The past few weeks have served to bring to the forefront matters surrounding law enforcement and its relationship with the community that have long been voiced but never fully resolved. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) recognizes the role it has played in the national narrative surrounding the need for police reform. As an organization, we are committed to further engaging in meaningful reflection about our prior missteps, but we are also eager to embrace changes that move us in a new direction – one that is defined by being a true reflection of the communities we serve and their dynamic needs. To that end, the LAPD is taking the first of many bold steps to reimagine itself by standing up a Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Bureau.
The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs recently concluded a yearlong evaluation of the CSP Program. The evaluation provided both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis of the program. What the evaluation revealed is that the implementation of the CSP model of policing produced a greater reduction in crime than the traditional forms of policing utilized in the areas surrounding CSP sites. This reduction in crime was achieved at the same time there were lower numbers of arrests made and incidents of police force used against community members by CSP officers. Perhaps most importantly, the evaluation found that the majority community members supported the program, trusted its officers, and wanted to see it continue. The results demonstrated that CSP undeniably achieves what many prior law enforcement strategies could not – increased community health and a true sense of safety.
The evaluation did not find the CSP Program to be without flaw. Through its analysis, the evaluation brought to light a number of areas where the LAPD needs to recalibrate how it supports the program, oversees its operations, and remains responsive to changing community needs. The establishment of the CSP Bureau is the right approach for addressing the evaluation’s recommendations and the greater community need for a reimagined LAPD for the following reasons.
It Starts with People…
· The CSP Bureau fully integrates community voice into its structure. Rather than having a structure built entirely of sworn personnel, the top leadership of the CSP Bureau will consist of a sworn Deputy Chief partnered with a civilian commander (Police Administrator II). The civilian commander will oversee a Regional Advisory Council comprised of leaders within community-based organizations, representatives from City Council offices, and CSP funding partners. The commander and their council will collectively head a Safety Strategy and Innovation Center that develops community-responsive, site-specific plans for existing CSP sites, looks for opportunities for CSP site expansion across the city, and coordinates with other LAPD entities to ensure the CSP model is being integrated throughout all Department’s operations.
· The CSP Bureau will provide the breadth of leadership necessary to address the various evaluation recommendations. The addition of regional, mid-level supervision will enhance the oversight of administrative and operational functions, while the newly created captain positions will coordinate with both community stakeholders and Department commanding officers to create problem-solving strategies that can be implemented beyond the confines of CSP sites.
· By creating a bureau structure to oversee CSP operations, the LAPD is establishing the support systems vital to allowing existing CSP personnel to build on their current successes. The bureau will relieve them of the need to split their attentions between community engagement and administrative functions. They will instead be able to return their full energy and focus to the relationships with community members that have allowed the program to take hold and create dramatic shifts in safety.
It Meets the Moment…
· The call to develop safety strategies that drastically reduce community harm while elevating safety cannot be ignored. The CSP model is the most effective means of reaching this goal. As previously noted, it achieves measurable levels of crime reduction with fewer arrests and incidents of force; and it does so while simultaneously building community trust. These results speak to all facets of expressed community concerns: Those who see a retreat from traditional policing methodologies as creating an increased risk to their safety can be assured that the CSP model drives crime down. Those who have rightfully demanded that the LAPD listen to and act on community concerns can be assured that the CSP Bureau is dependent on the meaningful integration of community voice at all levels of its planning and implementation.
· Part of what drives the calls for reimagining policing is the profession’s longstanding warrior mentality. No matter how well intentioned, this approach to policing has created a division between law enforcement agencies and the people they endeavor to keep safe. The CSP model represents a pivot away from similar warrior strategies that have come to define LAPD. Rather than focusing on crime, CSP centers itself on the people living in and around the CSP sites. Rather than defining an officer’s productivity by stops, citations, and arrests, the measure of their work is demonstrated by increased community capacity and feelings of overall safety and security. This is the essence of a guardian mentality, and it will become the lens through which all future LAPD policing initiatives are developed and evaluated.
It Redefines Our Future…
· Captain Emada Tingirides has been selected to be the Deputy Chief overseeing the CSP Bureau. By supporting the bureau’s creation, the City and the LAPD are demonstrating their unwavering commitment to uplifting both women and people of color to positions of influence. They are also meeting the community call to see itself reflected at all levels of the Department. Internally, the selection of Captain Tingirides will send a clear message to LAPD personnel that promotions and advancement will be given to those who center their ethos and actions on strengthening their relationship with and advancing the wellbeing of the communities they serve.
· One of the most significant mandates the CSP Bureau will fulfill is developing strategies to fully implement and institutionalize the CSP model across all aspects of the LAPD. The CSP model’s effectiveness is not limited to the stakeholders within tightly defined neighborhood partnering with ten officers and a supervisor. The model’s tenets have a place across all of Department operations, and developing a strategy for the Departmentwide integration of these tenets will be taken on by the bureau’s leadership and Regional Advisory Council. This complete embrace of policing built on relationships and the pursuit of long-term solutions rather than ongoing enforcement plans will serve as the foundation of the reimagined Los Angeles Police Department