NEWS of the Day - November 18, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - November 18, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


Lakers' Kobe Bryant leads annual Homewalk to End Homelessness

City News Service

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers all-star guard Kobe Bryant will lead more than 10,000 participants through Exposition Park for today's sixth annual Homewalk to End Homelessness in Los Angeles County.

For the second consecutive year, Bryant is the honorary chairman of the five-kilometer run and walk, which is part of the United Way's campaign to end poverty in Los Angeles County.

Registration is $25 for walkers and $30 for runners. The fee is waived for children 17 years old and under. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will match every donation of $100 or more, with organizers expecting a record amount to be raised.

All proceeds are used to support organizations that move homeless veterans and chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing.

Bryant said he became interested in trying to end homelessness because "it's an issue that's kind of faded into the background."

"There are a lot of issues out there that are the popular issues that are more comfortable for people to get behind," Bryant said after a recent practice. "A lot of times things are done for just for public image sake. I wanted to do something that needed some attention."

Bryant said he would like people to become aware of homelessness and how people become homeless.

"Some of them just because of discrimination, some because of a death in the family and all of a sudden they don't have anyone to take care of them," Bryant said. "Some of them made bad decisions and all of a sudden here they are, they need help getting out of that situation."

Bryant said "there are a lot of things that we must do in order to eradicate" homelessness, beginning with "getting to the root of the problem."

"A lot of them struggle with addictions and mental health and things of that nature. There's a lot that needs to be done, there's a lot of understanding that needs to go into it."

According to statistics provided by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles County is the homeless capital of the nation, with 51,000 people living without homes, including more than 20,000 women and children and 9,000 military veterans.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles is in the midst of a 10-year plan to "create pathways out of poverty," including decreasing homeless in Los Angeles County by 75 percent.

The effort to reduce homelessness, dubbed "Home For Good," began in December 2010 in conjunction with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. It focuses on eliminating chronic and veterans homelessness by 2016 through a "Housing First" approach.




Community-based policing begins with you

by Walt Candelari

When my daughter was growing up, she would bring me all of her toys to fix, all her problems to solve and ask me all of the hard questions in life.

Her mother got the truly impossible questions. Later, as she grew older, there were fewer toys to fix, she learned how to solve more of her problems, and she broadened her base of sources to resolve the crises of life.

I was still included, but she was learning to be her own person and make her own decisions. It was humbling as well as rewarding to realize I was no longer the “Oracle at Delphi.”

Law enforcement is much the same in many ways. Initially, the community looks to them for all of the answers and to solve all of the problems.

What are you doing about burglaries in the community? What are you going to do to stop gangs from growing?

Why isn't the police department more sensitive to our needs and concerns? We are looking to you to fix everything. After all, it is your responsibility, and it is what we pay you to do.

For years, many departments operated under this philosophy, only to find out it was a losing battle. No department can be everywhere at all times and solve problems everyone assumed they knew all about but in reality, knew little if anything.

Communities also realized that, like the developmental process, they were major shareholders in the process and outcomes. It was no longer a “their (the police) problem and responsibility” it was an “our community and our future” issue.

Community-based policing is the result of this transition. It is the belief that residents have a responsibility to participate in the police process, not as vigilantes or certified officers but as partners in identifying problems, being active participants in developing solutions and being an integral participant in the implementation of strategies.

Likewise, law enforcement must be committed to accepting the community as an active and integral partner in the reduction of crime.

They must realize and accept the fact that they do not operate in a vacuum and progress in crime prevention can only be sustained through a cooperative venture.

Each segment has its unique contribution and issues. Not every resident will be a firm supporter of law enforcement nor will every officer completely accept the input of the community, but it is the commitment of the majority that makes it work.

Every year, the Dickinson Police Department, as do many other agencies in the area, sponsors at least one Citizens Police Academy.

Dickinson's will start in February and will meet once a week for fifteen weeks. Classes are conducted by our officers and each week offers an insight into who we are and what is important to us.

At the same time, every class offers an opportunity for community input and questions (i.e. Why don't we see you in our neighborhood? What is a Taser? I reported drugs and nothing was done. What do I do if I don't think I deserved a ticket? What can I do to make my neighborhood a safer place? Are there any convicted child predators in Dickinson?), etc.

This is an absolute win-win situation in that residents get an up-close-and-personal perspective of the department, and we have an opportunity to find out what are the important issues in our community. But most importantly, we begin to build bridges and strengthen ties within our city.

When I speak of crime prevention, the most critical element is always that of involvement. You can tell me of your concerns and issues, but if I don't respond, it is of little value and has a negative impact.

If we discuss making neighborhoods, homes and businesses safer, but there is no change or involvement, then I become frustrated because I know that I can't do it alone and your perception of me and my department will not change because there has been no sustained difference.

The old saying, “If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs,” holds true here.

You cannot effect change without commitment and involvement. You have to break the eggs of complacency and become active.

It is hard when you are being pulled in many different directions as a parent, wage earner and significant other, but it is important.

Officer Tony Valdez, 281-337-4700, Ext. 357, who heads up our Citizens Police Academy, will be looking forward to seeing you in February.

If not ours, then please enroll in the one in your community. Make a difference. Change in a community begins with you. If not you, then who?

Remember, think, plan and execute crime prevention designs. Don't become a victim.

Walt Candelari is a police officer with Dickinson Police Department. He is writing a series of columns on creating an environment of safety from burglars.