Mommy Blog Expert: 6th Candle - Monday's Hanukkah Celebration at Los Angeles Police Department Training Center

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

6th Candle - Monday's Hanukkah Celebration at Los Angeles Police Department Training Center

Whoa, I'm way behind schedule with my Chanukah reports.  Last night we lit the 6th candle -- and we've already lit the 7th light this evening -- and I still haven't told you all about the unusual holiday celebration I took my teens to yesterday.
My Eldest Son in the Lobby of LAPD's Ahmanson Training Center
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Can you think of anything more unique than celebrating Hanukkah at the L.A. Police Department (LAPD) Training Center in Los Angeles?  Sure there were potato latkes and sufganiot (jelly doughnuts) to eat plus a DJ playing Chanukah music and a menorah lighting, but that wasn't what made this so unforgettable.

Instead, what my kids and I discovered was a truly educational and meaningful event where my kids and I celebrated the Festival of Lights while we all learned something new about what it takes to train our city's police force.  After today, we really had a much greater appreciation for those who serve to protect us, literally putting their lives on the line during a typical day's work.
LAPD Officer Herman, Who is Also a Mom, is Flanked by My Daughters
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

This is definitely something I think we will always remember.  Though the activities, organized by Chabad of South La Cienega (SOLA) which is affiliated with the worldwide Chabad organization only ran from 12:30 till 3 p.m., we did so much in this short period of time.  

Upon arrival at LAPD's Ahmanson Recruit Training facility, older children had the chance to visit a number of static displays from various LAPD units, while toddlers enjoyed a table where they could work on safety-oriented coloring pages.  The kids also got to talk one on one about their jobs with some amazing active police officers such as Lisa Herman.  Officer Herman, BTW, is a police officer and a mom of four children who will be participating in the 250 mile bicycle Police Unity Tour in Washington, D.C. next May to help raise awareness about officers killed in the line of duty.

A Most Memorable Sight to See All in One Place:
Police Academy Cadets in Formation and the Lighting of the Menorah
Photos by Janis Brett Elspas,

A Real Working LAPD Police Car
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Big kids and small ones loved the chance to actually sit in the seat of a real police squad car that is currently used by the LAPD.  These are definitely not the mock ups of police cars you may have seen at children's museums.

An LAPD Officer-Handler With his Bomb K-9 Dog
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Animal-loving kids and adults (like me) enjoyed meeting a Bomb Officer and his very friendly, bomb-sniffing K9 dog.  Party goers also had the chance to visit with two of LAPD's mounted police officers and their conversation-starting horses.  

As if that wasn't enough, during the afternoon, the kids and adults were thrilled by a thunderous fly over of an LAPD helicopter just for them.
My Eldest Triplet Daughter is a Horse Lover So She Really Loved This
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas, 

Families got to tour the Academy's grounds, both indoors and outside, too.  The kids were struck by the military precision and discipline of the drill teams as they marched in the yard as much as they were amazed at how studious the officers in training were in the classrooms.   Surprisingly, during the walk through the facility we saw a wide range of beautiful works of art, murals, sculptures, and textile wall hangings.
Among the Many Works of Art at the LAPD Ahmanson Training Facility
  • A Sculpture Memorial for Those Lost in the Line of Duty
  • The LAPD's Iconic "To Protect and to Serve" Emblem
  • One of Many Colorful Painted Wall Murals
Photos by Janis Brett Elspas,

On the tour we stopped by the center's mini museum display in the hallway and learned about the history behind The Gamewell Police Box (phone box).  This old-fashioned black box opened with a single large key and it used to be on the streets of Los Angeles and cities around the U.S. and was used by police to call the station.  In modern times this relic of the past has been replaced by state-of-the-art technology and communications.

The LAPD's Antique Police Phone Box On Display
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

A special treat for moms and dads only was the opportunity to attend a special LAPD Firearms & Tactics Section law enforcement simulation program designed just for us.  Here, using the same $135,000 high tech IES simulation system that the department uses to train its cadets, I got to role play as a police officer arriving at the scene of a hostage situation in progress.  Holding an object that looked similar in shape to a real gun I virtually responded to the crime scene I was dropped from a helicopter.  Then I repelled down the side of a building and climbed into a window.  As I stepped down into the room I suddenly saw a gunman holding a hostage -- I had only a few short seconds to think and react quickly to save the victim and my own life.  

The LAPD Firearms & Tactics Section Expert Leads Our Simulation Experience
Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

Having to process so many different factors going on around me really quickly before reacting was unbelievably hard.  Ultimately to experience all that a real police officer goes through to do the right thing gave me a first-hand understanding of what every cadet at the Academy must practice to perfection.   It also helped me get an idea what it must be like for our police officers when they actually encounter stressful and life-threatening situations not unlike the one presented to me.

All in all, what an incredible day this was.  I would have never thought in a million years that my family and I would be attending a Hanukkah celebration like this and that we would enjoy it and learn so much too.  Truly, this was the experience of a lifetime and probably the most extraordinary holiday party we've ever been to.

Don't miss MommyBlogExpert's Other Hanukkah Posts 
5th Nite of Chanukah - An Arctic Celebration for Special Needs Kids

We enjoyed this most exceptional Hanukkah celebration at the L.A. Police Department's Academy.  Now it's your turn, leave a comment and tell about the most unusual or memorable Chanukah experience you and your family have experienced.

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1 comment:

Sarah Auerswald said...

What a small world - I think I know that mom cop in your photo up top - I think her kid goes to my son's school!

And I am late to the party here, but I just realized you were here in LA, too. Let's connect!