HPD's Nationally Recognized Community Affairs Unit
"To engage with our Community in innovative and creative ways by implementing the core philosophy of community oriented policing in measurable real-world terms."
The Hawthorne Police Department’s Community Affairs Unit (CAU) serves as the focal contact point for a multitude of neighborhood organizations, parent groups, and individuals that want to make a difference in the community. Members of the CAU are out in the community doing education, outreach and helping to organize and plant the seeds of change with regards to making Hawthorne a great place to live, work and play. Whether it’s an anti-drug presentation in the morning, a visit from Scotti the dog in the afternoon or a neighborhood watch meeting in the evening, the CAU is there. Members of the CAU serve as the initial point of non-emergency contact for community questions and concerns. CAU members strive to be accessible and able to offer advice and help people to work together as a community to solve problems.
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Meet our Staff
Lieutenant Robbie Williams is a 23-year veteran with the Hawthorne Police Department and is currently our Community Affairs Unit Supervisor. Lieutenant Williams’ leadership focus is bridging better relationships between our police officers and our citizenry, collaborative problem solving and crime reduction. Lieutenant Williams effectuates these objectives through perpetual community engagement, regularly hosting Crime Prevention Workshops for our business owners and community members and by conducting Police-Community Dialog Workshops. In addition, Lieutenant Williams commands the Hawthorne South Bay Platoon; which is a trained and equipped mobile field force that responses to localized civil unrest and natural or man-made disasters. Lieutenant Williams past assignments include Patrol Watch Commander, Special Victims Investigation Supervisor, and Robbery & Homicide Investigation.
Lieutenant Williams is an experienced adjunct instructor who has taught Community Orientated Policing and Introduction to Criminal Justice at the community college level and is a recipient of the Homer Garret Community Service Award (2015).
Prior to his career in Law Enforcement, Lieutenant Williams worked as a Mental Health Social Worker at Portals Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles, California. The center featured Transitional Residential Services, a Day Treatment Program and Vocational Training Services for individuals suffering from mental illness.
Lieutenant Williams is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master of Science Degree in Counseling with a Specialization in Marriage Family Therapy. Lieutenant Williams is also a graduate of the Sherman Block Leadership Institute, and CSU Los Angeles-Edmund G. Brown Institute of Public Policy -“Problem Oriented Policing”.
Sergeant Chris Cognac is a 26-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department. He is currently assigned to the Community Affairs Unit but has served in numerous capacities from uniform patrol, to sexual assault and crimes against children detective, to cooperative resource unit, to aviation bureau, to undercover narcotics supervisor.
Cognac is a true believer in the ability of individual officers making a difference in the communities they serve. He uses his networking and communication skills as a force multiplier, putting people who want to help the community with those in need of an opportunity.
Most recently, he has begun to take the simple concept of “Coffee with a Cop” nationwide. He has assisted officers and police departments across the country in implementing their own events that aim to build good communications and trust within those communities.
Cognac is a graduate of the Delinquency Control Institute at the University of Southern California. In his spare time, he is a food and travel writer for magazines and newspapers and develops new food television concepts. He also hosted his own Food Network TV show, The Hungry Detective.
Sgt Chris Cognac runs the Community Policing Unit at the Hawthorne Police in Los Angeles County California. He is one of the co creators of the high successful international community policing project called “Coffee with a Cop, he and his fellow officers also run a program for low income children to be able to play ice hockey . Sgt Cognac is a former host on the Food Network (The Hungry Detective, Judge on Iron Chef, etc) and raised $20,000 in 7 days for Yanet Alvarez. Sergeant Cognac is a veteran of the United States Army and served in Operation Desert Storm. He has a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice from the Union Institute. Sergeant Cognac retired in July 2018. He continues to serve as a Reserve Officer with HPD
Police Service Officer Lameka Bell is an 23-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department and is currently assigned to our Community Affairs Unit. PSO Bell is also the first civilian K-9 handler with our police department. Bell’s partner is officer Scottie. Scottie is one of two Facility Service dogs assigned to a Police Department. You can always find Bell and Scottie at any City of Hawthorne Community event, at schools with Gabby the talking police car, assisting with victims of crime, Churches, Senior centers, hospitals, or helping out at the station.
PSO Bell has worked in our Traffic Bureau, Detective Bureau, and Jail. PSO Bell helps organize and run the Coffee with a Cop program, The Apartment building owners seminar, and the Hawthorne Force Youth hockey team.
She is the founder and personally runs the Power Project, a program that "provide girls from underserved communities between the ages of 9 to 11, the opportunity to grow using mentorship to build self esteem, positive life imagery, with the belief system that they CAN accomplish any goal they set and work hard to achieve."