PANORAMA CITY, Calif.— On Thursday, October 17, 2013, at the invitation of the LAPD Chief of Police, members of the ANCA San Fernando Valley West, North and East chapters met with Los Angeles Deputy Chief of Police Jorge A. Villegas and Commanders Regina Scott and Jon Peters who oversee the San Fernando Valley region. Officers Estelle Sison and Bob Frutos from the Office of the Chief, Community Relations Section were also present at the meeting. The meeting was productive and established a foundation based on understanding and trust between the American Armenian Community and the Los Angeles Police Department.
The meeting was held at the LAPD Valley Bureau Headquarters, where all police operations for the region are based. The Deputy Chief prefaced the meeting with his desire to create an ongoing relationship with the Valley American Armenian Community. Members of the Armenian Community present at the meeting expressed that their concerns and desires to the LAPD are the same as any other resident: namely safe streets along with fair and just treatment from police who serve the public.
Deputy Chief Villegas took the opportunity to explain that over the last 20 years the LAPD has had an organizational transformation. The LAPD now works more directly with community members to create community partnerships that proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime – thus creating safer neighborhoods. Deputy Chief Villegas stated, “We look forward to further enhancing this partnership with the Armenian community.”
Among the topics that were discussed was the need for more Armenian police officers serving Armenian populated neighborhoods. The Chief explained that there are a number of different recruiting tools available to the Armenian Community to utilize. To name a couple, LAPD recruitment drives at Armenian events and the LAPD cadets, a program geared toward young adults teaching a wide variety of leadership and civic engagement through local police stations. The Chief expressed a strong interest for the LAPD to participate in local Armenian Community events and create relationships with Armenian media to be able to communicate to the Armenian Community.
“We had a very productive meeting with the Deputy Chief” Explained Pierre Yenokian, Chairman of the ANCA San Fernando Valley North Chapter, “we look forward to continuing to work with the LAPD in our neighborhood” concluded Yenokian.
The meeting was the first of its kind between the Valley Armenian Community and the Police Department. Present at the meeting was Burbank Police Commissioner Hagop Hergelian who offered his experience on how the City of Burbank has developed beneficial ties to the American Armenian Community.
“The Chief was very perceptive and accommodating to our concerns” noted Levon Baronian, Chairman of the ANCA San Fernando Valley East Chapter, “we feel confident that this was the start of a beneficial relationship between the LAPD and the American Armenian communities of the San Fernando Valley”
“We look forward to a continued relationship with the LAPD” said Nareg Kitsinian, Esq., Chairman of the San Fenando Valley West Chapter, “community input and participation with our local police will foster mutual respect and understanding, ultimately precipitating into safer neighborhoods and access to vital city services” added Kitsinian.