HAWTHORNE — The following update was issued on March 20 by Hawthorne Police Chief Michael Ishii.
These past few weeks have been tough for everyone. From economic uncertainty, school closings, scrambling for childcare, trying to take in all of the information on how to avoid the Coronavirus pandemic, I am sure this has been an extremely trying and stressful time for many in our community. It is unlike anything we have experienced in recent memory.
Here at HPD, we have been working around the clock preparing and planning for the changes in how we do business. Things are rapidly changing, sometimes by the hour. We have to be quick in responding to the challenges in keeping our community safe.
We have made changes in our organization by reassessing resources and adjusting to the current and future needs for our community.
Protecting Our Businesses
We have reassigned officers to patrol the shopping centers, grocery stores, and small businesses where there are long lines of people waiting to shop. We have deployed additional camera trailers in high-traffic areas to allow supervisors real-time video access to these areas. Officers in specialized units have been in touch with store managers and owners to make sure we can quickly respond to any problems or issues. K9 officers have been doing security checks at many businesses throughout the city.
If you are a business owner in Hawthorne, as part of the “Hawthorne Safe Business” initiative, we encourage you to keep in touch with us through email at hpdweb@hawthorneCA.gov. Lieutenant Joel Romero of the Special Operations Bureau will be overseeing this unit to make sure you have a direct contact for us as we work together through this challenging time.
Caring for Seniors/Safety for Students
The Community Affairs Bureau spent this week contacting people from the Memorial Center senior citizens center. HPD staff will conduct phone and email-based welfare checks throughout the upcoming weeks. Although school is out, many students are coming on campus for lunches. Our school resource officers will do their best to be around as much as possible.
We compiled a list of resources for our senior citizens which can be found at the end of this message. We hope this will help during these trying times. Questions? Email us at hpdweb@hawthorneCA.gov.
Following the guidelines from the City of Los Angeles, we have also suspended issuing citations for the following violations:
Street sweeping (sweeper will still be in service)
Peak traffic on the major streets
We will continue to enforce other parking violations (i.e. handicap violations, red zones, fire hydrants, etc.) to maintain order and safety. If you are not sure, be on the safe side and obey the signs. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Protecting First Responders
The care and safety of our employees is our #1 priority. They continue to do their jobs and are working hard in keeping the community safe. However, as is the nature of the job, they are coming into contact with many people, which increases their chance of being exposed to COVID-19.
We have adjusted the organizational structure of our department in the span of just a few days. We are now connecting remotely, using various software for teleconferences, and adjusting to the new norm of staying away from each other (social distancing).
Detectives and administrative staff are all in uniform ready to respond to and assist our patrol officers.
One of our priorities is to have enough supply of protective equipment (gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, etc.) for the front-line officers. This has been a challenge as the country is in severe shortage of supplies. We will continue to find these items to keep our officers protected.
All of the police departments in the South Bay work well and often together. The ability to share resources, exchange ideas, and work together as a team is a top priority for all of the chiefs. We communicate daily with the Police Departments from Culver City, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Gardena, and Inglewood. We also work closely with CHP and the L.A. County sheriff. Leadership at LAPD has been a great resource and partner to all of us. L.A. County Fire is also a trusted partner in serving our city.
Through these long-standing partnerships, we have plans in place to help and support each other as needs arise.
I am extremely proud of our team. Our IT staff have worked around the clock to prepare our agency with the necessary tools to communicate and function. The support staff (from our Admin folks supporting our front-line officers, the cleaning crew, Records staff, Forensics unit, Property officer, Desk officers, Community officers), they have all been here working tirelessly to keep the place running. Without them, we would not be able to perform our mission of keeping you safe.
The officers have families at home, and many are facing the same challenges like everyone else. I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice to doing their jobs. It is what makes HPD a special place. Great people working together to serve and help our community.
I will keep you informed as news develops in the upcoming weeks. I know things are getting tough for many of you. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.