Five Los Angeles City Council members released a survey Tuesday to solicit input from residents on public safety and policing, as the council works to develop unarmed crisis response teams to handle nonviolent situations.
Council President Nury Martinez, along with Councilmen Herb Wesson, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Curren Price and Bob Blumenfield, said in a statement the response teams would divert nonviolent calls from the Los Angeles Police Department.
“Whether it’s reforms, re-imagining public safety or how we invest dollars and resources in disenfranchised communities, there will be dialogue where this City Council listens and the people of Los Angeles speak,” Martinez said. “As the city’s legislative body, we introduced and sponsored these actions, but any reform must start and end with public input if we are truly going to work toward transformative change in the city of Los Angeles.”
The survey asks respondents questions about their own perceptions and experiences with the police, including whether an increased police presence makes them feel safer and whether they believe an unarmed model of crisis response is appropriate for nonviolent incidents.
The survey also seeks feedback on whether other types of community safety initiatives, like the Safe Passage program, should be expanded, along with questions about possible public safety alternatives.
Along with the survey, the council members announced a series of virtual town hall meetings, titled “Reimagining Public Safety: An Unarmed Crisis Response,” which will be held Aug. 13, 20 and 27. Times for the virtual town hall meetings are pending, according to Rick Coca, a spokesman for Martinez.
The survey and planned town halls come on the heels of the passage of a motion to create response teams, co-authored by Wesson, Martinez, Harris-Dawson, Price and Blumenfield.
Council members said the motion is part of a larger effort to reimagine public safety in Los Angeles and calls for the development of a systematic crisis-response plan to directly connect people in need to city, county or community-based service providers.
Nonviolent crisis responders would include medical professionals, mental health workers, homeless outreach workers and other unarmed professionals with specialized training, according to the council members.
“You can’t have a conversation about public safety without first talking to the public,” Wesson said. “The City Council is without a doubt serious about making major changes to the current system of public safety, but the vision for what that change looks like must be inclusive of the people who took to the streets and demanded it.”
People can participate in the survey in English at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQXxI1hy8V0Xa8zY-sY9aB80lb2IFwCOBLaMLxxBm169MenQ/viewform; or in Spanish at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdEIhbCnSE-XTc4kUptMA62ip7DlhKUar7UgYVZLGNO2-XdwA/viewform.