The last time we heard from Emada and Phil Tingirides, they discussed the tense days they spent with their blended family of six children holed up in their Irvine home as La Palma's Christopher Dorner roamed Southern California hunting for cops and those like Phil Tingirides he believed had wronged him.
The Weekly is hearing from the Tingirides under much, much happier circumstances now.
Washington, D.C.-based Governing is recognizing the Los Angeles Police Department commander and his LAPD sergeant wife as 2015 Public Officials of the Year. Besides being profiled in the magazine's December issue (and on governing.com/poy), the Tingirideses will be honored at a dinner Wednesday at the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel in D.C.
They will be in heady company. Also being recognized as Public Officials of the Year are California Governor Jerry Brown, New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, Prince George's County, Md., County Executive Rushern Baker III, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, Wayne County, Mich., County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, New York Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO N General Manager Joseph Calabrese.
Thankfully, the honor for the Tingirideses has nothing to do with the Dorner nightmare. From Governing:
As recent events from Ferguson to Baltimore to Staten Island have made clear, cities are struggling to get it right on community-police relations. One outstanding model in Los Angeles' troubled Watts neighborhood provides hope. Since 2011, two LAPD officers–Phil and Emada Tingirides–have pioneered the Community Safety Partnership program, a collaboration with the city Housing Authority that seeks to improve relations between police and residents of public housing projects in Watts. Their efforts have built trust in police and caused crime to plummet: Shootings by youths fell by two-thirds, and homicides dropped nearly to zero in the housing developments where the program has been in place.
"Emada and I are very humbled and honored to be recognized by Governing magazine," Phil Tingirides tells the Weekly. "The accomplishments in the Watts Community of South Los Angeles are the results of many people and many organizations working together in partnership to change a community. Emada and I are but a small part of the team.
"I want to thank all the officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, Joel Lopez from HACLA [Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles], an amazing group of community leaders from Watts who have courageously worked to create a positive destiny for our community."
Tingirides was a captain on the force who chaired the panel that recommended Dorner's termination from the LAPD. Tingirides was also a target named in Dorner's infamous online manifesto, which the public found out about shortly after the LAPD washout murdered 28-year-old Monica Quan and her fiance, 27-year-old Keith Lawrence, in the parking garage of their Irvine condominium complex on Feb. 3, 2013. Quan's father had also been an LAPD captain who represented Dorner during the termination process.
In his "Last Resort" manifesto, Dorner wrote of Tingirides: "Your day has come," "You're going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him, especially his NAME!!!" and "Your lack of ethics and conspiring to wrong a just individual are over."
The Tingirideses had only been married a couple of years when they were directed by LAPD brass to stay inside their home with their children–and with officers on guard outside–during the nine days Dorner terrorized the Southland.
"Out of everything, you can find something good, and we did in this case," Phil Tingirides said at a press conference after Dorner met his end. "It brought our family closer together."