Ever since the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests began, discussions about how to make our police and first response systems more equitable and more effective have also been front and center. “Defund the police” has been one rallying cry, but a more specific (and probably less incendiary) term might be “rethinking our first responders.” For example:
- What kinds of situations require an armed response and which might be better served by another kind of response or personnel?
- What that might look like?
- And if we can take certain types of repsonses off LAPD’s plate, could we also move some funding from the police department to new kinds of first responders who might be more specifically trained and focused on things like personal welfare issues?
The Los Angeles City Council has begun considering these questions, and today – as part of that process – Los Angeles City Council Member David Ryu is asking constituents to weigh in via a Public Safety Survey he created to help figure out what kinds of first response services would serve the city best now and into the future.
In the statement at the beginning of the survey, Ryu says:
“Right now Los Angeles is having a much-needed conversation on justice in policing, and how our City works to protect. This moment requires us to listen, to work together, and to move forward with substantive policy that reflects the voices of all people in Los Angeles.
The goal is to create an effective City government that strives to equitably deliver services across departments to all members of our City. Given the current conversation regarding the proposed City Budget and in particular the amount of funds allocated to the Police Department it is important to me to start with gathering input from residents specific to how each of you feel protective services might best operate.
One of the key questions being raised is what should 9-1-1 response look like in our City. Currently, most non-paramedic and non-fire calls are responded to by a police officer for a wide variety of potential needs. One question our office is interested in hearing from our constituents on is what kind of first responder would you like to see for different types of emergency and non-emergency calls?”
You can add your thoughts on that question and more, including the kinds of city responders you think would be best for handling specific kinds of calls or service requests, at:
“Making progress will require a collaborative effort between elected officials, community groups and – most importantly – you,” says Ryu in the survey introduction. “Your voice matters, and I want to hear from as many District Four residents as possible. Please share your thoughts on public safety with me, so that we can move forward together.”
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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