EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a speech made tonight by Capt. Edward Ramirez, who was recently put in charge of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, at the city’s annual Public Safety Award event. Ramirez discusses why he is happy to have the position and what he hopes to accomplish.
First and foremost, I want to tell you how incredibly honored I am to be speaking before you this evening.
Having recently served as your Service Area Lieutenant, I have had the pleasure of interacting with this commission, our residents, neighborhood watch groups, the businesses community, the Chamber of Commerce, this City Council and the city management team.
And I am ecstatic that I was chosen to remain and continue the important work my personnel and I have been doing. As I told the panelist during my interview, West Hollywood is where I wanted to be and it is where I wanted to stay.
This city has absolutely grown on me.I love its diversity, its energy, its vibe, is progressiveness the passion of its residents, and yes, even its quirkiness.
As one goes through the Sheriff Department’s promotional process, historically one did not always know where they would subsequently wind up.As a result of Sheriff Villanueva’s new Contract City’s Captain Selection process, I was afforded the ability to interview with the city and its panel. I am both thrilled and humbled to have been chosen to represent the city as your new captain and I am excited to begin to work on new and innovative ideas on keeping our city safe.
Community Policing Model
That said, I can tell you that I am a huge proponent of “the community policing model” and I’m adamant that we aggressively move in that direction.
My outlook on community policing started when I was a young deputy and always tried looking for answers on how to solve crime. I quickly realized that we would never be able to arrest our way out of the problem.
Community policing is not only about bike and foot patrols or engaging with children in our schools. It is a philosophy that is permeated from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top of engaging the citizens in our community and helping them solve problems. It is something we do day in and day out.
It’s a philosophy that says law-abiding citizens have input into the police process.
When I began my career 29 years ago, we as deputy sheriff’s came into your community and told you your problems.
The fact of the matter is, our citizens know their neighborhoods. We should be coming into your neighborhoods and asking our residents what their problems are. Then we work with the community hand in hand in solving those problems.
It is incumbent upon us as law enforcement officers and protectors of society to bring in the resources to solve those problems.
Piggybacking on the community based policing model, I would like to implement a program I refer to as “area integrity,” which means deputies are assigned to a certain neighborhood or reporting district.
Whenever possible, I want to send the community the same officers as often as possible so a community member does not have to start at square one and explain the problem to a different deputy over and over again. The community knows the deputy and the deputy knows their community.
We have to shift from a reactionary mode to a problem-solving mode. The mindset needs to be….if we can’t help you, we need to be able to facilitate connecting the person to the proper city department and provide the necessary follow-up rather than passing the citizen and their problem off.
We need to assist our residents with actually solving the problem so that it does not re-occur. I firmly believe in community policing and I believe it’s the only way you can properly police a community.
I’d like to briefly share with you some of the operations we have conducted in the past month:
— We have conducted four traffic enforcement operations which included distracted driving and driving while intoxicated. These operations resulted in 110 citations issued, five vehicles stored, and numerous arrests for DUI.
— We have served three narcotics search warrants that yielded six arrests and the recovery of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, mushrooms, GHB, LSD, oxycodone and ecstasy.
In one case we recovered 1 ½ pounds of fentanyl. To put the fentanyl seizure into perspective, 1 ½ pounds of fentanyl equals approximately 680,388 milligrams. With the lethal dose of two milligrams, the amount of fentanyl recovered was enough to overdose over 340,000 people.
When comparing and contrasting April 2018 to April 2019, there are several areas where our crime rate is down:
— Crimes against persons are down 12.9 %
–– Robberies are down 25.5 %
— Residential burglaries are down 29%
— Auto theft is down 6.6%
— And arson is down 50%
Although we are trending downwards in those areas, crime rates were up in the area of larceny … with grand theft up 19%, vehicle burglaries up 41%, and petty theft was up 9%.
We are continuing our efforts in reducing these numbers through saturation operations, plainclothes operations, redistribution of personnel to problem areas, joint operations and information sharing with law enforcement agencies that we share boundaries with.
In closing, our deputy personnel have done an incredible job towards keeping our community safe. In fact last month we had the highest number of arrests made in the City of West Hollywood since March of 2013 when we made 305 arrests. Last month West Hollywood Station deputies made 329 arrests.
I can comfortably say that station morale is higher than it has been in recent memory, as our deputies have been more active, assertive, and taking pride in their work and I could not be more proud of them.