LOS ANGELES (CN) — The Los Angeles Police Department will expand a pilot program to create a new police bureau focused on minimal policing and more reliance on input from residents in their own neighborhoods.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the Community Safety Partnership (CSP) Bureau will focus on community policing, in which both community-based groups and representatives from city hall will make up local neighborhood councils.
The CSP Bureau also oversees gang reduction youth development programs that “ask [residents] for co-ownership” of public safety, Garcetti said during a press briefing on Monday.
“Today we take a big step forward in building on that success to ensure equity, justice and fairness for every Angeleno,” said Garcetti. “We’re taking CSP from a core pillar of this department to part of the foundation of the Los Angeles Police Department. We’re always learning we need to stay humble, we need to know where we fall short, but we have to keep demanding more and better.”
The makeup of the department will be fundamentally different from other policing units in the LAPD, as the CSP bureau will rely on guidance from community leaders, representatives from city hall and others within the neighborhood.
Captain Emada Tingirides has been involved with the CSP program since its inception in 2010. Back then, it was only a pilot program in select parts of the city. Tingirides said it was important not to have the word “police” in the bureau title.
“This isn’t an LAPD program. This is a community program,” said Tingirides. “This is about understanding the cultures of the communities and adjusting in how we work and respond to conflict within communities.”
The program provides gang intervention training for officers, who also meet with teenagers in the neighborhoods where they’re assigned.
“This is the future of American policing,” said civil rights attorney Connie Rice, who has championed the expansion of the program. According to a study from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, the CSP program and other community-based partnerships with police have resulted in a reduction in violent crimes. The LAPD cited the study in its rollout of the CSP expansion and says the program will improve trust in the police department over time.
The shift is part of an overall examination of police relationships with the communities they serve in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests over police brutality.
This past weekend, protesters who rallied in downtown LA encountered LAPD officers sporting riot gear and employing less-than-lethal weapons. Demonstrators were protesting in solidarity with protesters in Portland, Oregon, which is occupied by a federal police force.