Posted by Nancy Langdon on Aug 06, 2017
“We Are The Community – Leading the Way in Law Enforcement” Redondo Beach Chief of Police Keith Kaufman"
Redondo Beach Police Chief Keith Kaufman can count two Medals of Valor as well as a Dorothy Harris writing award to his many accomplishments. Yet, in the field of law enforcement this 24-year veteran of police work ranks changing police culture as one of the most daunting tasks he has faced."
“The number one problem facing police forces around the country is regaining the public trust. The police are the public. And the public are the police,” Chief Kaufman stressed. “I tell my officers, ‘Even if this is the 1000th burglary call you have answered, it is probably the victim’s first. We have to remember that. If it happens to you (the Redondo Beach citizens), then it happens to us (the Redondo Beach police).”
To this end, Chief Kaufman and his officers recently spent three days workshopping a vision for the Redondo Beach Police Department. “We Are The Community – Leading the Way in Law Enforcement” is the banner under which the Redondo Beach police now fulfill their vital duties.
“‘We Are The Community,’” Chief Kaufman stressed, “Three days for four words. But those words, although they mean something different to different people, they mean everything. Those four words are a call to action and make us part of the community.”
“Citizens need to feel that this is their police department,” Chief Kaufman continued, “And the kinds of things we want to implement here in Redondo Beach are the kinds of things that could be applied nationwide to change the way we police.”
Practicing what he preaches, Chief Kaufman has been an active proponent of “Coffee with a Cop”, a nationwide program where police officers engage with the community in a relaxed, non-threatening atmosphere.
In addition to adopting best practices from around the nation, Chief Kaufman is taking the second half of the vision statement, “Leading the Way in Law Enforcement” quite seriously, as well. Chief Kaufman is spearheading four ground-breaking programs to improve citizen safety and make policing more effective.
Piggy-backing on the “Run, Hide, Fight” training given to school teachers and staff to respond to school shooter scenarios, outfitting Redondo Beach classrooms with advanced trauma kits is the first of several leading-edge initiatives the Reodondo Beach Police Department is getting a jump on.
“The reality is,” Chief Kaufman tells us, “that a school shooting scenario is more likely than a fire. And we hold fire drills regularly. There’s no more living in denial. These backpacks are a way that teachers can do something to save a life.”
This trauma kit contains more than your standard First Aid kit and is the same trauma kit police officers carry in their squad cars and includes such things as chest seals for gunshot wounds. In addition, Redondo Beach classroom teachers are being instructed in their use. These trauma kit backpacks do not come cheap. The program costs a total of $50,000. However, the L.A. Kings have stepped up and have donated $35,000 of the total to make our kids safer. Chief Kaufman hopes to see this program picked up nationwide.
The next area of policing innovation Chief Kaufman is spearheading is the phasing out of police motorcycle cruisers with more nimble Honda “Africa Twin” motorcycles.
“Police motorcycles currently used are not suited for an urban environment. They’re great for cruising down the highway, but not great for maneuvering through traffic. They’re heavy; you can’t pick them up if they tip over.”
So, in cooperation with Honda and famed custom bike builder Roland Sands, the Redondo Beach Police Department will reverse-engineer the new Honda “Africa Twin” motorcycle to create a vehicle more suited to modern policing.
“Redondo Beach will be a partner in creating the next generation of police motorcycles. This could change the way we police in America,” Chief Kaufman, an avid motorcyclist himself, asserts.
“Bolton,” Chief Kaufman says with a sigh, as a beautiful golden retriever appears on the screen. “Everybody loves Bolton.”
As beautiful as this animal is, he serves a very important public safety function. Specifically, Bolton is a “vapor wake” dog. Vapor wake dogs are specially trained to be able to detect the vapor trail of explosive materials wafting off a person carrying or wearing a bomb. In a crowd of two thousand people, yes, Bolton is able to identify the single individual carrying explosives. In testing, Bolton was able to find two different people moving about the Galleria Mall carrying a pound of black powder. Bolton is often used at public events at so-called “choke points”, such as entrances, to screen for people with destruction in mind.
One last cutting-edge program for which the Redondo Beach Police Department is blazing the trail is the use of piloted drones to aid in police work. In partnership with Redondo Beach firm Flying Lions, the Redondo Beach police department uses drones to provide a much more cost-effective and flexible alternative to police helicopters.
Drone videography allows Chief Kaufman to gain a real-time bird’s eye view of any situation right on his smart phone. For example, if the police department gets a call reporting a disruptive group, sending a piloted drone over the scene can aid law enforcement assess the true situation and make a more calculated call as to the use of police resources. In addition, a drone can follow a single suspect from high above, for example, in a crowd of people, without drawing too much attention to itself. Chief Kaufman recalled a recent incident, where officers noticed an individual whose movements “made the hair on the back of my neck stand up”. The use of a drone helped the law enforcement officers track the individual and determine whether his behavior truly signalled nefarious intents or not.
Chief Kaufman is making good on his promises to provide both hard technology and soft people skills to make Redondo Beach a great place to live. Thank you, Chief Kaufman.