The Los Angeles Police Department’s largest union wants officers to stop responding to more than two dozen types of calls, which devolve duties to other city agencies while they focus on more serious crimes.
As part of its upcoming contract discussions, the Los Angeles Police Protective League plans to tell city negotiators that it is willing to allow other city departments or nonprofits to respond to calls about begging, illegal curbside selling, public urination, mental health episodes involving there is no threat of violence or criminal activity, and dangerous dog complaints in which “no attack is in progress”.
Such a shift would free up officers to focus more on violent crime, solve more cases and improve officers’ morale, the union said.
“Police officers are being sent to too many calls better suited to unarmed service providers,” Craig Lally, the union’s president, said in a statement Tuesday.
A representative for Mayor Karen Bass did not immediately comment on the proposal. But Councilman Tim McOsker, who sits on the city’s powerful negotiating committee, said he looks forward to working with the union on the city’s program of “unarmed response.”
“This list includes calls for service that would reasonably and safely not require an armed officer,” said McOsker, a lawyer who represented the LAPD union for many years.
The proposal coincides with efforts by some council members to shift certain duties off the LAPD, including traffic enforcement and nonviolent mental health appeals. Two of the council’s newer members last year called on the city to shift money from the department to other social services.
The league has argued for months that the department is understaffed as they have lost about 800 officers since the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. proposalthe union acknowledged that “certain types of calls for service may not require an armed response.”
As a result, the union is willing to stop LAPD officers going to cleanup homeless camps unless a deployment request is made by a city department. Officers stopped performing most “welfare checks” at the request of the public. And certain quality of life calls, such as illegal dumping, illegal fireworks, loud parties and drinking in public, they would no longer address.
The city wants to invest $1 million in an Office of Unarmed Response and Safety. Bass, on the campaign trail, vowed to create a public safety agency that would not involve the LAPD.
Nevertheless, the union also indicated that it did not want to give up certain tasks. While the league has advocated for other agencies to respond to non-injury traffic accidents, it plans to keep traffic enforcement orders in general, citing the city’s growing number of deaths involving cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
Some of the calls cited in the union’s proposal are largely within the purview of the Department of Transport, including illegally parked cars and abandoned vehicles.
The union’s proposal should be submitted to the city’s Executive Employee Relations Committee, which consists of the mayor and four council members: Paul Krekorian, Curren Price, Bob Blumenfield and McOsker. Each employment contract ultimately requires the approval of the city council.