For Immediate Release: August 24, 2022
LOS ANGELES -- Today, Councilmember Nithya Raman, along with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Chair of Public Safety, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Councilmember Mike Bonin, introduced a motion, seconded by Councilmember Kevin De Leon, to develop a multi-year plan to fully shift responsibility for nonviolent calls to unarmed civilians rather than armed officers, and implementation of alternative models and methods for traffic safety enforcement that do not rely on armed law enforcement. This legislation builds on significant efforts taken by the City of Los Angeles to transition away from armed responses in situations where an armed officer is non-essential, seeking to coordinate and expand the various pilots already underway and in development within the City.
In the summer of 2020, tens of thousands of Angelenos took to the streets after the murder of George Floyd to demand a reimagining and transformation of our public safety system. Over the past two years, the City of Los Angeles has responded by launching several key pilot programs including the Call Redirection to Ensure Suicide Safety (CRESS) Program, which diverts non-imminent suicide calls to the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Crisis Call Center, launched in February 2021, and the Crisis and Incident Response through Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) program which diverts some 9-1-1 calls related to homelessness in Hollywood away from law enforcement to trained, unarmed teams of outreach workers and mental or behavioral health clinicians, launched in January 2021.
“In 2020, Angelenos gave this city a mandate to develop an alternate approach to public safety,” said Councilmember Raman. “While the City has made important progress with a few key pilot programs, a multi-year plan for how these programs will move beyond the pilot phase has yet to be developed. With this legislation, we are establishing a timeline for how and when these changes will be implemented in our communities. This is the next and necessary step on the path to achieving a truly restructured approach to public safety.”
“As a City, we can achieve greater service delivery by providing the right response for nonviolent calls that will ensure the health and welfare for the individuals that need it most,” Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez stated. “We need to have consistent metrics and objectives across all nonviolent programs that are met with sustainable funding sources. As Chair of Public Safety and a member of the Budget & Finance Committee, I am invested in seeing a multi-year funding strategy that outlines these pilots presented to this Council.”
"I hope this joint effort will help speed up common sense reform in Los Angeles," added Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. "For years, initiatives supported by the Council have been defined as disparate 'pilot projects,' bogged down in endless 'studies' or have never made any progress towards implementation. An alternative response to safety-based traffic enforcement, mental health crisis, and transparency in the discipline process are a few such examples."
“It is long past time for Los Angeles to move past small pilot projects and start making big, fundamental changes that reimagine public safety,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who has led successful efforts to secure alternatives to armed enforcement in his position on the Board of Directors of LA Metro. “Our current model too often results in injury and death when police respond to mental health calls or conduct traffic enforcement. We need to invest in new programs that really keep people safe.”
This legislation instructs the City Administrative Officer, with the assistance of relevant City departments and external consultants, to report back within 180 days with a multi-year transition plan, including a year-by-year expansion and potential consolidation plan for the pilot programs the City has already launched or is currently developing, the necessary budget allocations that should be reserved in the budget for this purpose each fiscal year, and an analysis of whether these public safety services should eventually be brought under the purview of City departments rather than external providers.