Arthur A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur.
Robin Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c.
International Human Rights Law and Policy
email to: Arthur@lacp.org
Hon. Nate Holden
Los Angeles City Council
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Councilman Holden,
Further to my telephone conversations with Media Director Angela
Estell of your executive staff, I am submitting the following thoughts
in the hopes you may find them of assistance in your meeting on
Friday, November 15, with LAPD Chief Bratton.
Our brief outline addresses two primary subjects, viz.,
violence in the 77th Division; and
Homeless sweeps in downtown Los Angeles.
Violence Reduction, 77th Division:
To aid in your preparations for the meeting with Chief Bratton,
we have attached a copy of our Gang Violence Reduction notes we
prepared for Monsignor John Moretta, Church of the Resurrection,
Boyle Heights (please see: Letter
to Monseinior Moretta). Chief Bratton read and commented
on this document at the Police Commission meeting which took place
there on October 29. He added that he intends to incorporate and
implement a number of our recommendations (please see Chief
Bratton in the Hollenbeck Community, Oct 29).
We would welcome the opportunity to contribute to a reduction in
gang violence in the 77th Division, and South Central Los Angeles
Homeless Sweeps in Downtown Los Angeles:
As you know, my firm has been active for a number of years in comparative
research and development of Community Policing approaches in this
subject matter area. We presented several studies and reports to
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, and remain in close contact
with key executives of LASD regarding community policing innovative
solutions on the interrelated topics of homelessness, drug and alcohol
addiction, and mental illness on the streets.
Although we can appreciate the need to prepare downtown Los Angeles
for redevelopment, including quality of life misdemeanor enforcement,
we continue to advocate a balancing of social and economic interests.
Our comparative research of successful programs in other cities
in the US and Europe confirms our advocacy of a more holistic, interagency
approach than is currently visualized by LAPD, the City Attorney,
or the Central City Association.
As we have maintained in past studies and publications, the problems
of homelessness, substance addiction and mental illness can best
be combated by a concerted plan of enforcement, intervention and
prevention spearheaded by enlightened Community Policing leadership.
That approach has produced extraordinary results in many cities
and counties, including Portland, and Multnomah County, Oregon;
San Diego, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Minneapolis/St.
Paul, Minnesota; in the policies and programs currently in operation
or development at the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department; and in a
large number of European metropolitan areas we have visited, studied
The integral approach coordinates available community resources
from the outset. These include social services, housing, mental
health, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, counseling and education.
Also, the cumulative costs of arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating
the homeless and mentally ill must be accounted for and contrasted
with the known costs and benefits of a more permanent community
policing philosophy of prevention, intervention and recidivism reduction.
Moreover, California case law such as the Court of Appeals decision
in In re Eichorn (Santa Ana, 1999), must be considered
for their potential collateral attack on homeless sweeps and prosecutions
in light of the defense of necessity set forth in that opinion.
We would urge you to discuss the alternatives with Chief Bratton.
We would further suggest a more inclusive assessment of all existing
community resources, together with a planned evaluation accounting
technique for any such comprehensive police operation that impacts
basic social policy involving great numbers of homeless, addicted
and mentally ill persons. We would also suggest that a joint meeting
with LASD executives would be extremely helpful at this juncture.
Comparative good examples abound. To illustrate:
and Mayberg's California Report on Effectiveness of Integrated
Services for Homeless Adults with Serious Mental Illness,
submitted to Governor Davis on July 15, 2002. Based on the specific
collaboration with law enforcement in the 43 municipalities
and communities included in the study, the Report presented
the following outcomes over the past 12 months:
number of days of psychiatric hospitalization since enrollment
number of days of incarceration dropped by 81.5%;
number of days spent homeless dropped by 79.1%.
Report further states that one of the prime essential components
of any successful program is the initial contact by police for the
purpose of "Outreach for identification, assessment, and diagnosis
of target clients…"
The Report's Implementation Approach and Study Methodology leaves
no doubt whatsoever that their success depends directly on close
cooperation with law enforcement. "Joint outreach with law enforcement"
is listed repeatedly throughout the document.
Finally, the Report continues to emphasize joint responsibility
-and credit for success-with law enforcement in the section entitled
"Program/Fiscal Impact", which addresses the savings to taxpayers
realized through reductions in incarceration and recidivism.
Diego's experience should be considered not only for the PERT
team (mental illness episode response), but also for the Homeless
Outreach Team (HOT),which is a joint outreach team consisting
of police officers, social workers and psychiatric clinicians
who make regular patrols in areas of concentrated homelessness.
Their statistics can be retrieved from the San Diego Police
Department, and will prove to be quite informative.
County, Oregon (containing the City of Portland) launched a
mental health and homeless outreach team in July 2001. Although
it is the creation of the County Department of Mental Health,
under the supervision of Dr. Peter Davidson, its methodology
and approach are very much in line with progressive community
policing techniques. A few examples of the team's success rated:
August 2001 and April 2002, calls per month to the crisis hotline
dropped from 4,000 to 2,200;
During the same period, the number of days spent in psychiatric
wards dropped from 1,500 to 1,000;
number of times Portland Police took psychotic or suicidal individuals
to emergency rooms dropped from 175 to 110.
Zürich, Switzerland, the SIP (Safety, Intervention, Prevention)
teams, which are constituted much as the interagency outreach
teams in several US jurisdictions, reduced total homelessness
by 56% in the first 18 months of operation; then reduced it
by a further 38% in the following 12 month period. These reductions
produced an enormous savings of city finances, and the SIP program
is paying its own way on a cost/benefit analysis. We have maintained
a close and informal partnership with the Sozialrat of the City
of Zürich for the past two years, as well as a continuing comparative
statistical analysis and evaluation of results.
properly planned and implemented, a community policing interagency
approach is nearly always more inclusive and better coordinated
than is presently visualized by LAPD, the City Attorney, and the
Central City Association. It can reduce violence and concentrations
among the homeless, and prevent recidivism. It can maximize existing
social and medical infrastructural facilities while rendering them
more efficient through permanent police leadership.
We will appreciate an opportunity to be of service in the foregoing
areas of public safety and welfare.
A. Jones, J.D., Dr.jur.
Wiseman, J.D., Dr.h.c.
cc: Sheriff Lee
Dr. Richard Weintraub
LAPD Chief William Bratton
LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell
--- Arthur A. Jones and Robin Wiseman are international human
rights lawyers with legal educations in the United States and Europe.
They are consultants and authors on international policing, social
policy and human rights, and regular contributors to the forum here
at LA Community Policing.
additional information or a complete list of references, contact: