Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at a press conference on July 27.
Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at a press conference on July 27. Photo courtesy of @MayorOfLA on Twitter.

Garcetti Announces New Bureau Expansion to “Re-Imagine Policing”

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled the LAPD’s new Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Bureau, which takes CSP programs already in place throughout L.A. and expands them citywide. LAPD Capt. Emada Tingirides will be promoted to deputy chief and will oversee the bureau.

The Community Safety Partnership began in 2011 in four public housing developments in Los Angeles, placing officers in five-year assignments to develop relationships with those communities.

“This new bureau makes [CSP] both a program and a philosophy,” Garcetti said. “It’s a set of policies, procedures and people, but also an approach to how we police.”

Councilmembers Michelle Rodriguez, Curren Price, Joe Buscaino — who used to be an LAPD officer — and Marqueece Harris-Dawson joined Garcetti for the announcement. The councilmembers praised the CSP programs that have launched in their own districts.

A year-long evaluation by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs looked at CSP programs at Nickerson Gardens in Watts and Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights. The study — in which Buscaino served on the advisory committee along with former LAPD Assistant Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur and Gerald Chaleff, former special assistant for the LAPD — found CSP “effectively works by building trust and relationships between CSP officers and community residents and stakeholders.” According to the researchers, CSP improved resident perceptions of safety, reduced dangerous conditions that “historically fueled violent crime and enhanced gang control” and, that by disrupting gang intimidation and control of public spaces, residents were better able to enjoy those spaces.

But the UCLA report isn’t “a love letter,” according to Jorja Leap, the study’s principal investigator. The report also included 45 recommendations for the program.

“In both Nickerson Gardens and Ramona Gardens, the community put us on notice and said, ‘We want policing, but we want a different kind of policing. We want CSP, but we want it to be participatory and accountable,” Leap said.

The announcement repeatedly referenced a recent op-ed from the Los Angeles Times editorial board that called for defunding not the police as a whole, but specifically “warrior” cops, and giving that money to “guardian” cops. The editorial suggested that cutting the police budget too much would result in more warrior cops, but that CSP could work — if it came with the appropriate structure.

“Partnership policing can help transform the warrior cop ethos, but it needs a how-to guide, training and ongoing evaluation,” the editorial reads. “It needs thought and care, without which L.A. and other cities may find that they have defunded themselves into smaller but more aloof and more aggressive ranks of warrior cops.”

Much of the conversation around defunding the police doesn’t talk about funding “guardian cops” or any kind of cops but pumping that money into community services outside of law enforcement. Tingirides somewhat addressed this.

“There was a lot of talk today about the programming. There’s a lot of narrative that police officers shouldn’t be involved in programming. That should be schoolteachers, that should be schools, that should be nonprofit organizations. I cannot agree more,” she said. She pointed out the Watts Rams, formerly known as the Watts Bears, a football program created by LAPD officers in 2013 that has since been taken over by the community.

“There are a lot of programs right now throughout all of the districts where the community has taken over and it has been sustained within that community with just the support and the cheerleading by the CSP officers that are assigned to those areas,” she said.

Still, not everyone is a fan of CSP. Many Angelenos, who are using the hashtag #werejectCSP, would rather L.A. further reduce the LAPD budget, not expand CSP, and use the money saved to provide non-law enforcement resources to those communities instead.

Los Angeleno