The union officials stated that there are “dangerously low police patrol staffing levels that are endangering the lives of residents, visitors, business and police officers in Los Angeles”.
This they believe has played a major role in the increase in both violent crime (murders) increased gang violence and property related crimes.
The union has called on Los Angeles city councilman Mitch Englander, who chairs the City’s Public Safety Committee, to call for a public hearing and for Chief Beck to address the above noted concerns.
Englander stated that on Friday he would make a formal motion before all council members.
Union officials (which represent rank and file members) also stated that they have “lost all
confidence ” in Beck’s ability to lead the LAPD.
How can we not remember when Caspar the Friendly Ghost was patrolling the streets in Northeast Los Angeles?
Both Chief Beck and Mayor Garcetti, for an extended period of time, refused to acknowledge that there was a major increase in murders, aggravated assaults, other violent crimes and also property related crimes within the city of Los Angeles. It was excellent investigative reporting by the LA Times that disclosed the true and accurate crime statistics.
Chief’s Beck response to the increase in violent crime was to increase the amount of police officers assigned to the elite Metro Unit to 200 officers. Where did these police officers come from? They were recruited from various police divisions which resulted in the decrease of patrol officers within those divisions.
This is not to say that these officers assigned to the Metro unit don’t do a good job; however they are deployed to hot bed areas within the city only after a series of violent crimes has taken place. It is not like each of their marked patrol vehicles has an attached Crystal Ball where they can predict the next location of crime. These Metro patrol units can be redeployed at any time when other area’s within the city become hot beds.
More recently Chief Beck established the new Community Relations Division (CRD). This new established unit is being referred to as completely dysfunctional and a complete waste of taxpayers’ dollars by rank and file members.
Sources stated that Beck allocated one million taxpayers’ dollars for this new division. As with the Metro unit police officers were recruited from various police divisions which resulted in yet more vacant patrol positions. It is unclear what the true goals are with CRD.
It can be stated that they are also referred to as the TWEET Division. The police officers assigned to CRD attend police sponsored functions at various police divisions where they take photos of the event and then tweet them off to Lord knows who.
CRD wants to gain credit where credit has not been earned. Example in point: recently CRD officers went to various businesses in the Hollenbeck area. They took photos with community business owners and managers and then left the immediate area to return to their office.
Initially they were assigned to assist the Hollenbeck division Senior Lead officers with walking foot patrols. Is taking photographs part of their foot patrol responsibilities?
Now the Captain in charge of this new Community Relations Division has requested an additional 70 officers as noted in her 2016-2017 budget request. This would cause even more police officers to be removed from various police divisions.
This type of irresponsible decision making on Chief Beck’s part will only continue to endanger our communities, increase violent crime rates even higher and place our residents and police officers in harms way.
Now these police officers assigned to CRD want a pay grade increase to that of patrol officers who Protect and Serve our communities each and every day because they feel photo ops within the community are equal to doing old fashioned police patrol work. I might add that these officers are not protecting the welfare and safety of our community and their peers.
The police union also noted that there are more than two hundred police officers doing clerical duties. It is time that the city of Los Angeles hire people to fill these clerical positions and then reassign these sworn police officers to various police divisions to do the job they were trained to do.
Another concern raised by the police union was the fact that LAPD needs to provide training for individuals who want to become civilian jailers. This would allow 60-70 sworn police officers currently assigned to LAPD jail divisions to return to various police divisions to patrol the streets of the city of Los Angeles.
Now is the time for residents, stakeholders and taxpayers to demand that Chief Beck immediately deploy more police officers to each and every police division within the city of Los Angeles to ensure that there are adequate staffing levels to patrol all of the streets within our city 7 days a week twenty- four hours a day.
(Caroline Aguirre is a retired 24 year law enforcement officer- State of California. LAPD family member, community activist and neighborhood watch captain.)