Category Archives: Neighboring Communities

These posts are about what’s going on in our neighboring communities.

A Marathon Run: The LAPD Officer Testing Limits for Charity VIDEO

by Melanie Camp

(video below)

Officer Kristina Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew
Tudor will run the LA Marathon this year in full tactical gear

It is cold and dark. A cliche winter morning that even the sun seems reluctant to rise and meet. However nothing, it seems, stops Los Angeles Police Officer Kristina Tudor from rising to meet anything. She is preparing to run the LA Marathon in full tactical uniform and all in the name of charity.

After graduating from UC Riverside, Tudor served as a  commissioned officer in the Army. In 2010 she joined the LAPD, first being part of the Hollywood Prostitution Enforcement Detail, where she worked alongside VICE policing prostitution related crime, and them moving into LAPD’s elite Metro Division. In her spare time she enjoys serving in the National Guard, work- ing in the Army part-time as a hazardous material technician, and running marathons.

Officer Kristina Tudor Ran the LA Marathon Last Year in Her Police UniformLast year Tudor ran the LA Marathon in her police uniform. The heavy wool in the hot sun almost unbearable towards the end of the 26.219 mile race, her feet weighed down by the pools of sweet that had gathered in her boots. This year she is running again but this time upping her game, running in a full tactical uniform that includes a bullet proof plate, and a helmet that weighs so much she admits she may have to carry it at times. Otherwise, by the end she will have trouble holding her head up. All in all Tudor will carry an extra 35 pounds while she runs, refusing to make any allowances, even her rifle magazines will be full of bullets.

Tudor enjoys a challenge. She is on a quest to find her limits, “there’s discomfort and pain involved with any physical activity, especially running. I think that’s the beautiful thing about life is you gotta find the limit,” and until she does find that limit Tudor says she will keep searching.

“I mean, why are we motivated to do things? It’s one of those spiritual secrets we just don’t know. To be honest I don’t know if it’s filling a hole or what, but there’s something about it that just keeps me pushing. No words can really explain why, you just want to do it,” she says.

Tudor says she is not an adrenaline junkie as much as she is curious to see where her limits lie, both physically and mentally in any human endeavor, especially endurance.

“It is a good parallel for life in that you need patience, discipline, determination; because even the preparation, it’s almost like a full-time job – nutrition, training, preparing yourself mentally. It mirrors life almost perfectly because you need those qualities in life to be successful. Especially to be a good police officer and leader, you do need a lot of patience and determination to do your job well and to serve others,” she says.

Officer Kristina Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew 2
Tudor with Badge of Heart Founder Officer Ken Lew

On Valentine’s Day Tudor will bring a bit of extra heart to her marathon run, choosing to use it as an opportunity to raise money, and aware- ness, for Venice Charity Badge of Heart. Founded by Officer Ken Lew of LAPD Pacific Division, the non-profit organization provides relief to victims of crime and families who face hardship. “If you’re going to put yourself through hell it may as well be for a good cause,” says Tudor.

“To be honest? I’m ecstatic. I’m happy, I’m honored to have a a runner like her run a 26 mile marathon on behalf of Badge of Heart,” says Lew.

Throughout LAPD Tudor has earned a fierce reputation and the respect of many. Lew says his fellow officers at Pacific Division couldn’t believe Badge of Heart had scored such an impressive ambassador. However it was in fact, Tudor who had reached out to Lew.

“She came into the station one day on another matter and we talked a little bit, I briefed her on Badge of Heart. A couple of months later she gave me a call and said she wanted to talk to me about running the LA Marathon on behalf of Badge of Heart,” says Lew.

Tudor says she was drawn to the charity because of the service it does helping those facing hardship. She feels there are parallels to be drawn with the work Badge of Heart does and running a marathon.

“Badge of Heart is all about giving yourself and resources to others, others who are less fortunate, and in a marathon you’re pretty much laying it out there, you’re giving your all and at the end you’ve got nothing left. I think that’s the way it should be in public service and with Badge of Heart, which it is, you’re giving yourself to help others. I think it’s a beautiful thing,” she says.

For Tudor the run is about something bigger than herself and running on behalf of Badge of Heart makes sense, because the charity is also about something bigger.

“You know if you’re going to be out there for a few hours with this stuff on, you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself, and Badge of Heart, that organization is doing something way bigger than itself. It’s helping so many people. I think it’s important to pay it forward. Definitely.”

Tudor says endurance running has become an important part of her life and has taught her important values.

“I’d say running, it really puts a mirror up to your face and a marathon will definitely do that to you. It holds you accountable; for your training, your lifestyle, your mindset. So as far as an important life lesson? It holds you accountable, for everything you do and that goes right back to day to day life. It’s important to hold yourself accountable,” she says.

She says she has taken what she learns through the challenge of a marathon and applied it to her attitude on life, especially life as a police officer.

“It’s humbling. Humility pays an important role in life, especially in a civil service field such as being a police officer. Humility and compassion. You know they shouldn’t be regarded as weak because you do need a certain amount of those characteristics to serve the community. Like Badge of Heart does.”

As part of her training she likes to run the hills up behind the police academy, following the loop Angels Point and Solano Canyon Roads make, high above the Los Angeles City skyline.

“I do enjoy running I do enjoy endurance and endurance competitions. The marathon is a perfect testament of human endurance and human will. I think I will continue to train and compete. I do enjoy the longer distances, fifteen hundred milers, it’s a different ball game and it really tests you, to the deepest core, but I like to run the Marathon, keep running marathons. I think I will continue to run marathons until I can’t move my knees anymore, until my cartilage wears out,” she says. Even then it is hard to imagine that Tudor would ever view a couple of bung knees as a hinderance to anything she attacks in life.

As she stands looking out across Los Angeles during a break in her training run, the marathon route sprawled below, one can’t help but wonder, in her quest to find the limit could it be that Officer Kristina Tudor proves she is, in fact, limitless.

The LA Marathon takes place February 14th, 2016. Show your support for Officer Tudor by donating to Badge of Heart via their Go Fund Me page at:

Unanimous Yes for Homeless Plan


The county Board of Supervisors approved a wide- ranging set of strategies today aimed at combating homelessness, ranging from
increasing housing subsidies to boosting the income of homeless families.

Homelessness is “the most serious humanitarian crisis confronting our county today,” county CEO Sachi Hamai said. A 12.4 percent jump in homelessness countywide from 2013-15 caught the attention of public officials. Though the results of a recent homeless count are not yet available, the last estimate by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is that 44,359 county residents are homeless.

The “unsheltered” population living in tents, makeshift shelters and
vehicles has grown even more dramatically, up 85 percent over the same two-year time period to more than 9,300 people, according to LAHSA.

A video showing what Hamai called the “critical stakes” featured a
family with small children who had been forced to live in their 1997 Chevy Suburban when both parents lost their jobs and a Lancaster attorney who lost his home to drug addiction.

“My attitude before I became homeless was, `How could you be
homeless?'” attorney Don Arnold said of the people he used to pass on the street on his way to work, “now I understand.”

The board’s strategies follow recommendations by the county’s Homeless Initiative task force, established last year when the board committed to spending more than $100 million on the problem. “This plan is ambitious and … achievable,” Hamai said.

The 47 strategies drive six objectives, including preventing
homelessness, subsidizing housing, increasing income, providing case management and services, creating a coordinated system and increasing affordable housing.

Together they are expected to “bring widespread humanitarian relief to our most vulnerable neighbors” and save the county money, LAHSA Executive Director Peter Lynn told the board.

The county spends nearly $1 billion annually to provide medical, mental health and social services to homeless people, as well as to pay for the deputies and probation officers who work with the homeless population.

About 5 percent of that population consumes 40 cents of every dollar spent, according to county research. The board agreed to prioritize services for those individuals.

“A real bed is much less expensive than a jail bed or a hospital bed,”
Phil Ansell, director of the Homeless Initiative, told the board.

The first phase of work, to begin no later than June 30, is focused on
strategies expected to have the most impact in the shortest time frame. The county is set to spend $42 million over 12 months, helping 3,500 people off the streets and preventing another 2,000 from becoming homeless.

In addition to providing more housing subsidies in a variety of forms,
the first phase will include strengthening the shelter system as an entry point to a broader set of services.

Phase one priorities also include finding work for those who face
barriers such as criminal records or substance abuse problems and making sure that disabled individuals are receiving federal benefits, putting both groups in a position to pay for their own housing.

Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Don Knabe highlighted the concerns of domestic violence victims.

“In 2015, nearly 65 percent of all homeless women reported that they had been victims of domestic violence. Our … motion will explore ways to ensure that individuals and families fleeing domestic violence are provided adequate housing and services,” Kuehl said.

A summit is planned to help pin down specific city initiatives with each of the county’s 88 municipalities.The mayors of several of those cities, including Inglewood, Lynwood, Lawndale, Culver City, West Hollywood, Compton, Torrance, and El Monte joined
the board to show their support.

“Many hard-working families that have bought into the American dream are literally one catastrophe, unplanned expense, job loss or illness away from being displaced,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown told the board.

Many of the county strategies rely, at least in part, on city
implementation. The Los Angeles City Council has been coordinating with county officials and approved its own set of initiatives today, projected to cost $1.87 billion over a decade.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, through a spokesman, called the county’s plan
“bold and visionary.” The county strategies are detailed, but the specifics of implementation and the source of funding for future years are yet to be worked out. The board was optimistic.
“The plan makes no claim about perfection, but … we will make
substantial progress,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

The vote was unanimous.

– from CNS

Housing First a Solution for LA Homeless?


The Los Angeles City Council and the County Board of
Supervisors will vote today on a pair of plans aimed at ending homelessness, chiefly by making permanent housing available to tens of thousands of people who are homeless.

When the plans were released in January, county and city officials said they laid out a path for improving co-ordination among service providers and government agencies, setting up a centralized case management system to direct the homeless to services, and pushing a “housing first” approach, as opposed to the shelter-focused strategy that has long been used.

For the city, which has more than half of the estimated 44,000 homeless people in the county, the strategic plan lays out ways in which about $100 million in city funds could be spent in the upcoming year, and potentially $1.8 billion over the next decade.

City leaders, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and several City Council
members, announced a plan last year to dedicate about $100 million in city general funds toward homelessness.

“With this blueprint, the city is going to commit itself to move
forward with the short and long-term plans on better addressing
homelessness,” said City Councilman Jose Huizar, who co-chairs the
Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

Huizar’s co-chair on the committee, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, said the plan also represents “unprecedented level of focus and commitment of getting to zero homelessness.”

If the city’s strategic plan is adopted, “the real test” will be in
how the city will come up with the $100 million, which may require that other city expenses be scaled back, according to Huizar.

“The real critical piece is going to come when we discuss the budget
for the next fiscal year and put some money behind the recommendations,” he said.

Homeless in Venice
A Homeless Camp in Venice beach

Huizar said some of those budget discussions may include looking at how much the city will spend on enforcement of laws that directly affects people living on the streets, such as a controversial law adopted last year that makes it easier for the city to remove items from the streets and dismantle encampments.

Some advocates for the homeless who live in the Skid Row area in
downtown Los Angeles, have criticized the plan as failing to address how the city enforces such laws.

Eric Ares, a community organizer with Los Angeles Community Action Network, said there are no guidelines for how police officers should interpret such laws in the 200-plus pages of the city strategic plan, which includes one page devoted to the role of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Ares said the issue of enforcement should not be a separate conversation from that of the strategic plan, adding that he feels city officials were “very, very intentional about trying to talk about them (homelessness and enforcement) separately.”
A controversial law, known as 56.11, that would make it easier for city officials to throw away items, such as homeless encampments, that are left on sidewalks will not be part of today’s vote, and will likely be considered by the Homelessness and Poverty Committee later this month or in early March.

Ares said a detailed plan for enforcement should be added to strategic plan, noting that negative encounters with police officers, who often accompany service providers, deters many who are homeless from taking advantage of services. Criminal records or citation records may also make it more difficult for the homeless to qualify for certain services, Ares said.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is also expected to vote on their draft plan, which includes 47 recommendations covering six goals, which are to prevent homelessness, subsidize housing costs, increase income, provide case management and services, create a coordinated system for homeless services and increase affordable housing.

-from CNS

Car Flipped on 90 Heading West


A car has flipped heading west on the 90 Marina Freeway just before the Culver Boulevard off ramp, slowing traffic as cars are forced into 1 lane, heading towards Marina del Rey.

A silver car currently lays upside down, metal debris litters the road, and the car’s wheels lay a couple of hundred feet down the road.

Venice local Henry Hereford witnessed the aftermath saying it looked like, “a horrific crash on the 90. Wheels had come off. Nasty.”

Emergency services are at the scene. The condition of the driver, and whether or not there were passengers, is not yet know.

The silver car appears to be the only vehicle involved in the crash.

Stay Safe for Super Bowl Weekend


Authorities in Los Angeles and Orange counties today
reminded Southlanders that law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for people driving drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Services Detail
will deploy additional officers on special DUI saturation patrols to stop and arrest drivers showing signs of alcohol or drug impairment during and following the game.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Los Angeles County
sheriff’s Capt. Scott Johnson. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice, drink or drive, but never do both and please remember, if your decision is to drink, drink responsibly under any circumstance and designate a sober driver.”

In Orange County, the sheriff’s department’s will deploy roving DUI
saturation patrols throughout the weekend. “This is a ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown, so drive sober or get pulled over,” said Orange County sheriff’s  Deputy Manuel Cruz.

From 7 p.m. today through 3 a.m. Saturday, DUI saturation patrols will be deployed in Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills and Aliso Viejo.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ‘Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk’ campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

The California Office of Traffic Safety ‘Designated Driver VIP’ mobile app is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices.

Launched last year, the app offers various features, including allowing designated drivers to “Map a Spot” with their current location to find DDVIP partnering establishments in their area, or a “List of Spots” to search all participating bars and restaurants throughout the state.

People using the app will be offered free incentives at each bar “to
celebrate their life-saving role,” officials said. Also through the app, for those who want to drink but also make it a point to plan ahead, users can easily order a sober ride from Uber, Lyft, or Curb, all from one screen.

Operations such as these are funded through grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.