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A park’s play area is named for the LAPD officer who was shot to death during a February raid in the area. It is hoped to rename the entire park after him.

By Jean-Paul Renaud, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 1:39 PM PDT, July 26, 2008

Several hundred police police officers, San Fernando Valley residents and dignitaries gathered this morning at West Valley Park in Reseda to rename the children’s play area in honor slain SWAT Officer Randal D. Simmons, who was killed in the line of duty and has been hailed as hero for his police work and community service.

Councilman Dennis Zine, who unveiled a plaque as the fallen officer’s wife and children looked on, is behind a movement to rename the entire park in honor of Simmons, who was shot to death during a SWAT raid in February at a Winnetka house. “He loved kids, he always loved children, he was a SWAT guy with a huge heart,” Zine said. “This was a perfect connection.” The plaque describes Simmons as a “leading light to his friends and family. He will be sorely missed by all.” Besides his police work, Simmons volunteered on the streets of inner-city neighborhoods where he ministered to children on weekends as part of a church group he founded called Glory Kids Ministries, which steers children away from gangs and toward Christianity. “It was just a way to show continuing respect for Randy and his unique part in helping kids,” Zine said. “That’s why the park was a perfect location.” Zine said he will introduce a motion Tuesday at the Los Angeles City Council to rename the park. jp.renaud@latimes.com Watch the video by clicking the link below abc7 News Video

MEMORIAL BILLBOARDS TO SHOWCASE COMMUNITY THANKS

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 @ 10:07 AM Author:

Los Angeles, July 16 2008 Memorial billboards posted in honor of LAPD Officer Randal Simmons will be installed this week around Southern California. The 20 billboards for the slain officer thank the community for their many expressions of caring and support. “Our family wanted to find a visible way to express our sincere appreciation for the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received from everyone around the world. The cards, flowers and words of condolences are too numerous to count,” said Lisa Simmons, wife of Randal Simmons The first billboard went up today in Los Angeles at Florence Avenue, just west of 5th Avenue, on Clear Channel Outdoor location #2533. “Partnering with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, wewanted to recognize Officer Simmons’ service to Los Angeles and to the nation with these billboards,” said Layne Lawson, Public Affairs Director for Clear Channel Outdoor. The posting of the billboards was donated by Clear Channel Outdoor. Officer Simmons was shot and killed as he and other members of the Los Angeles SWAT Team made entry into a home on February 7, 2008. The team had been deployed to the home after a suspect inside called 911 and claimed to have murdered three family members. As the team entered, the suspect opened fire, striking Officer Simmons and a second officer. The suspect was later shot and killed by another member of the SWAT team as the standoff continued. Officer Simmons had served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 27 years. He is survived by his wife Lisa, two children, parents, and two sisters.

Reseda High magnet school cadets headed for LAPD

Sunday, April 13, 2008 @ 01:04 AM Author:

By Dennis McCarthy, Columnist

Los Angeles’ big three sat under an arch of decorative balloons at Reseda High School on Wednesday morning reading numbers they couldn’t quite believe. Had to be some kind of mistake, the mayor, police chief and school superintendent agreed. Nobody gets these kinds of numbers today. A 100 percent graduation rate, with 97 percent of the 168 students standing in front of them headed for college. Forget it. Can’t be done. Not in public schools where the dropout rate continues to rise. Well, it is being done, and for the third year in a row at the Reseda High Police Academy Magnet. “This is one of those programs you want to model and put in a bottle,” LAUSD Superintendent David Brewer III said as a dozen proud mothers stood off to the side, beaming at their children. Their husbands would have been there, too, they said. But they had to work. “Nothing in life is ever 100 percent, but you guys are 100 percent,” said LAPD Chief William Bratton. “You are this city’s success story.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa walked through rows of students, shaking their hands and calling them an inspiration. “This city is proud of you,” the mayor said, wishing Roberta Weintraub – former LAUSD school board president, who was ill Wednesday – could be there to see what her idea of nurturing home-grown, future LAPD officers in magnet schools had produced. A 100 percent high school graduation rate of boys and girls who think hard work, discipline and respect are something to strive for, not avoid.”My mother wanted to be a police officer when she was young, but she couldn’t,” said 17-year-old cadet Nicole Jovel. “She became a nurse instead. I’m going to be a police officer, an LAPD detective some day.” None of these kids was pushed into this program. It wasn’t their parents’ or teachers’ idea, they say. It’s something they’ve wanted since they were students together at Mulholland Middle School – Reseda High’s feeder school, which has a police magnet program. They say they’re proud being the kids on campus wearing a cadet uniform one day a week for drills, proud of having their own special academic and physical exercise curriculum to prepare them for a career in law enforcement, which about 75 percent of them achieve. Sure, some of the other kids on campus give them a little lip sometimes when they walk by, but not many. “Some kids are disrespectful, but the majority are respectful,” Nicole said. “All of us have friends who wish they had joined with us when they were younger, but now they’re too old as juniors and seniors.” There are police academy magnet programs at five high schools in Los Angeles, including Monroe High in North Hills. More than half the students are girls. “Girl power,” said Lisa Simmons, widow of LAPD SWAT Officer Randal Simmons, who was shot and killed in February during a standoff in Winnetka. She made a special trip to the school to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program and to meet these kids who wanted to follow in her husband’s footsteps in this city. “Randy was the best of the best, and we expect you to be the best of the best,” she said to heavy applause. “Go out into our community and make us proud.” That’s exactly what they plan to do, the kids say – when they get old enough. All of the graduating seniors are still too young to become police officers. “You have to be at least 20<MD+,%30,%55,%70>1/<MD-,%0,%55,%70>2 to join the department, and most of us are only 17,” said Hector Lobos, a cadet sergeant. “I’m going to CSUN, and after I graduate I plan on becoming an LAPD officer.” L.A.’s big three smiled. The numbers didn’t lie. Some things in life are 100 percent. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. dennis.mccarthy@dailynews.com, 818-713-3749

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