks of Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, commanding officer of Operations South Bureau, who replaced the late Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner, the man who grew up in the community and was considered as one of the “homies.”
Attending the forum were John Mack, vice president of the L.A. Police Commission; Charisse Bremond-Weaver, President and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade; Andre Birotte, Jr., Inspector General of the LAPD; Chief William Bratton of the LAPD; Robert Saltzman, police commissioner; Lieutenant Fred Booker, community relations officer; and Dr. Luann Pannell, director of the sensitivity training at the LAPD academy.
The feeling there was a mixture of cordiality, and the sense of mutual respect for the community. When Captain Kevin McClure addressed the audience about the longevity of his investigation of a serial killer, it spoke volumes about the LAPD “new” mission to serve and protect the people. As the commanding officer of the robbery/homicide division, he seemed genuinely frustrated because there has been no concrete breakthrough of the decades-old homicide despite the use of modern technology. He even brought a $500,000 reward poster for information about the murder which also contained pictures of 11 victims and an attempted one. The first noticeable common thread was that they were all Black.
Commissioner Mack told the audience to note the difference in the LAPD now in comparison to years gone by, and as a veteran of many battles with the LAPD, as president of the L.A. League, Mack knew from personal experience that things have really changed especially since he is now a police commissioner.
As chief of the LAPD, Bratton touched on the consent decree and some of the reasons it should be lifted. He spoke with sincere understanding of the past history that the African American community had experienced at the hands of the LAPD and he vowed to continue to work on improving relations with all communities particularly the African American community. Hence, the evening of “community dialogue.”
Bremond-Weaver laid out an ambitious program that the Brotherhood Crusade is presently conducting aimed at young people in the community. She posed the question, “How do we make a difference with young people?” After citing the boundaries of the targeted area, Bremond-Weaver responded to the rhetorical question by going “back to basics.” After four decades in the community, this program represented vintage Brotherhood Crusade. “That’s what the ‘Brotherhood’ is all about,” she said, “helping people to help themselves.”
Explaining how the recruits in the police academy are carefully trained to interact with members of the community, Dr. Pannell described some details of how she helps the recruits with new and innovative sensitivity training to make them ready for the real world.
Finally, Deputy Chief Albanese answered questions from audience while imparting important information about getting involved and forming partnerships with local the local police department.