I am writing to you shortly after the curfew has been lifted over the city of Baltimore. And the images we’ve seen coming from this city are all too familiar.
But in Los Angeles, they are images from our past, so far. And I want to keep it that way by continuing and accelerating the change we have brought to city government and the LAPD since 1992.
I delivered my State of the City address a few weeks ago, and I spent a large portion of it on law enforcement, in recognition of an uptick in violent crime (even as overall crime remains below 1950s levels) and in the aftermath of Ferguson, Staten Island and North Charleston.
I talked about enforcement and how we were reassigning officers to move quickly to prevent crime spikes from become crime waves. But I made clear this was only one part of the equation — that our city would pursue “relationship-based policing.”
I reminded our city that before Ferguson and President Obama’s call, we had already started testing body cameras in Los Angeles – and because of that early start, we are now on track to be the largest city in America to put body cameras on every officer on the street.
I announced we are expanding our nationally recognized Community Safety Partnership — which places officers in specific public housing developments for five-year stints, where they become a part of the community they protect and serve.
These officers don’t just patrol the streets — they help kids get to school safely, coach their football teams, and teach them leadership and conflict resolution.
I want to expand this brand of relationship-based policing citywide, which is why I also announced in my State of the City address the creation of an entirely new division at LAPD — the Community Policing Division — whose sole mission will be to build even greater trust and partnerships in our communities.
We’re also investing more in prevention. We are expanding our successful Summer Night Lights program beyond the summer, to keep key parks in our city open and staffed on Friday nights during the school year, and I’m investing millions of additional dollars in our Gang Reduction and Youth Development initiative.
GRYD, as it’s called, offers a host of prevention programs in addition to direct intervention by people with direct experience and contacts with the streets — people who can literally get guns to lower when feuds and retaliation boil over.
I believe that the mayor of L.A. must be the mayor for all of L.A. — and I know that our city cannot truly succeed unless all of us have a safe community that allows us equal access to opportunity.
You can learn more about the plans I outlined in my State of the City address at www.lamayor.org/sotc
It is wonderful to once again communicate with L.A. residents through the pages of The Wave. This newspaper is a critical informational resource for our community, and I want you to know that my intention is to have a two-way conversation. For anything at all, especially your feedback and ideas for making L.A. great, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Community Report” column runs on the first Thursday of each month in the Wave.