Op-Ed: Villaraigosa: We came together after the 1992 uprising. We can do it now.
On the night of Sept. 26, the City of Los Angeles will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Police Department’s deployment of the first SWAT team.
The LAPD was the only law enforcement agency for 16 years in the country — until the late 1990s — that had access to the nation’s first SWAT team.
The City of Los Angeles is on course to become the first in Southern California to launch an all-new SWAT team, with a team of six special operations officers, up from three, according to a city official familiar with the matter.
The LAPD SWAT Team will be the first of its kind in California, and it will mark the first time that an all-female SWAT team will be in service in the country, the official said.
“We’re very pleased to have this opportunity to commemorate the first SWAT team in the history of the LAPD,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said last week in an interview with the Daily Breeze. “This will mark not only a milestone in the history of the LAPD, but in the history of our city and our nation.”
“We’re on the threshold of a new movement,” he added, “and a new era of peace.”
A lot has changed in the LAPD in the past 50 years, according to Villaraigosa, who was first elected mayor in 1999.
The first black LAPD officer to have his or her name and photo splashed across the front page of The Times was on duty as many as 20 days before the 1964 March on Washington when “the world’s conscience was deeply moved and the world’s anger grew by the day.” The LAPD’s first black commander was named Officer Thomas Lynch, in 1964 and he was assigned to patrol the South Central Division, which includes South Los Angeles. The first female LAPD officer was assigned the same division in 1972.
More recently, the first black commanding officer of a specialized crime unit was assigned to the South Bureau in 2007. And,