cars and other issues - it's important to contact the police
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter was written after a car that
was thought to be stolen and abandoned in Montecito Heights turned
out not to be:
I'll let the 1-800-ABANDON call go (the number for reporting such
But it's important to be vigilant about calling the police when
something looks suspicious even if the situation turns out to not
be what we thought, as in this case. Whoever does the budget bases
the number of police they let us have on how many calls go out for
our area. So if nothing else we're building up a bank of calls that
will be evaluated when they next budget where police and basic cars
will go. I feel like a nuisance when I call the police over every
little thing, and sometimes those dispatchers can make you feel
like you're annoying them with your calls about loud parties or
vagrants or whatever, but the actual officers like it when we call
because it means their positions are justified.
I talked to the Front Desk Officer when I was calling about this
and he said that the most money goes to the communities that call
the most, because police administrators can justify expenditure
for police staffing by the number of calls received. He went on
to say that this is one of the primary reasons the Valley Secession
movement started: they pay substantial taxes, but since their need
for police is relatively limited, they don't have the police presence
to show up immediately (read they lack money and staffing in the
valley). That's when people get ticked off. Police presence is highest
in South and Southeast Los Angeles, he said, because there is way
more crime there, as illustrated by the number of police calls received.
So our calls to the police are not completely in vain, even if it
seems that way while you sit and wait for them to show up for hours
(I've done it and it's terrible).
Last night there were some people drinking and partying up by the
radio tower wall on Montecito Drive and I called it in. I also alerted
a few others on the phone tree and I don't know if they called,
but the police rousted them about 20 minutes later, a pretty quick
response for a call like that.
It's all about budgets. The police are feeling the impact of the
budget cuts - apparently there will be only two more classes of
new police recruits to graduate and then no more new cops after
that; this compounded by the fact that management has restricted
officers from working any overtime. It used to be that they would
work the overtime anyway and get paid later when the budget was
reconciled or something like that. That's no longer an option. The
police love Chief Bratton, but they also can't make ends meet on
the salary, and other Departments have better pensions and benefits.
He said they lose about one officer a day to other departments.
Just a little inside information for you. : )