California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 4

LAPD’s Occupy Success Protesters’ legal adviser says department brought ‘A game’ to decampment Hours before Los Angeles police officers dismantled the Occupy LA encampment, Deputy Chief Jose Perez reminded more than a dozen lieutenants and sergeants what was at stake. Praise was heaped upon LAPD for its approach. A civil rights attorney said the agency “was not your grandfather’s LAPD.” A legal observer who advised protesters told the Times the LAPD “had their A game on.” “I emphasized the whole world would be watching,’’ said Perez, who was flanked by other incident management team members. “It was about discipline, discipline, discipline. We had to be patient. We did not want to be the initiators of force. We were dealing with mainly non-violent protesters.” The LAPD set up a command post in City Hall soon after protesters moved to the lawn nearly two months earlier. Lieutenants and sergeants were stationed at the command post, and would regularly walk the area and talk to protesters. Perez also took part in those daily meetings. The 28-year LAPD veteran and former Marine was the commanding officer in an operation that has earned international praise for restraint, open communications and innovative tactics. “We wanted to maintain consistency in our interaction with them,’’ Perez said. “The department has a good working relationship with labor, immigrant rights organizations and the National Lawyer’s Guild. Those relationships helped us have open dialogue with the Occupiers.” Protesters had set up more than 400 tents and had been camping on the lawn outside City Hall for more than 2 ½ months. The camp was across the street from both LAPD headquarters and the Los Angeles Times. The protesters and their negotiations with city and police officials were regularly featured in the Times, as well as on local broadcast and radio news. Just before midnight on the evening of Nov. 29,