Nearly a dozen community organizations praised the Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday for scheduling an official meeting outside of police headquarters or Los Angeles City Hall.
Tuesday evening’s 6:30 p.m. meeting at Markham Middle School in Watts is the first of several off-site meetings aimed at directly engaging local communities. Leaders of the groups said they have been lobbying the Police Commission to make the move as a way to increase transparency.
“Securing this meeting is a long sought-after step to increase transparency and community engagement between the commissioners and the people whose lives are affected profoundly by their regulations and policies,” said Melina Abdullah, founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
Other organizations praising the move included Advancement Project California, the ACLU, Brotherhood Crusade, Children’s Defense Fund – Los Angeles, Community Coalition, Los Angeles Community Action Network, Los Angeles Urban League, LA Voice, SEIU Local 721 and SEIU Local 2015.
“This historic first meeting is a crucial opportunity for the residents of South L.A. to have their voices and concerns directly heard around public safety issues in their neighborhood,” said Alberto Retana, president and CEO of the Community Coalition.
Agenda items scheduled for discussion at the meeting include presentations on crime trends and community partnerships in South L.A., the recent tactical de-escalation techniques directive, and the status of training provided to officers relative to the directive.
“At the meeting, we are going to strongly urge the board to put in place comprehensive public safety strategies that improve relationships between the police and communities of color,” said April Verrett, executive vice president of SEIU Local 2015.
The Community Coalition said it polled more than 4,200 South L.A. residents and the results showed they believed no major recent improvements have been made to address police misconduct, accountability and transparency.
“It is unacceptable that there have not been significant changes that advance communities in South L.A. around issues such as access to police misconduct investigation findings,” said Pete White, executive director of Los Angeles Community Action Network. “We will weigh in on the concerns that impact our daily lives and hold the board accountable to implement community- driven public safety strategies.”
–City News Service
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