LASA Learns Law Enforcement
On Saturday, November 14th, LASA pursued our annual exploration of law enforcement in the City of Angels. Our morning began with Police Commissioner Robert Saltzman. Rob, the senior member of the 5-person civilian oversight body, gave us a fascinating view of the work that the Police Commission does, and he helped us all understand how complex such issues are –always – but maybe more so in these times. We went through a case study of the use of force, and LASA students and teachers asked Rob an entire range of questions about the work (and work load!) of the Commission. As always, we are so grateful for Rob’s time with us, and we especially appreciated his encouraging words to LASA students about staying engaged in civic issues and affairs.
Following lunch in the new courtyard next to the Broad Museum, we took our bus to the LAPD headquarters, where Officer Chris Gibson met us. Officer Gibson took us through the two memorial installations at LAPD HQ: the wall of badges for officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, and the sculptural representation of the same. We went then to the new Rampart station, just on the other side of the 110 Freeway from downtown, where we had a terrific tour of the facility. Both the station watch commander and captain spoke to the group, and we learned about the changes in community policing and outreach that have been initiated in recent years. We toured the holding facilities, where people are booked for various crimes, saw the weapons’ checkout station, and sat in the briefing room where the station and its personnel start their day. We learned of dropping major crime statistics in Rampart division. The captain was generous with his time, and we felt that interacting with LASA was itself an indication of community policing in action.
It was a very good day; our learning curve about law enforcement, and about oversight of the LAPD, was a steep one, and we were well served by the generous commitment of time by the LAPD and by Police Commissioner Saltzman.
No meeting in December – Happy Holidays—and an exploration of LA entertainment in January.