During a special presentation, Hawthorne Police Chief Mike Ishii revealed his department’s new community policing initiative at the January 28th city council meeting.
“The reason why I’m here today is to announce the next phase in community policing and express our commitment to community policing,” said Chief Ishii.
The initiative named Hawthorne Safe, focuses on five major areas: Safe Parks, Safe Streets, Safe Schools, Safe Businesses, and Safe Neighborhoods.
Beginning with city parks, Chief Ishii explained that over 100 security cameras are installed in most of them along with city provided WiFi and that the police department continuously uses the cameras to “make sure that our parks are safe,” using the footage to prevent and solve crimes.The Police Department has partnered with Hawthorne’s Park & Recreation Department, “[because] we firmly believe that our parks need to be protected, and must be safe,” said Chief Ishii because “if parks go then our neighborhoods go.”
He pointed to the successful transformation of Memorial Park to a safe, fun place for kids compared to how it was only 5 years ago.
“We are investing heavily in our parks to make sure that we provide the best security and a safe place for our young families and our residents,” said Chief Ishii, adding that the department is proud of over 3,200 park checks by officers.
In addressing Safe Streets, Chief Ishii recognized members of the department’s traffic bureau who were present at the meeting.
“One of the strategic plans for our streets is to identify certain moments during the week” when the need is greatest. Utilizing both enforcement and education the bureau specifically focuses on streets in and around Hawthorne schools.
Officers get off their motor bikes, visiting schools to educate parents, teachers and administrators about safety issues that occur during rush hours Ishii said. But most importantly, they teach youngsters about proper safety, the need for helmets when riding bicycles, and other vital safety lessons that focus on their safe travel to and from school.
But the “thing that is near and dear to us is DUI enforcement,” said Chief Ishii. “There are so many tragedies we hear every day about DUI accidents and fatalities. So, we are firmly committed to making sure that we do everything we can to keep our streets safe from DUI drivers.”
“This is a big one for us,” said Chief Ishii as he explained the Safe Schools portion of the new initiative and introduced Dwayne Eatmon, Director of Security Centinela Valley Union High School District and Hawthorne School District’s Superintendent Dr. Helen Morgan who were both present at the presentation.
The Hawthorne Police Department has an excellent partnership with Hawthorne, Centinela Valley and Wiseburn school districts Ishii said, adding that “we’ve offered teacher training on Run/Hide/Fight and Stop the Bleed” both training programs that address active shooter scenarios.
Chief Ishii pointed out that the police department can access Hawthorne High School’s security cameras and later this year will be able to use department issued cell phones to have real-time information to make decisions quickly.
A significant investment is being made in mentoring & education with students. “We will continue to make sure that our schools are not only safe, but a place where they can meet our officers and interact with them to build a great relationship for the future,” said Chief Ishii.
PD’s Community Affairs office is working with local businesses both large and small to make sure they have a voice and know that the city and the department are eager to work with them. To accomplish that, the department is holding quarterly meetings with Hawthorne businesses.
Finally, the department is actively working to create Safe Neighborhoods. Besides strong partnerships with Hawthorne homeowner associations that includes regular attendance at their meetings, the department is growing the Neighborhood Watch program, continuing the Citizen’s Academy, and increasing communication through social media platforms.
Councilmember Haidar Awad commended Chief Ishii and the entire department on what they have accomplished and on this new initiative.
“When I participated in the homeless count, I witnessed firsthand the dedication of our officers, even with limited resources compared with other south bay cities. Our two Metro officers not only regularly interact with Hawthorne’s homeless residents but they still handle regular calls for serviced,” said Councilmember Awad, “That’s dedication to service, and Hawthorne is safer because of it.”
Community Policing in Hawthorne
The Hawthorne Police Department is already committed to community policing as demonstrated by these existing programs.
- Coffee with a Cop
- Ride to Live
- Power Project
- Hawthorne Force
- Interview Workshop
- Job Interview Class
- Teen Dialogue
- Shop w/a Cop
- Explorer Program
- K9 School Visits
- And so much more