Glen Starks/News editor/@gstarksviking15
“If it bleeds it leads,” said Sgt. Brad Johnson, when referring to the information requested the most from the media relations department at Long Beach Police Department. His reference was to crimes involving assaults and murders.
The Viking News hosted a question and answer session with Johnson and public information officer Marlene Arrona of the LBPD on Wednesday May 11, in P111 at LAC.
Student reporter Carlos Ochoa asked Johnson what type of psychological training and education are provided to new and current officers. Johnson said the department issues a 500 question psychological test and oral interview to assess mental capacity in dealing with stressful situations. There are psychological therapists available. “Police officers are human being’s. When you sign up you have a duty to do, but people do slip through the cracks,” said Johnson.
Johnson and Arrona work with the LBPD’s media information department. The department is responsible for handling media requests, organizational management of information released by the LBPD and follow-up requests for additional information by the media.
“Accuracy and consistency are the two things we live by when releasing information to the public,” Johnson said. In addition, the department sets up press conferences and manages the social-media websites used by the LBPD that include Facebook, Twitter, Nixle and the city’s website longbeach.gov/police.
In a response to a student reporter’s question, Arrona said, “Once a criminal case goes to the District Attorney’s Office, we will not provide any additional information about the case as we don’t want to compromise the integrity of the investigation.”
Johnson added, “An immediate threat to public safety is the only time when information is released that could potentially compromise parts of an ongoing investigation and there are meetings and discussions that take place to review that specific information.”
Johnson said communication with his department is preferred by email so a trail of information is stated.
Johnson also talked about the problem most police departments are facing with instituting body cameras for their officers. He said police agencies are struggling with how to store the files of video history.
“I would not want a body camera during the first five years of my career. I was young and not as experienced. I do support the use of body cameras now,” Johnson said.
The PCC reporting district code for the longbeach.gov/police website is 393 and the LAC’s is 675. The website to view crime statistics for specific parts of the city is crimereports.com. The site is not controlled by the city of Long Beach or the LBPD.