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Public Trust Policing - Text version for translation


Public Trust Policing

Partnering with the Communities We Protect


Inside front cover:

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the largest sheriff's department in the world.  With an annual $2.4 billion budget, it provides law enforcement services to 40 contract cities, 90 unincorporated communities, nine community colleges, passengers of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority trains and buses, and 47 Superior Courts.  The Department is also responsible for housing, feeding, medically treating and securing nearly 20,000 inmates in seven custody facilities.


By the numbers:

- 4,000 square miles (6,437 km) in the County; 10 million total population

- 3,171 square miles (5,103 km) LASD jurisdiction; Primary law enforcement to 3 million people

- More than 16,000 sworn and professional members

- More than 300,000 reported incidents and 125,467 people arrested in 2007



Table of Contents

Public Trust Policing Defined       2

A Message From the Sheriff          3

Principle 1: Public Participation    4

            CLEPP (Community Law Enforcement Partnership Program)          4

            Community Academies      4

            Community Advisory Committees            4

            Community-Tailored Programs     5

            COPS Bureau (Community-Oriented Policing Services)        5

            Ethnic Advisory Councils   5

            General Department Information and Current Events 6

            Interfaith Advisory Council            6

            International Liaison Unit   6

            RCPI (Regional Community Policing Institute) 6

            STAR (Success Through Awareness and Resistance)           7

            24-hour Media Bureau       7

            Uniformed Reserves           7

            Uniformed Volunteers        8

            VIDA (Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives)  8

            Youth Activities Leagues   8

Principle 2: Core Values    9

Principle 3: Leadership Training   9

Principle 4: Education        10

Principle 5: Transparency  10

LASD Executive Organizational Chart    11

Our Mission  12

Our Creed     12

History of LASD       13


Public Trust Policing Defined

Public trust policing is the use of police resources in a manner that includes the public’s participation in the mission of public safety.


The purpose of public trust policing is to provide a higher level of public safety.  It is incumbent upon law enforcement to recognize that without the full faith and cooperation of the public, the mission of public safety is severely impaired.


The process of public trust policing involves moving from what was generally known as a closed system to an inclusive and open system of public participation in the public safety mission.


A Message From Sheriff Leroy D. Baca

The theory and practice of public trust policing can be described in an answer to this question: How best can 19,000 sheriff’s and police departments in the United States protect more than 330 million people and their property?  The answer under any model of policing techniques must first involve the principle of public trust.  Developing public participation is critical to public trust policing in the modern world of an increasingly diverse population.  The need for police to establish a clear and convincing trust-based relationship with the public is a fundamental tool in law enforcement.

In my professional travels throughout the United States, Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Americas, I have seen the constant, ubiquitous public desire to receive respect and quality service from the police.  Police cultures, however, tend to appear closed and somewhat authoritarian-centered.

Positive public contact in local jurisdictions is often difficult to achieve.  Due to police personnel shortages, police radio car methods are the primary delivery systems of enforcement services and the prevention of crime.  However, in terms of building public trust, the police car has limited effectiveness as a human communication tool for the multitudes of people and property targeted by criminals and terrorists.



Develop Methods of Public Participation

The creative planning of public participation programs that build public trust is the responsibility of the public safety service.  Many sheriffs and police chiefs have moved toward youth and adult-oriented police service programs.  The following are examples of helping hands, eyes and ears used in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:


CLEPP Community Law Enforcement Partnership Program

This office organizes community groups and

programs to fight gangs, drugs and violence, in addition to providing support to stations through the Volunteers on Patrol program. It also assists in planning and executing special events, such as sheriff’s station grand openings, town hall meetings and Neighborhood Watch meetings.

Community Academies

These programs are specifically designed to educate community members on law enforcement’s role.  For 13 weeks, they attend classes that focus on topics such as criminal law, firearms, internal investigations, patrol procedures and gang enforcement.  They observe deputies on patrol and tour the Weapons Training Center, Emergency Operations Bureau and a custody facility.

Community Advisory Committees

These councils act as liaisons between sheriff’s stations and the communities they serve, consisting of members selected to best represent the diversity of the area.  They provide direct input from the public regarding local issues and assist in the development of programs suited to their communities.

Community-Tailored Programs

The commanders of patrol stations and community sheriff’s stations have full discretion to implement participation programs of all types, depending on the needs of the communities they serve.

COPS Bureau

Community-Oriented Policing Services

Deputies are assigned to each station to attend Neighborhood Watch meetings and conduct door-to-door surveys to determine the community’s needs in terms of quality-of-life issues and crime prevention.

The COPS Bureau also runs an outreach program that offers social services to the homeless in an effort to improve their lives.


Ethnic Advisory Councils - Hearing from the community

There are a dozen councils dedicated to bridging cultural gaps and connecting with groups that historically might have felt disenfranchised.  Sheriff Lee Baca meets with the councils every year to hear their concerns, facilitate dialogue and discuss the implementation of programs.


General Department Information and Current Events

The Department’s Web site consists of Department information, court information, news and press releases, current events organized by area, upcoming community events and a public blog.  Mapping will be included.



Interfaith Advisory Council

Comprised of clergy and religious leaders, this group aims to raise the level of communication between the Department and citizens and improve communities’ quality of life by addressing important issues and concerns.  It also assists and intervenes with spiritual guidance during crisis situations.


International Liaison Unit

Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau

As the Department representative to the Los Angeles international community, this unit works with foreign consulates regarding law enforcement issues.  It also provides translation services for investigations.


RCPI Regional Community Policing Institute

This institute provides high-quality training and technical assistance to about 440 law enforcement agencies, local governments and communities throughout California. Seminars focus on a wide variety of training related to community policing and specialty areas such as school violence and disaster preparedness, counterterrorism prevention and leadership development.


STAR  - Success Through Awareness & Resistance

Since 1985, deputies in the STAR Unit have helped teach drug, gang and violence prevention in Los Angeles County schools.  The program is geared toward grades four through seven, when drugs and gangs are more prevalent.

The STAR program reaches more than 100,000 youths in 370 schools each year.


24-Hour Media Unit

Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau

This unit is available around the clock to provide up-to-date information to the public and media about crimes or other incidents of interest.


Uniformed Reserves

Reserve deputy sheriffs work part time to supplement the Department’s manpower.  They are professionally trained and sworn law enforcement personnel.  They have the same powers of arrest and perform general law enforcement duties, including responding to calls, investigating crimes and controlling traffic.

Number of current reserves: 819


Uniformed Volunteers

These citizens are the eyes and ears of the Department in the community. They volunteer to perform nonhazardous patrol duties, including traffic control, searching for missing children and conducting residential vacation checks.

Number of volunteers:  3,596



Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives

The 16-week program aims to help teenagers get along with parents and look toward the future.  It includes physical fitness, family counseling and other intervention measures. A total of seven sites are expected to be operating by August 2008.

Since its inception in 2000, more than 3,000 youths, ages 10-18, have enrolled.



Youth Activities Leagues

Youth Activities Leagues provide a safe, supportive haven for counseling, educational tutoring and after-school recreational activities for youth. The program includes academic classes, computer labs, tae kwon do, dance classes, fishing, overnight camping, cultural trips, basketball and soap-box derbies. These programs provide an alternative to gangs and drugs. 

Fourteen stations organize Youth Activities Leagues.

Participants:  20,000 yearly



Model the Department’s Core Values to the Public and the Police

A law enforcement organization’s set of core values is the lens that keeps the focus on what the public should expect from those providing the service.

An example of core values that engender public trust may be found in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Core Values statement (at right).

The core values have been widely praised by the vast population of Los Angeles County.  They are a simple way of defining the Department’s allegiance to the American people, their Constitution, Bill of Rights, civil rights and human rights.

Our Core Values


As a leader in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,

I commit myself to honorably perform my duties with respect for the dignity of all people,

integrity to do right and fight wrongs, wisdom to apply common sense and fairness in all I do and

courage to stand against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and bigotry in all its forms.



Train and Support All Department Employees to be Leaders

A major goal of public trust policing is to reduce or eliminate police misconduct.  Inappropriate behavior by police will reduce public trust, particularly in high-crime areas.  Encouraging all levels of police to incorporate leadership skills into their lives will lead to stronger, more defined ethics.  A leadership academy with a comprehensive curriculum for all employees is one of the best methods with which to solidify individual integrity.           



Support College or University Achievement for All Law Enforcement Employees

Policing in the 21st Century requires today’s law enforcement official to be a versatile thinker, performer and citizen.  This primary reality is driven by the complexity of modern society and the complicated issues crime creates.  There is no single solution to solving today’s crime problems. The only factor that is constant is that human beings will always be involved, either as a victim or perpetrator.  Education is the cornerstone in successfully responding to the multi-faceted, intricate demands of modern public safety.

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department University (LASDU) is a consortium of colleges and universities whose mission is to provide Department employees with accessible, multi-varied learning programs that will enhance personal and professional growth, promote a lifelong commitment to learning, and enable all employees to better serve their community.

1,098 LASDU graduates since 2002

Master’s Degrees 384

Bachelor’s Degrees 364

Associate’s Degrees 350




Public trust policing is the key engine for engaging the public to believe in their police or sheriff’s department.  Beyond the need for good, respectful communication between the public and the police is the need for transparency when things go wrong.  Historically, when misconduct occurs, the law enforcement agency investigates itself without any outside assistance.

An internal investigation can be done with great accuracy, but in this age of media analysis and influence, public opinion may still be led in the direction of greater mistrust of the police service.

This is why the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department created the Office of Independent Review (OIR).  The OIR monitors all criminal and internal affairs investigations from start to finish.  Its goal is to ensure accuracy, objectivity, fairness and compliance with the disciplinary standards of the Department.

The OIR is staffed by six civil rights attorneys.  For the past six years, this office has ensured that all incidents, big or small, are investigated properly, reported accurately, and that policy and management were improved when necessary.

The Sheriff’s Department also works with an independent ombudsman who responds to the public’s complaints regarding the quality or status of any complaint inquiry.  This backup process ensures that all public-initiated grievances are heard and explained to the fullest extent possible.


Our Mission

Lead the fight to prevent crime and injustice.

Enforce the law fairly and defend the rights of all.

Partner with the people we  serve to secure and promote safety in our communities.


Our Creed

My goals are simple. I will always be painfully honest, work as hard as I can,

learn as much as I can and hopefully make a difference inpeople’s lives.

Deputy David W. March, End of Watch April 29, 2002

(killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop)


History of LASD

The history of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is rooted in an event that defined the West.  The gold rush of 1848 brought more than 300,000 people to Northern California, all hoping to strike it rich.  With no established government, chaos and lawlessness ruled the land.                                        

Eventually, some semblance of order was developed through “lynch law.”  In order to escape death by hanging or severe penalties for their crimes, offenders headed south to Los Angeles County, which at the time included Kern, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. This influx of criminals led to more murders annually in Los Angeles County  -  in proportion to its population - than any other community in California at the time.  This sparked the formation of the Sheriff’s Department of Los Angeles County in April 1850.  Since then, 25 men have served as sheriff, including Lee Baca, who marks a decade in office this year.

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