Captain Jeffrey Bert, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), began his first day on the job as captain of the Northeast Division on March 10.
He replaces William Murphy, who served as Northeast Captain for five years before being reassigned and promoted to Commander. Bert is one of two captains at station: Capt. Joseph Hiltner is the station’s patrol captain.
Before joining the Northeast Division, Bert worked in the Valley Traffic and Southeast Divisions, and on a Gang Unit in the Pacific Community Division.
He admits he is most familiar with the neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Elysian Valley and Silver Lake, but says he is actively working to get to know the rest of community.
“It’s been a whirlwind since I got here,” Bert told EGP last week.
He says his short-term goals are to get to know all the stakeholders in “each of the dynamic corners,” hear from the community, and to learn the strengths and weaknesses of his officers.
“Since the age of five, I knew I wanted to become a cop to stop crime … anyway I can do that legally, lawfully and constitutionally,” he said.
The area’s former captain was known for his focus on social media. Bert says he knows Murphy had some of the most progressive ideas and a lot of LAPD divisions are trying to do what he did with Nixle, Facebook, Twitter and the web, and he plans to maintain those avenues of information open.
“I might change a few things, like the frequency of crime alerts. I intend to do it, I hope I do it as well… If I don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying,” he said.
However Bert says his top priority is keeping crime down in the Northeast Division where car-related crimes are a major issue.
“Social media is working, but if cars are still getting broken into, we do need to address that,” he told EGP.
Bert said he wants to hear from the community about where they think the Northeast Division can improve, and how “we can help.”
Violent crime and quality of life crimes affect people’s sense of safety, so making the reality safer makes people feel safer, he said.
“Residents should be able to park their cars without worrying that it will get busted into over night, we need to put the right cops at the right times of night to stop the crimes…” he said.
Bert joins the Northeast Station at an interesting time. This fall (2013) is the anticipated ground breaking for the new police station, he told EGP. The nearly $50 million project will be funded primarily by Proposition Q bond money.
The Northeast Community Police Station serves the neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Eagle Rock, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Franklin Hills, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Los Feliz, Mount Washington, Silver Lake and Solano Canyon.