Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that his department is prepared to respond to any violence related to the Nov. 3 general election.
Voting will start at many Los Angeles County vote centers on Saturday, and voting by mail has been in full force throughout California, with more than 1.5 million early ballots already cast, according to state officials.
When asked by the Police Commission what he would tell Los Angeles residents who have concerns about their safety at the polls and what the LAPD is planning, Moore said, “We are safe.”
“We’re working with all of our partners, both first responders, emergency partners as well as L.A. County (sheriffs) … to talk about the approaching election cycle,” Moore said, adding that he has spoken to state and federal law enforcement as well to plan for any protests or groups that become violent.
LAPD sent an internal memo to its officers last week that said they may need to reschedule any vacations around election day as the agency prepares for possible protests or other unrest, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The chief said the department is working with the Registrar Recorder/County Clerk’s office to ensure that people understand the rules of participating in an election and the ways they can vote.
“The most important aspect in our democracy is an election, a right to vote,” Moore said.
Moore said if there are any disturbances, the LAPD is prepared to issue similar orders put in place in late May and early June due to protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
During that time, curfews were implemented and unlawful gatherings were issued, and more than 2,700 people were arrested for not complying, vandalism, assault or other alleged crimes.
The LAPD was criticized by social justice groups in its response to the protests, which showed images of demonstrators being shot at with less-lethal projectiles, while some were corralled into buses — closely quartered despite the coronavirus pandemic — to be processed.
But Moore said he doesn’t anticipate any major incidents in Los Angeles, as the city doesn’t have the same volume of armed militia groups as other cities.
Moore said the LAPD will be fully staffed during the election period, with officers alternating shifts to ensure a full presence.
During the Los Angeles City Council meeting, Registrar Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said the county’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated since the beginning of the pandemic, and it responds civil unrest as well.
“It’s a critical concern, and I share the frustration with the national narrative around that,” Logan said. “We want voters to feel comfortable using any of the options available for voting in Los Angeles County, and we’ve invested a lot into messaging around that.”
Logan said county officials have spoken with poll workers about when to tell people that campaigning near a voting center is illegal, and what to do if a dispute becomes tense.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: