Santa Monica PD is a majority minority police department, and the agency works hard to make certain the department reflects the community it serves.
Chief Batista: "I’ve been in Santa Monica two years. Before I got here, the team embarked on a path to make sure they had a very inclusive and culturally diverse work force — for both sworn staff and professional staff. When you walk down the hallways, it’s so great because you get to see a little bit of everyone represented every day. Having a diverse department that reflects the community is so very important. We recently needed someone who could speak Russian, and a member of our team was [able to] step up and meet the moment.
We strive to ensure we bring in a little bit of culture into everything we do. We had an awards ceremony not too long ago; it was a very formal event with classical music, but we also had mariachis to start off the celebration!
Our number of women is very high in comparison to other departments across the country, and this [increasing the number of female officers] is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I was raised by a single mother. I have three sisters, and my grandmother played a huge role in my life. My wife will retire with a 20-year career in law enforcement. It is vitally important to celebrate and recognize women for their strength of character and skill. Their contributions to public safety are immeasurable; they are so successful at going into highly charged situations and coming out with good results. I credit this to their ability to think through the problem, their communication and engagement skills.
Finally, I’ll say once we bring women and minorities into the department, we must do everything we can to welcome them, accommodate and support them and ensure they can succeed."
As the discussion continued, Chief Batista encouraged members of HOLA to set clear personal goals for their careers and emphasized the need for alignment between one’s vision and actions to reach those goals. He suggested Axon employees build a personal road map to success, and encouraged the group to not take career setbacks personally. Persistence, Chief Batista explained, is the key to getting to where you want to be.
He closed by remarking on the continued importance of non-lethal technology for public safety.
Chief Batista: "I want you to hear from me directly as one of your customers, what you are doing here is special. You are helping to move our profession forward and driving forward momentum for public safety. We need our public safety personnel to be beacons of good. If we are armed with the right kind of less-than-lethal tools, this allows us to come out of highly charged critical incidents with good outcomes, where everyone walks away safe. In these precarious situations, we meet the moment and succeed in the mission of keeping the public safe. Your work matters, and there are police chiefs and officers relying on your thoughtfulness and brain power to help drive those successful outcomes."