The largest union that represents Los Angeles Police Department officers wants cops to focus on serious crimes and shift responsibility for more than two dozen types of non-emergency calls to other city agencies.
As part of upcoming contract negotiations, the Los Angeles Police Protective League released a list of 28 calls that would be answered by unarmed officers or workers from other city agencies or non-profit organizations.
“Police officers are sent to too many calls that are better suited for unarmed service providers,” Craig Lally, the union’s president, said in a statement.
The list is varied and includes calls for nonviolent mental health issues, panhandlers, noise/”party” complaints, non-criminal vehicle collisions, panhandling, illegal vending, gambling, drinking in public, urinating in public and many more.
The union told the Los Angeles Times “such a shift would free up officers to focus more on violent crime, solve more cases and improve officer morale.”
It’s unclear which city agencies or non-profit organizations would handle the non-emergencies or what protocols would be in place in the event an armed police response became required. However, the proposal resembles similar policies implemented in some smaller cities in the wake of massive anti-police protests following the murder of George Floyd.
The city council, which has called for these changes in the past, has already announced its intention to create an Office of Unarmed Response and Safety.
The proposal comes a week after LAPD officers shot and killed a woman who pointed a pellet gun at officers last Wednesday night in the Silver Lake neighborhood. One of the officers, Jacqueline McBride, is the daughter of Jamie McBride, the vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
Los Angles mayor Karen Bass recently called on the LAPD to make several changes, including hiring more detectives to improve the city’s clearance rate and decreasing the length of time it takes to recruit, hire and train officers. She also wants to overhaul the discipline process when officers are accused of misconduct as well as root out and snuff out “right-wing extremism” within the department.
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