Color me impressed with the direction the LAPD Blog is going these days. There is a post there today by Officer Deon Joseph who is the lead officer in charge of Skid Row detailing his opinion of the situation there and what is keeping things from progressing. He writes:
“In a recent report one of our opponents stated that the only thing stopping us from stopping crime is “us”. This is a person who went on a ride along with me and was awestruck by what we have to deal with when it comes to protecting the homeless.
“I believe there are several “real reasons” why we can’t stop all the crime on Skid Row.
“First, the supporting agencies which are supposed to assist us with public safety (The Sheriffs Department, County Probation, Eastlake, The DA’s Office, Judges) refuse to do so out of fear of a pen lashing by the local paper, or the wrath of the ACLU and agenda based groups. These entities release dangerous criminals early or refuse to cooperate on a consistent basis with our Division. It is sad that fear supercedes the public safety of the citizens we serve.
“Our patrol force is understaffed and overburdened. The primary car designated for Skid Row can barely be in the area. When you have under two hundred forty officers responsible for policing 8 to 10,000 people it is impossible to help everyone or make a lasting impact.”
For some reason hearing that kind of thing directly from an officer working in that area has a whole different effect that reading it in the paper after it’s been regurgitated by someone who sits in an office all day. That’s my opinion anyway, as someone who sits in an office all day. And by office, I mean my laptop in my kitchen. But anyway, this is a good thing, and the best part is the very end:
“I know that writing this will not convince many of our critics, but I urge anyone to come to Skid Row for a ride along and see for yourself what really goes on. Then if you want to criticize us, you will have an educated opinion. I can live with that.”
Officer Joseph then goes on to give out his contact number ( 213-972-1891) and e-mail ( [email protected] ). That’s a pretty fantastic offer I think, I wonder how many folks will take him up on it?