Sergeant Emada Tingirides and Officer Kathy Bell
In acknowledging the work of the women and men of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), it is necessary not only to showcase their work assignments, but also to hear from the individuals themselves. Black officers traditionally have had ‘longer roads’ to travel and ‘steeper hills’ to climb throughout the history of the department to reach the top; and for the women, the roads were longer and the hills were steeper. But they have stayed the course and have prevailed within the department that has now produced officers like Sergeant Emada Tingirides and Officer Kathy Bell.
Sergeant Tingirides has been a police officer with the LAPD for over sixteen years and has distinguished herself amongst her peers because of her unique ability to interact and work closely with the community. Raised in South Los Angeles, Sergeant Tingirides has dedicated herself to improving the quality of life in all of the areas she serves. Furthermore, she is always seeking opportunities to make a significant impact on the lives of youth. Her unique leadership style has always placed other needs before her own which has enabled her subordinates to embrace the important tenants of community based policing. Sergeant Tingirides has been characterized by her tenacity and belief that the impossible is truly possible.
In speaking with the sergeant, the Sentinel has been able to catch a glimpse of what she does for the community through the department. She started off by saying that her goal is to be the first female deputy chief of South Bureau, and without her saying so, her eyes are also on being the first female chief of the department. And in the meantime, to get there Tingirides said, “Right now I’m working on a project in conjunction with the Los Angeles Housing Authority and LAPD, and we are entering into a memorandum of understanding called Community Safety Partnership Project where we are going to put 10 officers and one supervisor in four of the worst housing developments in the city. We are doing something that’s never been done before.”
That said causes one to pause as she continued, “We are going to practice relationship-based policing, concentrated in areas that are the lowest socio-economic and the most crime-ridden developments around, and put these officers on foot on a daily basis and they will be responsible for doing the most unconventional policing ever seen. It’ll be a 5-year pilot program and they will be doing safe-passage for the children to go back and forth to school safely. And I’m going to ensure that each housing development will have a youth program such as basketball, lacrosse, baseball and so on.” These are some of the innovative programs that Tingirides, as the project co-ordinator is implementing, under the direction of Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon, “the driving force and the muscle,” as she puts it, and in conjunction with Attorney Connie Rice of the Advancement Project, who has done advance focus groups, surveys and research studies, prior to full implementation of the project.
Officer Kathy Bell is assigned to Community Relations Section, Office of the Chief of Police, and has been a police officer for over seventeen years. She has worked at her current assignment for over eight years and has dedicated herself to establishing key relationships within the community on behalf of the Chief of Police. Officer Bell was born in the City of Los Angeles and has made it her goal to improve the quality of life in all communities she serves. Her ability to reach out to the community and create lasting relationships has not gone unnoticed. Officer Bell’s unique understanding that it takes dedicated time and effort to build quality relationships has inspired many of her peers to emulate her model of relationship building. Moreover, Officer Bell in her spare time volunteers with various organizations such as the Catholic Big Brothers and Sisters.
Bell said, “I like this job because I’ve made a lot of community friends and relationships among the key players in the community. I’ve done that in South L.A. because that’s where I started and I continued in the Valley, doing outreach there with other key people like the NAACP and other community groups.” She summed up her thoughts about being assigned to the office of the chief in this way, “I think it’s a great opportunity; it’s the best job in the world.” In reference to her outside interests, Bell says, “I love my community and if there is any organizations out there to help the young people and give them insight … help for the future … as a role model, a mentor, then I’m all for it.” These are some of the things Officer Bell does as a part of her service to the community as a police officer.
In showcasing Sergeant Tingirides and Officer Bell, it is also important to reference those who have paved the way and laid the foundation for these two officers. The list is long and some of the exemplary men and women who have worn the LAPD uniform, and have also been helped by the commissioners, who are considered the community’s first defense. They include but are not limited to: Robert W. Stewart (the first Black L.A.P.D. officer) and Georgia Robinson (the first Black woman L.A.P.D. officer); Tom Bradley, Earl Broady Sr., Bernard Parks, Joseph Rouzan Jr., Oscar Joel Bryant, Jess Brewer, Homer Broome and many others. The LAPD today is a product of the labors of the above mentioned and is carried on under the leadership of the current chief, Charlie Beck, and his assistant, Earl Paysinger, and particularly Lt. Fred Booker, who is the community’s link to the LAPD.