LAPD officer steps up commitment to his health

In the South Central area of Los Angeles, the Harvard Park neighborhood has long had a reputation as one of the toughest neighborhoods in LA County.

But things are changing. In September, the Los Angeles Police Department placed about 10 more officers in park itself as an expansion of its Community Safety Partnership. The goal is for their presence alone to help make a difference, with the chance for residents to trust them even more once they get to know them.

The American Heart Association got involved, too. The AHA set up a pilot program with the LAPD and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks that encourages officers and residents to walk together on Saturday mornings, giving them another way to bond. The second and fourth Saturday of each month also include health screenings.

Marcus Whitehead is one of the LAPD officers assigned to Harvard Park. He had so much fun at the inaugural AHA event that he was excited to return the next time. He wandered over to the health screening area and, just for the heck of it, strapped a blood pressure cuff around his arm.


At 34, Whitehead still