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Aug 2023
Fewest Cops In A Generation: LAPD Shrinks Below 9,000 Officers
Law Enforcement News

Fewest Cops In A Generation: LAPD Shrinks Below 9,000 Officers

The number of officers employed by the LAPD has dropped below 9,000, a staffing level unseen since the administration of former LA Mayor Richard Riordan in the 1990s. Several City officials told NBC's I-Team that as of July 30 there were 8,967 officers employed, far below Mayor Karen Bass' goal of a 9,500 officers, and about 300 below what the current budget allows, roughly 9,300 officers. Since then another class graduated from the LAPD academy -- bringing the total number of officers to 8,995, though it will be several months before the newest officers complete field training. A new academy class began last week at less than half capacity. "Unfortunately that academy class will only have 29 recruits," Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners July 25. "Our effort is to hire 60 every 4 weeks." The LAPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the current staffing numbers or how the reduction in available officers was affecting operations. Mayor Bass' office said in a short statement, "The Mayor has made clear that she takes hiring of LAPD officers and retention at LAPD very seriously and has taken action to address both." Officers are voting this week on whether or not to accept a new, 4-year employment contract that promises near 20-percent raises for most officers and a higher starting salary for recruits. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents most officers, said last week it hoped that the pay increases would help draw in more candidates for the LAPD.


7 Indicted In 7 Killings, Including Inglewood Birthday Party Ambush That Left Four Dead

Seven men were indicted this week on murder and other charges related to a shooting rampage in Inglewood, Compton and Los Angeles that left seven people dead and several others wounded more than two years ago. The alleged gang shootings included the ambush killing of four people at a January 2021 birthday party on Park Avenue in Inglewood that left a scene of blood, bullet holes and balloons — one of the city’s worst acts of violence in decades. Dist. Atty. George Gascón said Tuesday that a grand jury had handed down a 37-count indictment the previous day in connection with four separate incidents in December 2021 and January 2022. “Today, we mark a significant development in our ongoing efforts to combat gun violence,” Gascón said. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he hoped the indictment, which resulted from a joint investigation with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, would “bring some justice” to the families of the seven victims. The seven people charged are suspected members or associates of the East Coast Crips 118, and they dubbed themselves the “shooter clique,” according to law enforcement sources who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly. A video surveillance camera captured the horrific carnage of the shooting.

Los Angeles Times

LAPD Chief Moore, LA County Sheriff Luna Appear In Court To Discuss Zero-Bail Policies

LAPD Chief Michel Moore and Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna testified at a court hearing Monday about a highly controversial issue: zero-cash bail for suspects arrested in connection with certain types of crime. Moore and Luna appeared in a downtown LA courtroom to provide information about how their respective departments are handling the matter. "That's why we are in court today: We want to make sure there is a fair and equitable system, a system that's constitutional," Luna told ABC7 in a brief interview outside the courthouse. Back in May, the judge granted a preliminary injunction in a class action lawsuit. Under the ruling, the Los Angeles police and L.A. County sheriff's departments cannot require cash bail for certain people in custody before their arraignment. Typically, when someone is arrested, the charges are set by law enforcement and come with a specific bail amount. Those who can't afford it have to wait in jail. Attorneys say that's what happened to several of their clients who were held for felony vandalism. "Two of our plaintiffs were arrested for this offense. Neither one was ultimately charged. Both were released after five days of pre-arraignment jail based on money bail," said attorney Taylor Benninger.


Video: Woman Sought In Attack On Taco Stand Vendor In Watts

Police are searching for a woman who was caught on video attacking a taco street vendor in the Watts area of Los Angeles before leaving the scene in a pink Lexus sedan. The altercation happened at the Tacos Ortiz taco stand located on 1651 E. 103rd Street on Sunday at around 6 p.m., according to the Los Angeles Police Department. According to the street vendor, the woman, wearing a purple tie-dye shirt, had been taking tacos without paying. They say this has happened a few times in the past, but this time they denied her service. According to LAPD, the woman used pepper spray on the street vendors. The video shared on social media shows the woman grabbing and shaking the taco stand table. At one point she grabs their street sign and throws it at the vendors. She can be seen swinging wildly at one of the people working at the stand. The woman is then seen getting into the passenger side of a pink Lexus sedan and speeding away.


San Pedro Man Sentenced To Time Served In Extortion Case

A San Pedro man was sentenced Tuesday to 40 months of time served for pulling off a “virtual kidnapping” scam in which dozens of victims in Southern California and elsewhere were duped by phone into paying thousands of dollars in ransom to free their family members, who in reality hadn’t been kidnapped at all. Julio Reyes “Muneco” Zuniga, 51, pleaded guilty last year in Los Angeles federal court to two conspiracy counts involving extortion and money laundering, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Reyes Zuniga, a member of a San Pedro street gang who had been imprisoned in Mexico since 1996 for two murder convictions, was extradited to Los Angeles three years ago to face charges contained in a 31-count indictment. A federal grand jury in September 2019 returned the indictment, charging Reyes Zuniga with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, 27 counts of extortion, two counts of foreign communication of threats with intent to extort money, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. 


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Thieves Steal $300K Worth Of Merchandise From Yves Saint Laurent Store At The Americana In Glendale

A group of thieves were captured on video fleeing a high-end clothing store at the Americana at Brand in Glendale after stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise. The theft happened at the shopping center's Yves Saint Laurent store Tuesday around 5 p.m. Glendale police said about $300,000 worth of merchandise was stolen in what was described as a "flash mob" burglary involving 30-40 people. The suspects escaped in about 20 separate vehicles, according to police. There were no injuries or weapons used. Footage of the brazen robbery has gone viral on social media and is now the subject of a police investigation by Glendale police. Southern California has seen plenty of similar incidents caught on camera. A report from the National Retail Federation last year said Los Angeles was the metro area most affected by retail theft in the country. Back in June, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a partnership between the state's Department of Justice and more than a dozen retailers and online marketplaces like Target and Amazon. The goal is to crack down on retail crime. As part of the partnership, the retailers signed a pledge to increase information sharing between them and law enforcement.


Man Suspected Of Intentionally Setting 12 Fires In Burbank

A man from Reseda was arrested early Tuesday morning following a string of fires in Burbank that appear to have been deliberately set. Officers from the Burbank Police Department and firefighters from the Burbank Fire Department responded to 11 different reports of a person setting fires in dumpster, bushes and trash heaps across the city. The fire spree began around 10:40 p.m. Monday night, and was primarily concentrated in the southwest portion of the city, police said. Each fire was quickly extinguished before it could spread to any structures and no injuries were reported. As part of the investigation, police obtained security footage that showed the suspect and his vehicle. Around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, authorities responded to a 12th fire burning behind a Starbucks on the 300 block of N. Pass Avenue. Police searched the area and located and arrested a man inside a nearby Vons who matched the description of the suspect. He’s been identified as Tigran Gazdhyan, 31, of Reseda.


Over $68 Million Worth Of Illegal Cannabis Seized In California

Over $68 million in illegal cannabis was seized by California authorities during a recent crackdown. The operation targeted the illicit cannabis market where 24 search warrants were served at multiple locations from July 11 through 13, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Unlicensed commercial cannabis cultivation sites were discovered in the Whitney Creek, Harry Cash, and Shasta Vistas areas of Siskiyou County in Northern California. Agents involved in the operation were a part of the state’s Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce. During the crackdown, authorities seized: 67,045 illegal cannabis plants; 8,019.75 pounds of illegal processed cannabis worth an estimated $68.5 million; and a dozen firearms confiscated. The illegal cultivation sites were associated with suspected environmental violations, including the use of unlawful pesticides and other toxic chemicals, authorities said. “These dangerous chemicals not only degrade California’s natural resources, but also endanger workers and others exposed to them,” officials said.


Texas Officer In Unmarked Cruiser Shot During Carjacking

A plainclothes Dallas police officer was shot early Wednesday just before his parked, unmarked vehicle was stolen, police said. The Northwest Division Crime Response Team officer was shot around 12:45 a.m. in the 2400 block of Northwest Highway, Dallas police said. The officer’s injury is not life-threatening, police said. He was taken to a hospital. An assailant with two guns got out of a car parked immediately behind the officer’s vehicle and approached, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said, according to WFAA-TV. The officer got out and exchanged gunfire with the assailant. The assailant is not in custody. The stolen police vehicle was found in a parking lot near the scene, WFAA reported.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Public Safety News

LA County Launches Awareness Campaign On Gun Violence Restraining Orders

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors began a public outreach campaign Tuesday aimed at expanding the use of gun violence restraining orders, which can prevent gun purchases and ownership by people deemed by a judge to be a danger of harming themselves or others. The board earlier this year directed its staff to develop a plan for increasing public awareness of the orders, which Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis contended in a motion are highly underutilized in the county. The motion notes that in 2022, only 66 such restraining orders were issued in the county, and only one of those was initiated by a non-law-enforcement party. During the same year, more than 400 gun violence restraining orders were issued in San Diego County, which has only one-third the population of Los Angeles County, according to the motion. The board on Tuesday unanimously approved public-outreach recommendations that were developed by the Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention, which will oversee the awareness campaign.


COVID-19 Is ‘Heating Up All Around’ This Summer. Should We Be Wearing Masks Again?

The uptick in coronavirus transmission this summer has not brought major alarm from health experts. But it is raising questions about whether the risks are high enough to go back to safety measures that many have abandoned. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert, said transmission is increasing and “we haven’t seen the crest yet” of the wave. Most people have stopped wearing masks and aren’t likely to follow suggestions to return to that practice all the time again. But swearing off masks for good — even when sitting on a plane next to someone who is coughing or sneezing — would unnecessarily put people at higher risk for illness. “I think there’s, like, an in-between” message, Chin-Hong said. There are people who may want to avoid contracting COVID-19 “because it’s disruptive to life.” Chin-Hong said he’s aware of people who’ve had to change big travel plans to Europe and Africa because of illness. “Right now, when things are heating up all around the country with COVID, you might want to think about [masking at] public transit and airports,” Chin-Hong said. And even if you don’t choose to mask up, “definitely be kind to people who decide to wear masks.”

Los Angeles Times

About the LAPPL: Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents more than 9,200 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education.

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