LAPD submits proposal for unarmed response unit to deal with certain calls for service

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Friday, March 3, 2023
LAPD submits proposal for unarmed response unit
The LAPD has submitted a proposal that would allow an unarmed response unit to deal with certain calls for service, including drinking in public and cleaning up homeless encampments

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The union representing officers of the Los Angeles Police Department has submitted a proposal to the city council to start an unarmed police unit to deal with certain non-violent calls for service.

In the proposal, unarmed response calls that the LAPD would no longer respond to would include disputes between landlords and tenants, syringe disposals, homeless encampment cleanups, drinking in public, a person dumping trash, loitering/trespassing and illegal gambling.

"Police officers are not psychologists. We are not psychiatrists. We are not mental health experts. We are not social workers, doctors, nurses, or waste management experts," said Debbie Thomas, the director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. "I do believe that many people think we should be all those things, but we are not. We should be focused on responding to emergencies, saving lives, property, and of course, engaging in community policing."

The union says the unarmed officers would go through rigorous training, and that armed officers would be around the corner if a situation turns violent.

In total, the union submitted 28 calls for service that could be given to unarmed officers. But not on the list was traffic accidents and traffic enforcement, which is something some members of the city council have already taken issue with.

Despite the disagreement, several city council members voiced their encouragement with the proposal.

"I'm encouraged to hear officers of the LAPD take this first step towards joining in this vision and I look forward to discussing how we can continue to reimagine our public safety systems to prioritize unarmed, life-affirming alternatives to crisis response for Los Angeles," said City Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.