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Special Enforcement Section

Special Enforcement Section

The Piracy Unit is tasked with investigating piracy/intellectual property crimes throughout the City of Los Angeles.  It enforces middle to high level organized distribution and manufacturing rings of counterfeit compact discs (CD’s) or digital versatile discs (DVD’s).  Their responsibilities include the enforcement of intellectual property crimes at retail/wholesale locations that are involved in the manufacture, sales and distribution of counterfeit merchandise including: jewelry, purses, perfume, clothing/apparel, shoes, and a variety of pharmaceutical goods.  It also conducts many investigations attributed to basic street level enforcement.

The Piracy Unit works closely with the Department’s area vice units, with members and consultants (private investigators) from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and such name-brand companies as Coach, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.   Additionally, the unit has in agreement a sharing of information Memorandum of Agreements (MOA) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Customs and Borders Protection, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Since the Piracy Unit’s inception, the unit has recovered over $129,000,000 in counterfeit property, conducted over 240 search warrant operations, and has arrested over 730 suspects.

The Field Evaluators Unit has field evaluators assigned citywide to conduct training, oversight, monitoring of tactical events, education and coordinate task force operations (i.e. ABC, prostitution, illegal massage parlors) with their respective geographic Area vice units.  Additionally, the field evaluators monitor the top ten percent vice related problem locations citywide.  

The Operation Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) deals with ABC issues within the City of Los Angeles.  They are tasked with providing training and overseeing enforcement activity at the 6,000 ABC licensed premises that employ in excess of an estimated 65,000 individuals.  To accomplish this, Operation ABC works in partnership with the 21 geographic Area vice units and is subsidized through a yearly grant issued by the California Department of ABC.

The focal point of Operation ABC activities revolves around the nationally recognized Standardized Training for Alcohol Retailers (STAR) program which has provided in-depth ABC training to over 30,000 retailers and has greatly reduced the number of ABC violations throughout the City.  Other innovative programs developed by Operation ABC included the Pseudo-Intoxicated Decoy (Drunk Decoy) program, the Responsible ABC Retailer recognition program and interrelated STAR Corporate Partners project, annual Safe and Sober Graduation events and the use of multi-agency task forces to address alcohol-crime related issues involving ABC licensed venues.

Operation ABC has received recognition on a local, state, and national levels for their many contributions towards the development of programs designed to enhance server awareness and reduce alcohol-related crime.  Many programs developed by Operation ABC have been emulated by agencies throughout the country.

Websites maintained by Operation ABC allow community stakeholders with the ability to review unit activities, obtain training information, and ask questions of unit personnel or report alcohol-related crimes.  
Safe and Sober Graduation Operation

To curtail the accessibility of alcoholic beverages and promote “safe and sober” high school graduations throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Operation ABC personnel developed the Safe & Sober Graduation Program.  After extensive media coverage, Area vice units conduct minor decoy and decoy shoulder tap operations at retail ABC locations in the vicinity of location high schools and colleges.  

During the first week of the 2012 Save and Sober Graduation operation, compliance checks were conducted at 186 licensed ABC locations.  Twenty-two clerks (12 percent) were cited after they failed to appropriately identify the age of the minor decoys and sold them alcoholic beverages.  Decoy shoulder tap operations conducted outside of 82 licensed ABC locations revealed a 92 percent compliance rate, as only 50 of the 600 adults approached actually furnished alcoholic beverages to one of the Department’s underage decoys.  These extremely high compliance rates are directly attributed to the continued emphasis that vice units place on ABC enforcement via the above operations.

The above operations were covered by a number of local news media representatives including KTLA, KTTV (Fox), KMEX (Univision), and KVEA (Telemundo) television; KFI, KROQ, and KOST radio stations; and The Los Angeles Times and The Korea Times newspapers.  

The Community Problems Unit’s (Citywide Nuisance Abatement Unit) primary role is to conduct investigations related to various nuisance problems throughout the City.  Nuisance abatement investigations are initiated at locations where traditional enforcement efforts have produced minimal effect and the recognized conduct continues to have a lasting impact on the community.  Abatement investigations are an effective tool when on-going crime recidivism has been identified.  More importantly, the perpetual nuisance issues exceed Department resources and expertise at the Area level.  The unit is designed to address the impetus and the root of the problem.