Since my last writing, we continue to see changes throughout the nation as social and political movements take hold. Looking back on 2020, there have been many bright moments for us to reflect upon. The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champions, and our beloved Dodgers won an exciting World Series, their first since 1988.
As I watched the final part of the game, I was struck by how excited my oldest daughter was to be witnessing our home team win. I realized that she had only heard about and seen the replays of Kirk Gibson’s famous home run in game one of that series. She has only watched interviews with Tommy Lasorda and viewed clips of Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Don Sutton and sportscasters reminiscing of a championship won long before she was born. Los Angeles baseball fans love their Dodgers and knew a championship would come back to L.A. This has been her hometown team since being born, and now seeing them win it all brought us great joy and jubilation!
Our team, our Community Outreach and Development Division team, has also been playing like champions, specifically our Reserve Unit. When I last wrote, we had just completed the Level I class and then moved directly to a new Level III class. Now, a Level II class is closing in on the finish line. The dedication, devotion and work of the reserve officers who take up this calling and our staff who coordinate the overall effort are remarkable. I applaud each of you and thank you for your participation and dedication to the program that supports Department operations and provides a valuable service to our vast communities.
The entire reserve program is a collaboration between several key partners. Our City’s Personnel Department, which processes and completes portions of the hiring process. Our Recruitment and Employment Division, which completes the initial screenings, background investigations and, ultimately, their commanding officer, who appoints the applicant to a Reserve Academy. As you all know, Training Division instructors provide most of the hands-on training. Then, our various Department entities utilize your skills and are the beneficiary of your dedication. I am also very appreciative of a new partnership with Behavioral Science Services, which will be now offering their expertise and wide range of services to each of you. I would be remiss not to mention the ongoing effort and support from the Reserve Foundation. They pulled off a seamless online Twice a Citizen gala!
As we look forward, more than 20 reserve officers have shown an interest in a Level I class. We are in the planning stages for a launch date in January 2021. In reflection, our team has held a continuous Reserve Academy since the end of 2019 and at least two Academies since 2016. That is impressive. We continue to work to ensure you are assigned equipment and updated on events within the Department.
As I write, we are less than a week away from the 2020 presidential election. Each Bureau has planned for potential issues. We have seen your engagement throughout the pandemic. Due to the ongoing rhetoric, conflict and potential protests, your willingness to engage in extra shifts and work assignments is much appreciated. The Reserve Corps’ contribution and value will be magnified as the City budget is strained, and funding is reallocated or no longer available. Your willingness to help us keep our communities safe is needed more than ever.
As we head into the holidays, from our team to each of you and your family, we wish you health, peace and joy. May 2021 bring a sense of renewal and a fresh start.
All the best, Aaron.