LAPD Diversity & Equality Dept.: Promoting Racism Our Priority/NOT Fighting Crime

You can check the priorities of the Los Angeles Police Department by rewarding this statement by the head of a new LAPD department:  Diversity and Equality.

Read it carefully.  It mention Justice Ruth Ginsburg, it quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  One item is conspicuously missing.

Nowhere in her statement does she mention crime, protection of the community, stopping crime, arresting criminals. This is a statement about the new Los Angeles Police Department, one involved in sensitivity, discrimination in hiring and promotions.  Race, gender and national origin are more important to the new Police Department than the safety of the people of L.A. and its visitors.

This is a warning to the people of L.A.  The police officer wearing a badge is there because of racism as a policy.  Feel safe?

Priority?  This department ended it sexual humanity trafficking and gang task forces.  In their place a department to promotion racism and discrimination in hiring and promotions.  Who said the KKK is dead?

Toward Change: The Breakaway Plan of a Los Angeles Police Commander

By Commander Ruby Flores, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for the LAPD

The Shift,  11/22/20 
 

It is such an honor to be with you today, even if we cannot yet gather together. I keep wondering how many people are like me, thankful for technology, but longing to be able to gather in person once again.

As you have heard in that gracious introduction, I am Ruby Flores, a Police Commander of the Los Angeles Police Department. I’ve had a long career in law enforcement, having worked for the LAPD since 1994. I am currently the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for our department, and I’ve focused on training officers and cultivating community relationships in several capacities over the years.

I would be extremely remiss to dare speak about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, without mentioning the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her example and her wisdom will serve us well, if we will take the time to listen.

She was sometimes called diminutive in her physical stature, but she was giant when it came to making a difference. She earned her reputation painstakingly through prudence, patience, persistence, and civility.

She had a unique ability to remain friends with her peers on the court, even when they were diametrically opposed in the way they interpreted the law. In the days to come, you will no doubt hear about many of her quotes. But I want to give you two of my favorites. Once when asked by a group of young admirers for advice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (or as I affectionately call her: The Notorious RBG) said, “My advice is fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.” It was Ruth Bader Ginsburg who added but only “if there is a steadfast commitment to see the task through to completion.”

Now I know that you all realize that we are navigating uncharted waters. Whether it’s the topics of Police Reform, Racial Healing, the challenges to our personal wellbeing or the health of our democracy, much is at stake. But, with a steadfast commitment to see this task through to completion, we can do it.

I believe that we are in the midst of a once in a century societal change. It is uncharted because we have converging on this point in time, technology and a global pandemic are revealing a deep divide in an increasingly fragile society

Now, today I’d like to discuss with you very briefly where we have been in policing, where we are going, and the challenges we are likely to face. 

The phrase “The Long Gray Line” is used to describe, as a continuum, of all the graduates and cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Today, think of the continuum in terms of the long blue line. We took the helm from a previous generation and someday soon we will pass the baton. Like the Plebes at West Point, we are part of a continuum. There are those who came before us and those who will come after us. We hold the line briefly and we must ready the next generation. 

We all should care deeply about the position we hold on the line. Whether it is at West Point, the Police Department, or in societal change in general. We hold the position on the line for a brief time. We must inspire others to follow. Push when necessary, pull when necessary. To get the next generation ready to lead.

Today I am going to discuss my new role as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the LAPD. 

My children have never known a time when I was not a peace officer. I have to remind them sometimes, that I did grow up, I did go to school, and, yes, I did have a life before children.

It can be useful to consider history when assessing how we arrived at this current place in time.

From the lawless old west of a police department, to early vigilante policing, to the corrupt Political Era of the 1920s and 1930s.

Corruption catapulted us from the political model to what has sometimes been called the Professional or Reform Era. At that time, we added minimum standards for training and a code of conduct, and we made huge improvements.

Then from the “Just the Facts” of the professional model to Community Policing, and just when we thought we might be moving to a Data Driven model, we find ourselves in a time of unprecedented societal change.

We have been asked to change before, even in more recent memory. We have even been through a Federal consent decree; Blue ribbon committees and consultants working with the LAPD.

There have been charter changes, new laws, minor tweaks and major reforms.

Massive leaps in technology, from cars and Gamewell boxes to radios, computers, phones, and now body-worn video cameras.

There have been major building programs, we worked through the global war on terrorism, merging of agencies, and booms and busts in the economy. And we’ve been asked to do more with less. 

But once in a generation, there is a convergence of forces and the movement for change gathers significant and even promising momentum.

Before I was on the police department and when I was just considering my career there was some major change in the police department, I think back to March 1991, police reform was NOT a top initiative for the police department. LAPD was still basking in the glory of the successful 1984 Olympic Games. There was a mostly popular Chief and the community was largely supportive of the LAPD. In the first few days of March there was suddenly momentum for change.

The catalyst for this momentum was technology, and specifically the consumer video camera. Then, like now, the camera gave the world a few seconds of reality television (before that was a term) and it shocked the consciousness of society.

George Holliday had purchased a Sony Video – 8 Handycam. He didn’t need it. He wanted it. It was a luxury. The time for change was dependent on adequate technology and the ability for a 31-year-old plumber to afford it. When George Holliday heard the sirens and the police helicopter over his apartment in Lake View Terrace, in LA, he did not know that many worlds were about to change. 

Holliday sold the tape of the Rodney King Beating for $500 to his favorite station, KTLA Channel 5. Eventually every station was airing the video. The newly formed 24-hour news networks played it over and over, making it the first video to go viral in the new era of citizen journalism. There was a hint at societal change, but the reform movement, in this case, was for that of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The murder of George Floyd shocked the consciousness of society. It was bad all by itself. But combined with a global pandemic that was rapidly revealing other social inequities and combined with the ubiquitous use of cameras (virtually everyone has a high definition movie camera in hand) and with Information and Mis-Information Overload we find ourselves in a strong current for societal change. 

We are unlikely to slow the momentum for change – nor do I think we should try. This level of momentum cannot be waited out. We, the law enforcement community, are in a change resistant career field and in L.A., we are a change resistant organization in that career field. Courage and bravery cultures are like that, we have a maximum effort to survive and go home every night. This reality is not the first thing that someone will think about, but police officers have to think about this as a way of life.

We are at a complex crossroad. We have decisions to make and there is no crystal ball to help. The future is unclear.

Leaders are being asked to think. To think deeply, to think broadly.

In an unclear Societal Change situation, we must blaze a trail together. We must seek input from both our traditional friends and our adversaries, our cheerleaders and our detractors.

We must understand that we can have change imposed on us, or we can choose to participate. 

In slightly more specific terms, we need to look at not only the data, but the “story” behind the data. This is more than an exercise in Quantitative and Qualitative analysis. This is an exercise in Cultural Competence. In a world where the U.S. is 5 percent of the world population but has 20 percent of the world’s prisoners and those prisoners are disproportionately people of color. Black and brown. We could justify that and say that we are a nation of laws, a nation of law and order or we could think deeply and broadly. We must consider the fact that every one of those prisoners who will be eventually released, will have difficultly acquiring meaningful employment because of the systems we have set up. 

We must cultivate a way to consistently consider the way OTHERS experience the world. 

We must be more astute and become quicker at detecting when laws, policies, procedures, customs and lore, are stalling progress toward a more equitable world. 

We have to find a way to pivot more quickly. 

So, if everything is truly on the table, we must be willing to consider changing in ways that no one thought possible a few years ago. Change that was off limits should be considered within limits.

We should at a minimum acknowledge that police in many developed nations patrol and protect without firearms for all but exceptional situations.

We should at a minimum acknowledge that some countries required vastly more education and experience before an officer ever hits the streets.

Toward Change, the message is in the title: Toward Change is to acknowledge that real change must involve community stakeholders at all levels of society. Change must also be the result of an honest inquiry both inside and outside the organization. As individual members, as an agency, and as a career field we must be able and willing to empathize with our most vitriolic of critics. Do not confuse this with an endorsement for abolishing police, but we should at least consider examining and seeking to understand the underlying forces that could result in such an extreme position.

Strong-culture organizations, and especially those steeped in courage and bravery like the LAPD are historically change resistant. We pride ourselves on having weathered many storms. This particular time in our history, is an unprecedented moment for change – and the momentum is about creating a pathway for better lives, better communities, better systems and, yes, better policing. 

This plan will require that all those who participate, do so from a position of Cultural Competence. 

Cultural Competence is a term that embodies an ability to communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. It is the ability to understand one’s own worldview, while appreciating and ever gaining knowledge of the different views and practices around us. In the context of this Plan, Toward Change, Cultural Competence means that we grasp the different definitions for terms as polarizing as Defund the Police. To some it means re-organize and re-prioritize, to others it means punish the LAPD through budget cuts, and to others it means abolish. 

In taking on this plan, I made the bold assertion that I would not accept any argument that the task was too difficult. I did not want to hear that the task was too difficult because of tradition, policy, rule, or even law, every one of which is subject to a process for removal, modification, and replacement. 

As the most visible and responsive element of government, it is no surprise that policing has traditionally been the flash point for societal change. The challenge will be to make the most of the momentum the reform movement has achieved and change for the better without unintentionally hurting the underserved communities we intend to protect.

The scope of the Plan must be universal and ongoing. While not everything may need to be changed, everything must be “on the table” and subject to review. Thinking deeply and broadly, means that we listen to those inside and outside the organization. Everyone. Those with a big platform and those with a small platform. Top to bottom and wall to wall.

Probably one of the most important elements of the Plan, Toward Change, is how will the success be judged? I think that success can and will be achieved; however, this success may not be a perfect police department. That is an unachievable ideal. Success will be a police department that is quick to recognize injustice and inequality. A police department that is not inwardly focused on protecting itself as an institution. But a police department that serves and protects a community with equity and inclusiveness; a department where we will be able to call ourselves Peace Officers and people will believe us. 

I think we will have succeeded when the reform is ongoing and not just when there is a crisis. That success will be recognized when we are making steps toward a more and more just system, when this unfolding betterment is part of our culture too. That is why we call the LAPD plan, “Toward Change.” And, that change will happen when we can all find effective ways to do this work together.

This Keynote was delivered as a part of the Shift Summit & Music Festival, September 18-21, 2020. It was prepared for a segment called “Is It Police Reform… Retribution… Or, What?” for the Racial Justice stage offerings. Commander Flores is the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer for the LAPD and a collaborative associate of Rev. Dr. Aliah MaJon, the Chief Inclusion Officer for The Shift Network.

Commander Ruby Flores was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Department in 1994 and has worked in three of the four geographic Bureaus of the City. Throughout her career she has worked as a Field Training Officer; Department Relations Liaison, Rampart Area Watch Commander, Commanding Officer of Hollenbeck Area, and Commanding Officer of Community Relationship Division. Flores also worked in the Office of the Chief of Staff and as an Aide for two Chiefs of Police.

Flores is currently the Commanding Officer of Training Group and oversees Training Division and In-Service Training Division. She is the Department Training Coordinator, Chair of the Tactics Training Review Committee, member of the Use of Force-Policies and Procedures Committee, and Co-Chair of the Use of Force Review Board and the Uniform and Equipment Committee.

Flores serves as the Vice President of the Los Angeles Women Police Officers and Associates, is a member of the Latin American Enforcement Association, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the California Peace Officers’ Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, the current President of the Los Angeles Police Relief and Assistance Foundation and was newly appointed as the Racial Equity Officer for the Department.

Commander Flores earned a Bachelors and Masters at California State University, Long Beach.

As a collegiate athlete she earned numerous accolades for excellence and pitched a perfect softball game. Flores was recognized as the 1992 Western Region – Woman of the Year and 1992 All Big West Scholar Athlete of the Year. Flores is a life-long resident of Southern California and a mother of two adult children.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Jesus Beltran says

    As far as I am concerned…and I have proof by your comments and the topic of your articles, I have come to the conclusion that your organization is a racist organization and your agenda is to promote hate against minorities and people of color. By the way, the LAPD has been reformed more times than Caitlyn Jenner changes under wear in a year…and the LAPD is still the same, racist corrupt herd of panties wearing, abusive assassins who have been killing us , minorities for more than a century. Those racist mother fuckers are the real terrorists. And so is the Los Angeles Sheriff Dept. These racist mother fuckers are the same assassins who killed Joaquin Murrieta…AKA El Zorro. I am going to keep tabs on you more closely, racist scum.

    • Mr. Beltran or is it Comrade Beltran ?

      Are you a Marxist or just a useful idiot ?

      For over a hundred years the “Comintern”, the international communist movement and the internationalist socialist movement have always looked upon the police as being the enemy..
      Where as criminals were held in high esteem and even taking a knee to honor.

      The Marxist/Leninist have politicized the LAPD by embedding the LAPD with political officers aka diversity officers..

      Joseph Stalin did the same thing with the military and the police in the Soviet Union.

      Diversity without assimilation balkanizes society which is the political agenda of the radical left.

  2. Mr. Beltran, did you notice on L.A. TV the latest statistics of murder in the area?

    Murder is up almost exactly 100% over last year. The specific units that went after the low life’s are mainly disbanded. Most of the murders are black on black or hispanic on hispanic crimes.

    When you go after people how about taking down first the Cartels operating in the city. International gangsters.

    Oh and by the way, how about those Hispanics called Spanish who enslaved millions from South America to the Russian River. Beltran sounds suspiciously like a Espanol name to me.

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