Local government’s number one job is to keep people safe. I’m committed to making L.A. a truly safe place to live, work, and raise a family. From focusing police officers on crime suppression and solving crimes, to investing in meaningful police reform and insisting upon accountability and transparency, to investing deeply in all the communities of Los Angeles to create truly safe and healthy neighborhoods, to keeping our streets well lit and our intersections safe for pedestrians, we have much to do, and I’m going to be laser-focused on leveraging resources and implementing solutions.

 

Law Enforcement Funding and Staffing

I support a well-staffed, well-funded, well-trained, accountable, and transparent police department. I will prioritize moving more officers onto the streets to deter crime and respond more quickly and effectively when a crime occurs. This will necessitate hiring more officers as well as moving existing officers from administrative jobs into patrol and police response. The next Mayor, the City Council, and LAPD leadership should together decide what the optimal number of sworn officers will be, with a goal of minimizing the number of double shifts and overtime officers should work.

I support an audit of the department to determine, over the long term, how to provide the best use of the funds available to LAPD to maximize community safety, optimize the officers we already have, and reduce response times when folks call 911 for help. No one should be put on hold when they call 911. It won’t take a lot of money to guarantee that 911 calls are answered and responded to immediately and eliminating 911 wait times is an absolute priority.

 

Focusing Officers on Crime Solving and Suppression

I’m also committed to shifting officers away from homelessness response and mental health calls in situations where it is safe to do so. I will bring the recently created Crisis and Incident Response through Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE) pilot program to CD 5, a program already up and running in two nearby council districts that divert nonviolent 911 calls involving unhoused individuals away from law enforcement and towards outreach teams and trained crisis responders with pre-existing relationships in the communities of Council District 5. I will also bring the new Therapeutic Transportation program to Council District 5, which pairs mental health teams with LAPD and LAFD, and provides specialized care for mostly unhoused Angelenos while freeing up first responders to focus on other 911 calls. Sending mental health professionals to respond means unhoused individuals receive more effective care AND law enforcement is freed to focus on public safety.

 

Investing in Police Reform

I’m committed to making our communities safe in a way that acknowledges, is responsive to, and addresses the long-standing systemic violence against Black and Brown communities. This means I will prioritize regular de-escalation training, hiring more women officers and officers of color from communities that they then serve, requiring secondary education, and insisting that officers are held accountable for misconduct. None of this will be inexpensive, but it’s the only way we can ensure true public safety for all Angelenos. We’ll end up saving money on litigation settlements and should re-invest those saved dollars in ongoing training and in our communities.

 

Investing in all the communities of Los Angeles

At the same time, we need to focus on a more holistic approach to public safety, one that prioritizes prevention, rehabilitation, deep investments in youth and restoring communities, comprehensive mental health care, education, and career training, access to good-paying jobs, and other strategies to infuse economic opportunity into all the communities of Los Angeles. Doing so will address the underlying conditions that have fostered violence and property crime – because when people are given a real opportunity, they are less likely to turn to criminal acts of desperation. We must create paths connecting people to opportunity and stability.

 

More broadly, we need to look at public safety holistically. To me, this includes implementing proven policies and infrastructure improvements to reduce pedestrian traffic deaths, making sure our streets are well lit, ensuring children have safe routes to school and supporting neighborhood walks.

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Paid for by Katy Young Yaroslavsky For City Council 2022
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Photos: Header, Lawrence Schiller - Family, Cliff Kramer/Dream Pix Fine Art Photography.