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'This Is Big.' LAPD Will Expand Its Community Policing Program Into A Permanent Citywide Bureau

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The Los Angeles Police Department will create a permanent bureau to expand on its community policing program, the Mayor Eric Garcetti announced tonight.

The Community Safety Partnership Bureau will make permanent and citywide the program of the same name, which was established in 2011 and focused on the housing developments of Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens, Imperial Courts and Ramona Gardens. That program requires officers to commit to remaining in one community for five years and attend meetings with residents.

A study from UCLA recently concluded that the CSP program could take credit for "seven fewer homicides, 93 fewer aggravated assaults and 122 fewer robberies than would otherwise have been expected to occur in Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens," according to the L.A. Times.

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The new bureau will continue the tradition of placing officers in five-year assignments in one place, Garcetti said, "to develop relationships with the people that they serve."

"The police officers and community members know each other's names, so that they can sit down together and talk about their neighborhood. So that a police officer looks at her assignment not as an assignment."

The announcement, made at a remote live-streamed briefing, was the latest reform the mayor has promised in response to demands made by protesters who took to the streets here following the death of George Floyd in May.

Garcetti said it was part of a shift in policing "from a warrior mentality to a guardian mentality."

Prominent civil rights attorney Connie Rice said, "This is big, and in police world this takes courage."

"A chief of police doesn't just get up and stand up a bureau for guardian policing, and for Chief Moore to do this, it sends a message across the country — and at a time when it's risky to do so."

Rice
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praised the program back in June but lamented that it was only a demonstration project and that it "has not changed the DNA of the rank-and-file for LAPD."

The new bureau will be led by Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides. She said one of the keys to the initial program was to avoid using "police" in the title.

"This isn't an LAPD program," Tingirides said. "This is a community program. This is about understanding the cultures of the communities and adjusting how we work and respond to conflict within communities."

The community safety approach involves building understanding, she said, with strategies that include:

  • Having teenagers attend gang intervention training to explain to officers why they fear the police
  • Role playing where children and residents feel what it's like to be a police officer, and vice versa
"As we can see across the country, our nation right now, people are hurting," Tingirides said. "One of the important components of this program is understanding our history and what has occurred in the past, and not being afraid to say, I'm sorry and we recognize it, but to work together to change it."

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