LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — There has long been a call for the city to reimagine the role of the Los Angeles Police Department, especially in communities of color.
And now, after more than a month of citywide protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, city officials have announced their latest plan to help officers to develop relationships with the communities they police.
“The difference between a [Community Safety Partnership] officer and our patrol officers is that they’re afforded more time to really focus in these smaller areas,” Capt. Emada Tingirides said.
Tingirides has been given the lead at the LAPD’s newest bureau.
“I think what’s most compelling about the program is the officers are able to walk foot beats,” she said. “They engage in safe passage to ensure the kids get back and forth to school safely. We’ve created Girl Scout troops, we’ve created our Watts Rams football team, we have an El Pueblo football team.”
Tingirides has been part of the program since it began a decade ago in housing projects in underserved communities. The program has since expanded to nine areas throughout the city where officers interview and commit to five years of service.
“That gives the community time to know the officers, to build those relationships,” she said.
There are currently 100 CSP officers scattered throughout the city in different bureaus with different chains of command. But, starting next week, Tingirides will assume the title of deputy chief and all of the CSP officers will report to her.
“I will have oversight of the operational function ensuring that they’re working within the mission of the CSP program,” she said.
But callers into Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting were not as excited about the department’s most recent restructuring.
“This is so hypocritical,” one caller said. “This is disingenuous.”
“None of our community calls have been for more policing,” another caller said.
Tingirides said she heard the concerns shared during the meeting.
“I heard that conflict,” she said. “And part of me understands those concerns.”
But, Tingirides said, the CSP transitioning to its own bureau headquartered downtown will not increase costs incurred by the department.
“We’re not adding additional funding to create this bureau,” she said.
The Los Angeles City Council has already voted to cut $150 million from LAPD’s budget — which Chief Michel Moore said was expected to result in the loss of more than 300 positions — and Tingirides said she was all for changes within the department.
“Our criminal justice system, our probation department, our social systems, the mental health — all of those things right now are centered around policing — when, in fact, there are other agencies and entities that should be shouldering some of that,” she said.
And, Tingirides said, the new bureau is just one more tool to help get the city the results it wants.