On December 1st, a webinar on “2020 Public Safety Updates in the Era of COVID-19 and Post US Election” was held in a conversational format with longtime former LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara as the speaker, moderated by / Japan House Los Angeles President Yuko Kaifu.


Terry Hara
President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber Of Commerce

Joined the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) in 1980. He became the first Asian-American to become Deputy Chief of the LAPD in 2008. He has been running a consulting company after retiring in 2015. He is a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun Award from the Japanese government.

Police are entering an era of change

2020 saw a deterioration in public safety as riots and looting occurred nationwide including the Los Angeles area amidst the spread of coronavirus . When asked by Ms. Kaifu about police efforts in the current unstable situation, Mr. Hara replied, “Society is changing. Police must respond to the needs of the community. Police are public servants. Currently, the coronavirus is having a big impact on Los Angeles, and the police must do their best to deal with the issues that arise. The police are a lot more flexible than the public may think,” emphasizing that the police are an organization that serves the community.

To avoid becoming involved in a crime

Next, when Ms. Kaifu asked, “The Japanese police interact with the community by such methods as teaching martial arts, but what about the American police?” Mr. Hara responded, “Maintaining relationships with the community is one of our top priorities. The LAPD has a variety of youth programs. For instance, officers actively coach local youth in basketball, karate, soccer, and judo on a volunteer basis. As you can see from this, I want everyone to know that most police officers are good people. It seems that this is difficult to grasp just by watching the news” speaking to the point that while the George Floyd incident has caused a widespread negative image of the police, that this was the doing of just a handful of officers.

Further, Ms. Kaifu touched upon the fact that sales of firearms were growing nationwide, and asked Mr. Hara for comment. “If you’re actually going to make a purchase, make sure you learn how to handle it first. Nothing is more important than training when it comes to handling a weapon. In addition, you need to consider your environment. If you have children in the house, you need to be careful about where to keep it.”

Additionally, regarding measures to prevent being involved in a crime before the holiday season, Mr. Hara advised, “Always be vigilant. Cars should be parked in areas that are safe and with a lot of foot traffic. Stay within view of others. Also, if you are going to be away from home, don’t announce the fact that you are traveling on social media. Share your travel memories after returning from your destination.” Finally, the webinar ended with Mr. Hara sharing his own wisdom of keeping the contents of your wallet to a minimum to avoid having your personal information tracked.