CAREERS: My Big Break

In the fall of 1996, the LA Police Department was trying to move

past the O.J. Simpson trial and out of the spotlight of racial and

social tensions. The Police Commission wanted a crisis expert to handle

the media surrounding the investigation of detective Mark Fuhrman's

allegations about LAPD abuses. On October 1, I was hired as the first

noncivil servant public affairs director for the commission. Previously,

I handled crisis communications for US intervention in Somalia, Bosnia

and Rwanda. But that was only war. This was the LAPD.

As it turned out, the Fuhrman investigation barely created a blip on the

media radar. It was the other raging fires that had me jumping. For

three years, I faced a hostile media and a skeptical public on such

crises as the firing of the city's first black police chief, the North

Hollywood shootout, a work slow-down by rank-and-file officers, scores

of officer-involved shootings, the attack at a Jewish day care center,

and the corruption scandal at the now infamous Rampart Division.

I wouldn't have the job I do today - handling corporate reputation for a

dollars 10 billion healthcare company - had I not dealt with those


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