LA to dismantle special units
to put more officers on streets

(LOS ANGELES) -- Mayor Richard Riordan and Los Angeles City Council members gave their support Friday to a plan to dismantle special police crime-fighting units to put more officers on the streets.

''The mayor wants more officers out in the street, and he knows that many of them are performing administrative roles. He wants those sworn officers to be on patrol doing what cops do best, and that is fighting crime,'' said Deputy Mayor Peter Hidalgo.

Los Angeles Police Department officials announced Thursday that they would dismantle special units in the San Fernando Valley and others citywide to try to stop an upswing in violent crimes.

In the Valley, the changes will mean the elimination of six units targeting violent crimes, auto thefts and sex offenders to free up 115 officers for patrol.

Chief Bernard C. Parks said earlier this week that overall crime in Los Angeles has risen by 9.2 percent and homicides have jumped by 24.8 percent over the past year.

At the same time, the number of police officers has fallen and recruitment has not kept pace. City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, chairwoman of the Public Safety Committee, proposed a plan Friday to boost recruitment and retention in the police ranks.

The seven-point plan includes requesting reports from the police and personnel departments on budget and staff needs to boost recruiting efforts, working with the police and civilian unions, and forming a task force to address morale issues.

''The recent increase in serious crime within the city, dismal reports about recruiting and hiring efforts, tales of low police officer morale and a federal consent decree mandating reform bring us to a crossroads never before experienced in the history of policing in Los Angeles,'' Miscikowski said in a statement released Friday.

Council members Mike Feuer and Mark Ridley-Thomas signed a motion to adopt Miscikowski's plan, which will be considered by the full City Council later this month.

''The issue of redeployment is very important,'' Ridley-Thomas said. ''There needs to be a maximization of deployment within our current resources and (a reduction) of the number of specialty areas or specialized units so that patrol can be as robust as possible.''

Riordan announced earlier this month a three-pronged effort to improve the Los Angeles Police Department in the face of the Rampart Division scandal and with a shortage of sworn and civilian officers department-wide. His program emphasizes morale, recruitment and deployment.

''That is the priority of the mayor to implement reform that makes LAPD a more effective organization and to reduce crime,'' Hidalgo said.

Plan OK'd To Deploy More Cops; Council To Explore Recruiting Alexa Haussler Staff Writer December 2, 2000, Saturday, Valley Edition Copyright 2000 Tower Media, Inc. The Daily News Of Los Angeles December 2, 2000, Saturday, Valley Edition Terms and Conditions Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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