Being assigned to L.A.P.D.’s Wilshire Division is like coming full circle, said new commanding officer Capt. Howard Leslie. “I worked here as a young police officer in the late 80s and early 90s,” said the 27-year L.A. Police Dept. veteran.
He returned to the division in September as commanding officer of the patrol unit following a stint in the gang and narcotics units at Pacific Division. He was recently named Wilshire’s area commander replacing Capt. Eric Davis, who retired last month. Capt. Valencia Thomas takes over as patrol captain.
A big change since his earlier days at Wilshire is the use of social media, said Leslie. “I’m really pushing it as a way to help reduce crime and to keep people informed,” he said. The division recently introduced its webpage, lapdwilshire.com, and twitter account @lapdwilshire that already has 6,300 followers.
A free smart phone app, LAPD Wilshire, features crime information, a phone directory, Google calendar, interactive maps, instructions on reporting crime, as well as push notifications to give residents up-to-the-minute information on traffic and crime.
Leslie also supports the senior lead officer program, in which specific officers are assigned to certain neighborhoods and serve as contacts for people in the community. “It’s another way to keep people informed and is an important partnership with the community. Open communication is vital and allows you to let us know if there is a problem going on in your neighborhood,” he said.
In addition, “we just started a call-back system where if you live in Wilshire Division and you’re the victim of a crime, a SLO will get in touch with you and advise on how the system works. They’ll even come to your home to show you how to harden the target,” he added.
“People still haven’t gotten the ‘Lock It, Hide It, Keep It’ message, so we’ll continue to put it out there that you can’t leave things in your car.”