National Police Week 2011: Tom Le Veque

Detective Sergeant Tom Le Veque has served with the Arcadia Police Department since 1987, promoting to Sergeant in 1991. Prior to that, Tom was a Police Officer for the City of San Marino Police Department from 1984-1987.

He has embraced the media and tweets through these accounts: @ArcadiaPD and @TRLeVeque

1: How do you prefer for your day? Do you have a special routine?

One of the best aspects of a Law Enforcement career is that, on the whole, it is anything but routine. You may have your day in and day out activity, but every call for service, every contact, and every investigation may have similarities, but they are always unique in some way, posing new challenges and an ongoing need to learn and improve the way you do business.

Personally, I like to have things planned out and have some structure, but you learn early on that you must adapt and overcome anything that is thrown your way in Law Enforcement. In my current position, the only two routines to almost every day include a morning meet with our investigators to discuss current status on case work, and later, I review and assign incoming cases for investigation. This helps keep all of our personnel informed of any crime trends and improve on the team aspect, keeping us all working together.

Coordinating our Social Media presence is an ancillary duty for me. It is not an assignment for the Detective Supervisor, but rather a duty that I took on voluntarily. It is important for anyone who coordinates this type of activity to not allow it to consume your work day!

Take advantage of tools such as alerts and keyword searches, along with platforms that allow you to write posts and schedule them for future dates and times, as well as checking multiple accounts from a single resource. I make attempts to check our Social Media sites at least several times throughout the day. On average, this may only take 10-15 minutes at a time, but is repeated sporadically which adds up to about an hour per day. Writing and posting blog posts may take some additional time.

2: When did you realize that you wanted to be become an officer?

As far back as I can remember I wanted to become a Police Officer. I enjoy telling the story about my mom giving me a framed crayon picture on the day of my academy graduation that I drew in early grade-school, “When I grow up, I want to be a Police Officer.” The drawing was that of a Police Officer and his patrol car.

3: Can you give us a brief overview of your law enforcement career?

I entered Law Enforcement at the age of 14 as a Police Explorer and was lucky enough to be offered the full-time job of Police Cadet at age 18 by the City of San Marino (CA) Police Department.  At 201/2, San Marino PD sponsored my academy training with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. I graduated from the academy and worked for several years in San Marino, to later be hired as a lateral transfer Police Officer by the City of Arcadia (CA) Police Department in 1987. Working in Patrol, Traffic, and as a Field Training Officer, has all helped pave the way to promotion to Sergeant in 1991. I have worked in and supervised many assignments to include: Patrol, Field Training, Traffic & Motors, SWAT, Detective Bureau, regional burglary team, and a regional narcotics team. My career has been very rewarding and currently, I am assigned as our Detective Bureau Supervisor.

4: Which trials/cases still haunts you till today?

Haunting? None that have reached that stage. There are many that still remain vividly in my mind, such as the first fatal collision that I investigated, or the first time that you are cross-examined on the stand. I think that it is important to learn from all of these experiences and to improve how you do business or approach a situation.

There are two that stand out the most for me: appearing in federal court as a defendant in a use of force case many years ago was a very intimidating experience. Knowing in my mind that my actions were proper and justified kept me in the game. The case was quick and dismissed counts against my partner and me, but nerve racking nonetheless. The other case involved having a search warrant quashed in a “meth lab” investigation. Having conducted many investigations and authored many warrants that particular case still sits as a question in my mind.

5: If you have a blog, how did you get started? Who or what inspired you to blog?

About five years ago, our Police Association was involved in some intense negotiations and we were looking for a venue, other than traditional media, to “tell our story” to the community. I turned to the Internet and discovered several local blogs that included political, crime, and community information that were gaining readership in our area.

I began participating by contributing comments and engaging with folks on the various sites on behalf of our POA. This was the start of my learning about Social Media and understanding the potential benefits that Social Media had for Law Enforcement agencies. Aside from websites, there were not many agencies that were active in any way on the Internet. Our Chief was not too keen on the idea of a Department blog, so I started one in the name of the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association. There were some growing pains, but this blog ran and grew for two years, communicating on behalf of the POA and unofficially for the Department.

In early 2009, Chief Bob Sanderson approached me, giving the green light for an “official” Department Social Media presence which included the Arcadia Police Department News and Information Blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and was quickly followed by our participation in Nixle.

Our various platforms allow us great ways to engage with and share information with our community and well beyond. I am very proud of the work that we have done and do indeed consider the Arcadia Police Department a leader in the area of Social Media and Law Enforcement.

6: If you could trade places with a cartoon character for one day, who would that be?

Never really thought about that one…Garfield, a well-taken care of cat who loves Italian food!