Community program

LAPD Expands Community Program, Appoints Black Woman Deputy Chief

As part of a reinvention of law enforcement after the murder of George Floyd, the Los Angeles Police Department is expanding its community policing program.

The Community Safety Partnership, which began in 2011 in some of the city’s most troubled housing estates, is credited with reducing violent crime and improving relationships with residents through initiatives such as youth football teams. .

The expansion of the CSP comes as other units of the LAPD are closely watched for potential reductions. In response to days of street protests calling for resources to be shifted from police departments to programs that help black and Latino residents, city council recently slashed the LAPD’s budget by $ 150 million.

Supporters of the CSP say its expansion will transform the LAPD culture of 10,000 officers, where success is traditionally measured by arrests and crime statistics. Now, building trust with local residents will be paramount, said Chef Michel Moore.

The CSP will now have its own office within the LAPD, headed by Emada Tingirides, originally from Watts and one of the founders of the program. She will become the second black woman deputy chief of the LAPD.

Along with other reforms, such as tightening use of force policies, the expansion of the CSP will ensure that the community has more say in how it is monitored, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

“This is a spectacular step in what… we are moving squarely to the core of our policing philosophy – a model of being part-owner of public safety,” said Garcetti, who has worked with Moore and others to lead the change.

The program will eventually expand beyond the current nine neighborhoods and 100 agents. For now, the focus will be on consolidating its existing operations. A 10th CSP site will likely be identified next year, Moore said.

Emada Tingirides, deputy chief of LAPD’s new community policing office, greets a longtime resident known as Miss Bounty Hunter Redd at Nickerson Gardens in Watts.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

The new PSC office will have a full complement of command staff transferred from elsewhere in the department, as well as a civilian commander. But initially, it will not have its own budget. In recent years, the new CSP sites have been largely funded by private donations.

The program now has a strong command structure that will channel resources from elsewhere in the department, Garcetti said.

Tingirides’ promotion to captain was highly unusual as she jumped multiple rungs of the command ladder. The 11 deputy heads of the department are two rows below the chief of police.

Moore said he had promoted Tingirides “to signal to the organization that she was not going to be bound by tradition or protocols, that she was going to be the best person, I believe, for the best position at a critical moment – like America and really the whole country is watching the police and certainly here in Los Angeles watching the LAPD. “

“What is our future? I think CSP defines our future, ”added Moore.

For those who have called for LAPD funding, the CSP places officers in the very places – working with young people, providing social services – where they shouldn’t be.

“This is not a program that has to be run by armed and sworn police officers,” said Paula Minor of Black Lives Matter LA Minor also questioned the program’s use of private funding, particularly from the Ballmer group, founded by Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve. Ballmer.

Connie Rice, a civil rights lawyer who co-founded the CSP with then-chief Charlie Beck, called the new office and command structure “a bold commitment to doing a different kind of policing.”

Now, she said, an ambitious officer can rise through the ranks entirely within the CSP, imbued with the police of “guard” instead of the traditional warrior mentality.

“It’s the opposite of the core LAPD culture,” Rice said. “If you’re a CSP cop, you’re here to serve. … You understand what people are facing, the problems, the fears. … And you ask people, “How do you want us to protect you?” You don’t just impose it. “What do you want us to fix?” How do you want us to help you fix it? ‘ “

Emada Tingirides speaks with Augie Lopez with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.

Emada Tingirides, deputy chief of the new LAPD community policing office, speaks with Augie Lopez of the city’s Housing Authority at Nickerson Gardens in Watts.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

When Rice and Beck started the CSP almost ten years ago, they became aware of Tingirides’ work as a community relations sergeant at Watts. With her husband, Phil Tingirides, then captain of the Southeast Division, she took police officers to local schools to read to children – a revolutionary concept at the time.

During the State of the Union Address in 2015, President Obama honored the Tingirides for their community policing work.

“The CSP concept is not just a police concept. That’s why the title is Community Safety Partnership, ”said Emada Tingirides, a 25-year LAPD veteran. “There isn’t the word ‘police’ in it, because it takes more than us to tackle systemic violence in a community, to tackle the stigma that the community has about law enforcement, and then to collectively seek a way to heal trauma in communities and build relationships with community and police.

The CSP agents commit themselves to the mission for five years, in order to be able to take root in the neighborhood. Nearly a quarter of the LAPD’s 100 CSP officers are black, and most of the rest are Latinos, according to department statistics.

A report by UCLA researchers released in May found that crime rates in two CSP housing estates, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens, were lower than in demographically similar neighborhoods that were not part of the program. Most of the residents the researchers interviewed had positive impressions of the CSP and said officers generally got along well with people.

But the report noted a lack of consistency and recommended a list of reforms, including the creation of a separate bureaucracy.

“The creation of an office within the LAPD is a radical change,” said Jorja Leap, professor at UCLA and co-author of the report. “I think that indicates this leader’s intention not to reform but to transform – and there is a radical difference.”

Harvard Park, which in 2017 became the first CSP site outside a subdivision, has gone from eight homicides in 2016 to none in 2019. CSP agents helped establish a walking club and a healthy eating club and playing in a basketball league with members of the community. .

“We’re heading into a day when they’re not needed in the intensity that they are now,” said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a city councilor who represents Harvard Park and other parts of southern LA. We’re not going to where Harvard Park was for not needing a police presence within three or four years.

Along with Harris-Dawson, City Councilor Joe Buscaino brought forward a motion calling for savings elsewhere in the LAPD budget to be redirected to the CSP. He also wants the LAPD to expand its senior officer program, which assigns officers to neighborhoods to address quality of life issues.

Buscaino, a former LAPD officer whose district stretches from San Pedro to Watts, wants the new officers to make a stint at the CSP, “so they have the mindset, they understand it, they understand it. embrace “.

“And this is a real reform for me, when it comes to building confidence,” he added.