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« LAPD E-POLICING | Main | Arrest Made in Assault on Radio Reporter »

September 21, 2006

Comments

You know Officer Joseph, some people will always blindly criticize the department and its efforts in policing our communities "just because." They will never understand the hard work officers put in, day in and day out, in order to make our streets safer,.. And these people never will understand until they've walked in your shoes and have witnessed first-hand the drama you've encountered. All I can say, from someone who has witnessed it first-hand, is thank you for your hard work and dedication and not to let these critics, speaking out of sheer ignorance, rob you of your dedication to making the streets of Los Angeles a better place.

Officer Joseph,

Keep fighting the good cause, you sir are a prime example of the developing leadership for this Department's future. If I may add to your commentary a quote whose author I don't know, "Those who can do, those who can't criticize."

Officer Joseph,

Kudos to you for continuing to do your exceptionally difficult job. Please keep up the good work and the good attitude - it does not go unappreciated.

Officer Joseph, hang in there and just continue to do your job to the best of your ability. I think it is great that you have offered to take people on ride alongs but truth be told, my guess would be that the critics have no desire to see skid row first hand. To see skid row first hand would mean your critics would see the insane locked up in themselves that know not what they do, that they need to be taken care of not the freedom to sleep on the streets. They would also see the drug addicts that have given up on themselves and need help to get cleaned up and back on their feet, not the freedom to sleep on the street. They would also see the criminals that prey on the insane and the addicts. The criminals that are loving the freedom to set up shops or tents and be allowed to take advantage of helpless members of our society. Really why would the critics want to see what the real problem is?

With that said, I hope you do get people who want to do ride alongs and see what is really going on. One trip to skid row whether on a ride along or on a class trip in college like me is a life altering experience that stays with you forever. As far as I am concerned all of you that work on skid row are saints and super special people.

Please, please, please keep up the good work you are doing. There are always going to be critics, but I think you have a great head on your shoulders, and you are doing the best job you can, with the tools that you have. I hope that in the future, the taxpayers in Los Angeles realize that they need to increase the size of the force to make a serious dent in crime.

As a former resident of Los Angeles, and a follower/supporter of the LAPD...

Keep up the great job, and stay safe.

Mark
Portland, OR

Why can't the department enforce the current drug laws instead of making it illegal to sit on the sidewalk?

Officer Joseph is speaking the truth in his post. One thing he failed to mention, but I am sure he will agree with is many of the homeless choose to sleep on the street. There are open beds on a daily basis in the shelters. I have spoke with many of the homeless and they see the street as their home. They do not want to go to the shelter, because they have to abide by the rules(ie not smoking rock). If you believe that the homeless have a right to sleep or congregate on the street, then I challenge you to let them sleep on the sidewalk in front of your house. I guarantee that if anyone had a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk in front of their house they would not want them there. The business owners of downtown should have the same rights as every other citizen of Los Angeles.

Ofcr Joseph thanks for the great work you do against such odds. Your job is necessary but will always be judged by critics who make money not from looking out for the best interests of anyone except themselves. Any issue they can raise to file a law suit they do. My question is why we can’t have a downtown like any other city. Does anyone think if the downtown homeless population was transported to Pasadena that the city there would stand for it? I don’t think they would. I have been to many other big cities and never have seen anything close to what the city of LA harbors on Skid Row. People say oh the homeless oh the homeless? I have seen what is down there and it isn’t a bunch of homeless people to feel sorry for. They beg for money, are so high on drugs, and walk around like zombies. There are plenty of shelters and help centers down there, but the people on skid row don’t want help. They want to wonder around looking for the next high. Why did the city of LA settle anything with the ACLU? Why don’t they fight it all the way? Not many cities are as dirty and filled with crime like Los Angeles that I have ever seen. I propose the city of LA to fight fight fight. Stop compromising and start telling the LA Times, ACLU, News Media, and people of that caliber to shove it where the sun does not shine and take back the City of LA and make it something where people want to come to.

Bernie,

LAPD does enforce drug laws, but the People's Republic of Kalifornia decided to pass Prop. 36 which practically makes drug possession legal.

Couple that with Sheriff Baca's policy of releasing inmates from the County Jail after only serving 10% of their sentences and you have yourself an Amsterdam in Downtown Hell-A.

I feel for SLO Joseph. When i was in the academy, my classmates and I had a "hard charging" mentality. As we still do (years later), we see an evil trend. The media scrutinizes our every move, more and more as the days pass. A ride along for the media only shows what that civilian sees on a regular basis. Except they get to see it from a black and white. When are we going to take the media out for 12 hr. ride along, make an DUI arrest 20 minutes out of roll call, THEN sit with that reporter for FOUR plus hours writing a report, and booking the body. Let's not forget to remind him/her constantly that there are now only "x-amount" of cars left in the field to "protect and serve", as well as telling him/her "I sure as hell hope no other cars make an arrest or report, cause they will be here as well for hours with a report". That to my knowledge has never been done. Screw PR work, put the same strain on the media that we encounter daily. I know that we can't change a reporters opinon. But just maybe, we can truly show them that their utopia like views and opinions are a slightly askew. I love making arrests and doing the report. But I will be damned if some opionated, camera toting, pencil pusher is going to tell me that I am not doing my job efficently, or correctly. To all you media groups/reporters, "walk a mile in our shoes". After that, I will be oblidged to help you write and edit the article, I will even use a red pen!

The government, NGOs and just about anyone who cares could set up a centre for the homeless that acts as a home for them as well as a place of work. Instead of being paid money for the work they have done, they will be given free meals, clothes and shelter. Being homeless is a psychological trauma and the people will have a tendency to commit crimes whether it is for the things they want or need or just to ask for attention. As for the reporters, the word
" reporter " comes from the word
" report " which means it is their job to tell about anything and everything under the sky. The Editor has the job to decide which piece of news can be printed and which cannot. He also has the job to edit and re-edit the piece of news so as to leave an impression probably of his or her choice on the public.

I have worked on Skid Row for almost 4 years and in that time I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly... from the residents in the streets and from the police on their beats.

I live in a nice suburb with 80 police officers who have set a high standard for my expectations.

I have come across the LAPD doing smart, effective policing done with respect and professionalism, and that is what I would like to believe the LAPD does every day.

Your teammates have come with the PET team and done wonderful work helping mentally ill people get to a safe place. As I sit here typing that - that is the only positive memory I have of the LAPD other than in line at Starbucks.

I have also sat in Little Tokyo and watched police wait for a homeless man to drink his Starbucks and then they arrested him for loitering within seconds of draining the last drop.

I have seen the Police guard the bulldozers and then disappear when an hour later the drug dealers are parked in their cars, doors open, dealing from the vehicle in the middle of the street.

I have photographs of The LAPD on one side of the street watching the red shirts on the other side as they poked and kicked a sleeping homeless man.

These are not a few rare occurances, they are everyday events in my life. I invite you to come on a ride along in my little car with me and see The Row and Police from my point of few.

Being a police officer is often a thankless job with successes that can not be seen and hard to measure. . . all the crime that is not happening is the measure of success achieved by the police. I know that it is the work of the LAPD that makes Skid row a safer place fopr me to park my car and walk around, but I also see why so many residents and others are frustrated with the department.

Perhaps the issues raised in this blog will spark a renaissance of creative thought in Los Angeles, resulting in the crafting of solutions which are really solutions and not just solutions which create more problems. We cannot rely on mainstream media to accurately describe the situation. My understanding has been greatly enhanced by personal one-on-one conversations with real people in the area, but I am not sure we have the entire picture just yet. I would appreciate more factual descriptions like this one from as many people as possible, so that we can see the answers clearly by seeing what is. My question for today is this: who benefits from the situation the way it is now? How do they benefit? How can we find another, permanent and acceptable way to get their needs met? Personally, I have had enough input from social workers and civil libertarians, and I would like to hear from people not so vested in the problem. Any social architects out there?

The world thinks of U.S.A. as one of the richest and freest countries in the world. And this has led to many people coming to this country legally and illegally. These people will be shocked to see situations similiar to at home. Some people need to know that while they are chasing after their dreams, in actual fact, the situation is not much different anywhere in the world.

Civilian:
The drug dealers and junkies benefit! The dealers get to sell their drugs and the base heads and hypes get to buy drugs from EVERY street corner. And the weak Los Angeles Judges do not apply any real justice to the dealers. It's a farce of a justice system down at 210 W. temple street at the Los Angeles court house. Let those drug dealers and junkies camp out in front of the judges and mayors houses and see how long it takes to clean it up.

If you put your contact information, as Officer Joseph did in his post, it would be helpful.

Many homeless people suffer from mental illness and/or drug & alcohol addiction. Is seems like an easy solution would be opening additional homeless shelters in L.A. But, it's not that simple. Opening shelters takes money. Lots of money. Where will it come from? Donations? Government grants? The city budget? The reality is there is not a large pool of donations to homeless shelters; The City has enough budget woes as it is; Which pet project does the government stop funding to divert the money elsewhere?; Do you really want to pay even more in taxes, knowing there is no guarantee the money will go where they say it will (e.g., Trash collections fees for more cops). Then there is another reality. With so many homeless people in need of medical attention due to mental illness, a homeless shelter is really not equipped to properly care for and house them. So where do the solutions lie? They absolutely fall on the lap of the community. Us officers cannot provide all the solutions alone. We need the community's help. We need the community to support our proactive efforts to combat crime and narcotic activity. We need the community to step up and cry foul whenever the media feeds on honest mistakes, and second-guesses our officers' split second decisions. Just a thought.

Sonya made a good observation which I see on a day to day basis.

Yes, You officers are doing the best possible jobs given the rules and restrictions that you are given by both the council and the chief. Having said that, I also see drug deals occuring out in broad daylight right out on Skid Row. I see black and whites drive right by them with the driver glued to the cell phone he or she is on, let's not forget the traffic cops on their Harley's looking so cool just cruising by, with cellphones (again) glued to their helmets or looking for that Jay-Walker to cite. It's so hard not to be anything but negative.

I am down in that area all day seeing this from the safety of my armored car and wonder what more can be done with the resources available to the city.....

I would like to ask from a "civilian" point of view, Has the department looked into ways of streamlining the reporting process for the officer on the street ? For example, there are departments that use a system where ofcr's simply file their reports over the phone. There is also a system where the ofcr files the report over the MDT (Do you still call them that ?)reducing the time spent back at the station. What about the use of Community Service Officers (C.S.O's) which can take take certain reports, like vandalism or other non violent incidents that can free up ofcr's to get back to patrol faster ?
I see the b.i.d guys on their bikes riding around for $10-12 dollars an hour unarmed, why not use the city security guards to do the same thing ? I see them at the city mall not doing much of anything but walking around acting like they are sworn officers.
Those guys are seriously over paid for not doing anything. Lets get them out on skid row.

I'm just sayin'........

Dear Sarge, I downloaded commendation forms from this website and have them in my car. My personal practice is when I have critical feedback, I offer it verbally; when I have positive feedback, I put it in writing. This practice gives me peace of mind. Stay safe. I care. By the way, that high speed chase by 77th last night was handled very nicely, with no damage to city property, and happily, no loss of life. Good job, 77th law enforcement!!!!

Officers are being paid by the hour, regardless of whether they're doing actual work that requires a gun and badge, versus making copies, babysitting a sick arrestee, or typing on a computer at 30 WPM. The obvious solution has been implemented, at least in part, at many other police agencies.

There's no reason why reports can't be dictated as an audio recording and typed later by clerks who are paid to type over 60 WPM. Similarly, other agencies have civilian detention officers who accept arrestees after the arresting officers bring them to the station and conducts a thorough search. Period. The arresting officers can then complete their report and get back on the street. LAPD's process requires the officers (usually two) to physically stand by for the booking process while the arrestee's information is TYPED INTO A COMPUTER and he's asked a few questions. Tack on additional babysitting duties if the arrestee has asthma or on any sort of medication; he will need to be taken to a jail with a medical staff and examined by an RN or MD prior to waiting in line again for booking.

Pay a sworn officer $26-39 per hour to do these tasks that can be accomplished by civilian personnel at a fraction of the cost? Does that even make sense? Cops don't want to be stuck behind a keyboard or standing next to some unwashed hobo in jail for a useless hour or more. (Maybe a few do enjoy it--go figure.) They'd rather hook up the bad guys, deposit them for processing, wash their hands, and continue working!

I've not even heard any rumors that the Department is considering streamlining these processes, unfortunately.

Citizen,
Thank you for positively rewarding our officers with Citizen Commendations. They go a long way, and are very appreciated. It's a reminder to us that citizens, such as yourself, still care and appreciate law enforcement.

Officer Joseph, please do not give up the good fight. You are obviously making people think twice about what they are not doing to assist in taking care of the skid row area and making it a safe place. Remember "Those that can do, will. Those that won't do, criticize". Your diligence and passion to take care of the citizens in your area, be it homeless or well off, will not go unnoticed. We all know who you are and what you are trying to do and we are behind you.

Keep the faith and stay safe.

The homeless problem is way beyond anything the 9,000 officer police department can do anything about. Society and the media has to stop trying to blame the police for the woes of Skid Region (it hasn't been a "row" for decades).

The police will arrest as many as they can in a day but the problem belongs to the politicians to think of or hire people who can think of solutions to reduce the homelessness. There are no 100% solutions but many other cities have come up with good plans to reduce the transient population in their downtown areas.

The Police can work with these ideas and help keep the crime and violence down. But don't play the blame game when you see certain tactics used by the police to arrest or not to arrest individuals.

There are dozens of reasons why cops aren't going to spend 5 hours arresting a stink pot for what usually amounts to a nuisance crime, or a drug charge that usually gets downgraded.

There just isn't enough cops to police the City. Period. The General Services Police now police the parks and libraries and they too have hundreds of service calls regarding the homeless. The homeless are taking over the parks in LA.

The homeless problem isn't just in downtown. Somebody better start doing something about it today or the homeless will be in the residential areas too.

I work downtown not far from skid row. The homeless problem downtown is downright scary.

If you're just a normal, boring law-abiding citizen and you want to have lunch outside -- or even if you just want to cut through Pershing Square as a shortcut to the subway -- you can count on having to step over sleeping homeless people, seeing men masturbate or urinate in public, have people constantly accost you for money, and seeing people doing/selling drugs in plain sight.

I personally think all those folks who like to carry on about how the police are "targeting" the homeless ought to come downtown and work/walk/live here for a few months ... not just spend a few hours on a ride-along.

From what I can see, one of the biggest issues is that there just aren't enough officers downtown! I don't know what the purple shirt people do, they seem to just hang out on their bicycles and talk into their walkie-talkie thingies.

More police! Less purple shirt people.

I wish that the people who keep voting down the money to hire new officers would have to take the subway to Pershing Square and walk around downtown just like I do every single day for at least one month.

The smell alone will make them want to reconsider. I mean really.

"The homeless problem isn't just in downtown. Somebody better start doing something about it today or the homeless will be in the residential areas too."

Hate to be the bearer of bad news there bud, but, They're already here....

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chief Charlie Beck

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