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Community Outreach is a fundamental part of the Department of Justice’s comprehensive approach to fighting crime and protecting and defending the rights and interests of the residents of the Central District. In a District as diverse and multi-faceted as the Central District, community outreach takes many different forms, ranging from Department of Justice driven programs and grants, to public efforts such as community meetings and events, listening tours, training and education, both formal and informal.
In all of these efforts, the United States Attorney’s goal is to listen, to learn, and to educate, in order to better achieve the overall mission of the office and the Department of Justice.
The person responsible for facilitating and coordinating community outreach for the Central District is Tracy Webb, Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach. Ms. Webb can be reached with inquiries by email at email@example.com
or by mail addressed to:
Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach
United States Attorney’s Office - Central District of California (Los Angeles)
312 North Spring Street - 1200 United States Courthouse
Los Angeles, CA 90012
On October 18, 2019, Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section AUSA Amanda M. Bettinelli presented at the 28th Annual Environmental Law Conference in Yosemite. The Environmental Law Conference is nationally recognized as the largest and most prestigious gathering in California of leaders in environmental, land use and natural resources law.
As part of the office’s Heroin and Opioid Awareness Campaign, on October 15, 2019, AUSA and office Opioid Coordinator Carly Palmer spoke at the University of Southern California Forensic Social Work Caucus. Addressing undergraduate and graduate students, AUSA Palmer and DEA Outreach Coordinator Guy Gomez addressed the issues presented in the ongoing opioid crisis and learned ways they can be part of the solution to the problem in our community.
On October 10, 2019, office alum the Honorable Susan De Witt and Chief of National Security Patrick Fitzgerald had an interesting and thought-provoking discussion on LGBTQ identity at the Diversity committee’s Lunch and Learn event in honor of National Coming Out Week.
On October 3, 2019, after welcoming remarks from USA Hanna, the Honorable Frederick Aguirre (ret.) profiled and moderated a panel discussion with three Mexican-American WWII veterans, including two fighter pilots, to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. The guests of honor were Lt. Col. Henry Cervantes, 1st Lt. Edward Lopez, 1st Lt. Roberto Ruiz, and Joe O’Campo, U.S. Navy. A reception with light refreshments followed the presentation.
To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, on October 1, 2019, the Office hosted a discussion featuring California Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Carlos Moreno and UCLA Professor and historian Eric Avila discussing the story of Los Angeles’s Chavez Ravine (now home to Dodger Stadium). It proved to be an interesting talk about an important moment in L.A., Latina/o, California legal, and even Dodger history.
On September 24, 2019, the Office hosted a Coffee FOR a Cop event in partnership with Vernon Police Department. USA Hanna attended the morning event along with AUSAs Carol Chen, Indira Cameron-Banks and Puneet Kaakar. This was an opportunity for the office to thank our local law enforcement partners for their hard work and sacrifice as they work tirelessly to protect the residents of our district.
Coffee FOR a Cop
On September 13, 2019, office support staff supervisors participated in an Operation School Bell event at Hughes Elementary School in Cudahy. The school year events provide an outreach opportunity for our staff to help distribute new shoes, backpacks, school supplies, books, and school uniforms to the 269 elementary school children from pre-K to 6th grade.
On August 6, 2019, the office commemorated National Night Out 2019 with events across the Central District. National Night Out is a national community-building campaign designed to enhance the partnership between law enforcement and the community.
The goals of the events across the country are to bring back a true sense of community, heighten crime-and-drug-prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood unity and police-community partnerships, and to send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. U.S. Attorney Hanna attended several of the events sponsored by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. #NationalNightOut
On June 20, 2019, AUSAs Mack Jenkins, Aron Ketchel, Wilson Park, and Max Shiner, along with a team of agents and TFOs from FBI, LAPD and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, received the EOUSA Director’s Award for Superior Performance by a Litigative Team for their prosecution of the 72-defendant Broadway Gangster Crips case. The award was presented by the Deputy Attorney General and the EOUSA Director at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the Main Justice Building in Washington D.C. Congratulations to our CDCA team!
In early June 2019, the Office co-hosted the third in a series of DOJ sponsored VALOR Survive and Thrive trainings in partnership with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department. The VALOR Program is coordinated through the DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research and is cost-free to law enforcement agencies. CDCA hosted the full suite of VALOR training modules for the North Counties including the Executive Leadership Workshop for local chiefs in January, the Mid-Level Leadership Workshop module in April and culminating in the three-day event on June 3-5 that provided officers at all levels with the essentials to survive and thrive by stressing the importance of being physically and mentally prepared, maintaining situational awareness, combating complacency, and remaining vigilant. The final session concluded with a train-the-trainer session. Law Enforcement Coordinator David Cons provided opening remarks at the June event in Solvang.
This year, the Office commemorated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month on May 22 with a lunch event featuring former AUSA the Honorable Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Nguyen is the first Asian-American female Circuit Judge and served the Central District as an AUSA from 1995 to 2002. Judge Nguyen shared her interesting background and regaled the crowd with stories from her days as an AUSA.
On May 14, 2019, the office hosted a Coffee FOR the Cops event to recognize our local law enforcement officers on the occasion of 2019 National Police Week, an annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice.
Co-hosted by the Glendora Police Department, over 75 officers from 11 departments around the district attended the morning event. AUSAs Kim Meyer from the Violent and Organized Crime Section and Puneet Kakkar from the International Narcotics, Money Laundering & Racketeering Section attended along with Law Enforcement Coordinator David Cons and Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach Tracy Webb. In addition to coffee and sweet treats, the officers were able to interact with five of the therapy dogs from Pet Prescription Team.
As part of the DEA’s 360 Strategy, the Office partnered with DEA Los Angeles to host an Opioid Awareness Youth Summit on May 2, 2019 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The audience of nearly 2,000 high school students from around the district heard welcoming remarks from USA Hanna as well as from a variety of speakers with compelling messages of self-empowerment and making healthy choices when facing substance use. The goal of the day-long event was to provide meaningful information to all the students to help combat this nation’s growing opioid epidemic. AUSA Carol Chen, Chief of International Narcotics, Money Laundering & Racketeering Section, AUSAs Ben Barron and Christina Shay as well as Victim Witness Supervisor Allison Stafford and Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach Tracy Webb attended the event.
On Wednesday, February 20, 2019, U.S. Attorney Hanna attended the Los Angeles County, Countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CCJCC) meeting. CCJCC’s mission is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the local criminal justice system by strengthening interagency communication, cooperation, and coordination among criminal justice, education, and health and human services agencies. USA Hanna provided an office overview, highlighting current priority areas of focus including human trafficking, heroin and opioid abuse, and violent crime reduction.
On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, AUSA Ben Barron and DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Mike Davis attended the Los Angeles County, Countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CCJCC) meeting. Together, they provided a presentation on local initiatives and partnerships to combat the opioid crisis. They were also joined by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that are assigned to the DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.
At the April 17th CCJCC meeting, the Committee had an extensive discussion on various initiatives related to combating the opioid epidemic. While much is already in place, Committee members identified additional opportunities to link various efforts. The Committee approved a motion to “establish an opioid epidemic ad hoc working group among key stakeholders and members of CCJCC to develop and identify strategies to assist with interagency coordination in the areas of enforcement, prosecution, prevention, and treatment."
Another Baker to Vegas run is in the books and AUSA Kal Shobaki led the team of hard-charging USAO employees. We had two squads this year. The Fast Squad finished with a pace of 7:59 m/mile, our fastest time ever. We moved up in the overall rankings from 81 last year to 49, and more importantly, finished in 3rd place out of 40 in the Invitational Mixed category. We are officially the fastest lawyers at Baker to Vegas!
The Fun Squad also bettered its performance from last year by one spot, ranking 262, with our own EAUSA Steph Christensen bringing it home on the final glory leg. Out of the total of 8,000 runners this year, our USAO team included Chris Park, Julia Choe, Chris Ferrer, Lety Zambrano, Shaton McDaniels, Rebecca Evans, Joshua Mausner, Lani Ealba, Veronica Alegria, Ashwin Janakiram, Roger Hsieh, Bryant Yang, Tammi Loveland, Greg Scally, Kerry Quinn, Patrick Castaneda, Carolyn Small, Najah Shariff, Tom Rybarczyk, Kyle Ryan, Joe Widman, Ben Balding, Will Rollins, Ian Yanniello, Jehan Pernas, Catherine Ahn, Luis Alarcon, Timothy Biche, Vib Mittal, Joseph Darrow, Paul LeBlanc, Joseph Woodring, Gabriel Podesta, George Pence, Robert Trisotto, Vicki Chou, and a few colleagues from SDCA and Office alums.
Congratulations to all who participated this year.
On March 15, the Office participated in the Constitutional Rights Foundation/ Los Angeles County Bar Association Dialogues on Freedom event. Each year, the program develops, promotes, and administers discussions in high school classrooms throughout Los Angeles County on the constitutional civil liberties and values fundamental to our American system of government. This year we attended the program at Burbank High School. AUSA Gavin Greene covered two scenarios dealing with hate speech and another about whether police could search a hotel room that was being used for an after-prom party without a warrant.
On March 13, the Office, along with the FBI and South Pasadena Police Department, hosted a day-long training on Preventing & Investigating Transnational and Other Scams Targeting Older Adults. Sixty-five local law enforcement agencies attended the training that highlighted scams that target elders. U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna focused the group on the insidious nature of elder fraud. Attendees also heard from AUSA and Elder Fraud Coordinator Monica Tait and AUSA Lisa Feldman along with FBI Victim Service Specialist Debbie Deem and representatives from the FTC, FBI’s IC3, Citibank and Western Union and a panel of recent fraud victims. As a follow-up, the Office will hold a training for community members this Summer.
On March 1, AUSAs and staff from the Santa Ana Branch office, along with LEC David Cons and Director of Community & Law Enforcement Outreach Tracy Webb, joined this year’s nationwide celebration of Read Across America with elementary students from Garfield Elementary School in Santa Ana. This year commemorated the 114th birthday of Dr. Seuss with law enforcement from across the region reading books by the famed author to first through fifth grade students.
On February 21, the Office commemorated Black History Month with a lunchtime heritage event. This year’s presentation featured welcoming remarks from Criminal Division Chief Lawrence Middleton, and presentations by AUSA Robyn Bacon, Assistant Deputy of Probation and Pretrial Services, Natasha Mingo, and former AUSA Bayron Gilchrist of the Air Quality Management District.
The Office hosted the 17th Annual United States Attorney Law Enforcement Awards ceremony on November 2nd at LAPD Ronald Deaton Hall to express our gratitude to an exceptional group of dedicated law enforcement professionals who have gone above and beyond in support of our collective mission to safeguard our communities and enforce the law.
This year’s ceremony honored 264 members of federal, state and local law enforcement from 26 law enforcement agencies including many local departments and multiple agencies from Canada. The LAPD Color Guard began the ceremony this year followed by a patriotic presentation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) choir. United States Attorney Nick Hanna acted as emcee of the event and LAPD Chief Michel Moore provided welcoming remarks.
Congratulations and thank you to all this year’s awardees.
On October 25th, the Office’s Diversity Committee organized an informative panel discussion on the Sleepy Lagoon Trial of 1942 and the Zoot Suit Riots, events that marked two dark, but historic moments in Los Angeles’ Latino History. The panel, comprised of California Court of Appeal Justice Arthur Gilbert, UCLA Prof. Eric Avila, and journalist Beatriz Velasquez, discussed the intense media, judicial and public bias that surrounded these two significant events.
As part of the office’s ongoing commitment to raising awareness of the opioid epidemic, AUSA Ben Barron spoke at the Red Ribbon Week event on October 24th at St. Vincent School in South Los Angeles about the dangers of drug use. The Red Ribbon campaign was created in response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Around the country, members of the community and schools began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in the United States. Each year, the Red Ribbon campaign serves as a catalyst to rally communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
Victim-Witness Specialist Allison Stafford was honored at Main Justice in Washington D.C. on October 24th with the coveted Attorney General Award for Excellence in victim services.
The Office, along with the FBI, and a coalition of law enforcement agencies and community organizations hosted the 10th Annual Cybercrime Prevention Symposium on October 15th at the California Endowment in Los Angeles.
The day-long event for more than 450 educators, parents, and middle and high school students marked 10 years of providing cutting-edge information on cyber safety and digital reputation.
This year’s Symposium addressed a wide range of cyber-related security and safety topics with speakers conducting informative discussions on issues that included online exploitation of children and teens, cyberbullying, the implications of digital communication on health, digital reputation, navigating peer pressure, cyber-abuse, internet dangers, and sextortion. The event this year also featured an interactive presentation on sextortion by students from the Theatre Department at California State University, Northridge as well as the traditional lunchtime appearance of surprise of a celebrity guest. This year attendees met and heard a presentation from 15-year-old actor Jack Dylan Grazer from the movie Shazam and Beautiful Boy. Jack took questions from the audience and shared his own experience being cyberbullied.
The Office participated in the 3rd Annual National Coffee with a Cop Day on October 3, 2018. Each year, this is our opportunity to go out into the community we serve and enjoy a cup of coffee with our local law enforcement partners to continue to build on those important relationships. U.S. Attorney Hanna spent the morning with deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
USAO staff and AUSAs attended the Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at Dodger Stadium on September 17th. First Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Wilkison was honored on the field along with federal and law enforcement agencies around the region.
This summer, the Office instituted a program to utilize therapy dogs to provide support and comfort to child and adult crime victims using the services of the non-profit Pet Prescription Team.
The mission and philosophy of the Pet Prescription Team is, “Healing Hearts Through Pets.” The therapeutic use of pets has gained increasing attention in recent years for a wide variety of situations – victims of crime, people with AIDS or cancer, the elderly, and the mentally ill.
The Office recognizes that, unlike people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention. Animals bring out our nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted. Thus, our crime victims feel supported, they feel safe and our cases get better! Use of therapy dogs in prosecutorial agencies has shown that the successful prosecution of a victim case often depends on the ability of a victim to accurately report and then testify regarding the details of the victimization. With children—especially traumatized children—this can be extremely difficult. Trained therapy dogs help.
On August 15, the Office provided two community outreach training sessions on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, also known as RLUIPA. The Civil Rights Section of the Office enforces this act in partnership with our colleagues from the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C.
The morning session was held at LAPD Olympic Division station and the evening session at Mount Saint Mary’s University. RLUIPA experts speaking included AUSA Acrivi Coromelas from the Civil Rights Section and Ryan Lee, a trial attorney in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Civil Rights Division in Washington D.C.
The events were intended to provide information regarding RLUIPA and to hear from community members about how land use regulations affect religious groups and how to effectively combat any barriers to places of worship in the Central District of California.
In June 2018, the Justice Department announced the RLUIPA initiative to protect the ability of houses of worship and other religious institutions to build, expand, buy, or rent facilities. The overall goal of the initiative is to increase the Department’s enforcement of the statute. The initiative also seeks to strengthen awareness of the land use provisions of RLUIPA through community outreach, such as this event.
As part of the initiative, the Department has further worked to identify barriers that religious organizations encounter in developing places to worship. Educational materials were provided to the attendees at the events informing them about their rights under RLUIPA. The engagement of religious leaders and organizations will help the Office and the Department as a whole be more effective in bringing federal resources to bear on this important issue.
For more information, see https://www.justice.gov/crt/religious-land-use-and-institutionalized-persons-act
On August 14th, U.S. Attorney Hanna addressed the 27th Annual California Gang Investigators (CGIA) Conference in Anaheim. Each year, CGIA hosts nearly 700 local, state and international law enforcement officers and prosecutors in a multi-disciplinary training on gangs and gang violence issues from the national perspective. This year, in his welcoming remarks, the U.S. Attorney outlined the many successes our office has had over the past year in the prosecution of gang, gun and RICO cases in federal court. In addition, he renewed our commitment to work with our local and federal law enforcement partners to address the issue of gang and gun violence in our nation.
On August 2nd, the office celebrated National Night Out 2018 with events across the Central District. National Night Out is designed to enhance our partnership with law enforcement and the community. The goal is to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood unity and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Law Enforcement Coordinator David Cons attended the LAPD event in Olympic Division.