Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) Lieutenant Reginald Evans describes himself as a private person. Yet since February, he’s served as the primary communication source between the police department and the public.
“I’m the most private public information officer there is,” Evans told the Courier. “Workwise, you’ll see me doing everything I need to do, but you won’t see me sharing my vacation pictures on social media.”
Evans assumed duties as BHPD’s public information officer (PIO) earlier this year, succeeding Captain Giovanni Trejo. In this role, he oversees the department’s social media accounts and media relations, which requires appearing in public to deliver statements, composing press releases, and managing the department’s social media while relaying the particulars of police investigations to the city’s approximately 30,000 residents.
When a member of the media contacts Evans for information about, say, a home burglary, auto theft or antisemitic vandalism, he provides all the details that can legally be shared. He ensures timely, fact-based, and reliable information is being conveyed by the city’s law enforcement to the wider, concerned community.
“In the end,” he said, “it’s all just pushing information out.”
The information-sharing of the BHPD’s PIO is complemented by the department’s alert and notification system, which residents can sign up for by texting “BHPDalert” to 888777. Since the alert system was introduced, the department has fielded far fewer non-emergency calls– helicopters overhead typically generate a call into the dispatch center–ultimately making Evans’ job easier.
“By providing pertinent crime information via the alerts,” he said, “there has been a noticeable decrease in non-emergent calls to the police department’s dispatch center, which allows our staff to focus on emergency calls.”
Along with freeing up police officers to focus on more urgent duties, the alerts have led to a more informed public which Evans is in favor of. He spoke positively of mobile apps like Citizen that provide members of the public with real-time safety alerts.
“Applications such as this have their purpose,” he said.
There’s also the risk of misinformation being spread. It’s both real and inevitable, leading one to ask how the PIO pushes back on that.
“There is no formula to combat the spread of misinformation,” Evans said. “Combating the spread of misinformation on social media requires a multifaceted and nuanced approach that balances the First Amendment’s principles with the need to protect individuals and society from harm caused by false information. It is crucial to balance efforts with the principles of free speech and not use them to suppress legitimate dissent and criticism.”
Evan’s no stranger to protecting and serving others. Before joining the police force, he was a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy–the military’s equivalent of a medic.
“It was good,” he said of his time in the military. “Everyone serves for different reasons. I enjoyed my time.”
To date, he has spent 15 years in law enforcement, including 12 years with the BHPD–though he declined to say where he worked before joining BHPD.
At BHPD, he works alongside more than 200 highly skilled professionals–145 sworn police officers and 98 full-time non-sworn personnel–ensuring the safety and security of the city. In addition to his posting as PIO, he’s also an executive officer with the department’s Professional Standards Unit, which oversees internal affairs.
Familiar with the inner workings of the local department, Evans spoke with the Courier about policing at a time when the profession is highly stigmatized and facing unprecedented recruitment challenges, saying the challenges of recruiting entry-level talent is one all professional fields are currently experiencing.
“It’s no different from what every other profession is facing,” he said.
He acknowledged the need to bring new officers into the fold and highlighted BHPD’s attempts to remain competitive with other city’s police departments. This effort includes offering a signing bonus for applicants: $15,000 for entry-level officers and $20,000 for lateral police officers.
Additionally, under the leadership of BHPD Chief Mark Stainbrook and with the support of former City Mayor Lili Bosse, the department has joined the national movement–known as 30×30–to increase the representation of women in law enforcement. The goal is to have 30% representation of women in public safety by the year 2030.
The husband and father of two young children, ages seven and nine, Evans is grateful for the time he spends not in uniform. When he’s not reading, writing, exercising, he’s spending quality time doing fun activities with his family.
“Everything centers around family,” he said.
He’s similarly dedicated to the city of Beverly Hills.
“It’s nice to be in the community and serving the people,” he said.