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Downtown Residents Turn Out to Support LAPD Partners

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, June 29, 2007, at 04:11PM
Commander and Friends Ed Fuentes

The historic Farmers and Merchants Bank was crawling with cops, artists, dwellers and business owners as the neighborhood came out to celebrate LAPD's recent promotions. Newly appointed LAPD Commander Andy Smith, Captain Jodi Wakefield and Captain Michelle Veenstra were welcomed into their new spots by a crowd that included 9th District CM Jan Perry and 14th District CM José Huizar. LAPD brass was represented by Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz and Chief William Bratton, who was reappointed June 19 for a second five-year term.

The optimistic affair made note that the first all-female leadership team for Central Division, coined "Andy's Angels", plan to follow Smith's lead in communication to larger community. Downtown has embraced LAPD's role as a partner in the shaping our community, and the ceremony offered an opportunity to thank those making it happen.

Bank Crawlin' with CopsBratton shared the microphone with wife Rikki Klieman, a Court TV anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, and author. Klieman got the biggest response when she confessed she would like to live Downtown––cause she likes the shopping. She pointed out a bright yellow purse she just purchased in the Fashion District. The color was bold enough it could have been used to direct traffic on Main street around the lane closure set up as part of the LAPD Headquarters construction.

Both the neighborhood and LAPD leadership have changed dramatically in the last few months. Residents and businesses of both the Historic Core and Skid Row have noticed the differences. LAPD is a high-profile target and criticism of its actions will always be around, some earned, some not. Development may get the high-profile credit for Downtown changes, but certainly it isn't the only factor working to make the community a better, safer place.

In the end, the biggest factor in helping to shape Downtown is going to continue to be its residents. Downtown needs to continue to attract people who are willing to walk the streets into the night. It needs people willing to live the urban life and to continue to push for change. The work of residents will do more than any policy change pushed down by the City.

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