Captain’s Message – Summer 2020

Captain Aaron Ponce speaking to Academy Class 1-20R Level I

How the times have changed since my last writing. This change seemingly, if not literally, happened overnight, with the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world and our nation. With the unprecedented Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority dated March 19, Safer at Home orders caused Los Angeles and much of the nation to come to a standstill.

The pandemic has affected each of us differently, but it definitely has had an impact on all of us. From my interactions with many of you, I have seen how this has directly affected you, your families, your businesses, our workplaces and our children, especially those in school. It altered the trajectory of our college students who were away at school or on spring break. As schools shuttered, our graduating seniors were left wondering what might become of their future. Our high school seniors were looking forward to prom, graduation ceremonies, family gatherings and summer internships. And now, what of their college futures? For others, moving from college life to the starting of a career and exploring life after college was left in question. In addition, our community and Reserve Corps lost an opportunity to come together and celebrate the accomplishments at the annual Twice a Citizen gala. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department began to work on a partial mobilization plan to assist and support the safety of Los Angeles. As we mobilized, our reserve officers were called upon to assist in this endeavor. During the initial days, the Community Outreach and Development Division asked for assistance with running and coordinating the Office of Operations’ command post. By March 25, the Office of Operations’ command post was up and running on a 24-hour basis to support the partial mobilization. By week’s end, over 250 mobilized employees were being scheduled on A and B watches. As the City expanded its COVID-19 testing sites, shelters and transportation details, the mobilization of officers expanded to support the City’s efforts. Reserve officers were also called upon to support CODD’s efforts with the mayor’s Business Ambassador Program, as well as the Angeleno Card details. 

When our call went out, the Reserve Corps responded. I also know that many of the reserves were called upon by their divisions of assignment to assist during the initial days, and their work has continued throughout. You responded and assisted in the CP functions during the weekends, which was a huge help, as our office staffing had not yet been organized and mobilized into A and B watches. Many of you also assisted on projects the Department was working on, as some of the ways we do business were rapidly changing, in part, to keep our workforce healthy and safe and to meet the demands of our changing environment. All of your work and efforts were, and are, appreciated.

In our continued efforts to build the Reserve Corps, in January, 19 reserve officers began the Level I Academy. They embarked on a six-month training schedule slated to finish in late July. Although the training was adjusted and modified to keep all safe and healthy, our reserves were tested throughout in physical fitness, self-defense, additional firearm instruction, tactics and emergency driving. Their tenacity and dedication shone through as the training tested mental and physical endurance, and many overcame injuries during the six months. Let’s face it, some of us are not spring chickens any longer, and those aches and pains do not go away overnight! 

Our hats off to all our reserve officers. However, I want to especially show my gratitude, thanks and appreciation to the reserve officers who took the challenge of the Level I class. The time and dedication it took to embark on the training, and I would think some convincing at home, shows your desire to improve your skills, continue to give back to your community and grow the Corps. 

Looking forward, we will be starting a Level III reserve class in late June, followed by the Level II class. We continue to look for ways to better connect with you and communicate more efficiently. Should you want to work on such a project, please contact us at CODD. Thank you for your dedication and your efforts. Keep safe and healthy!