The city of Los Angeles is facing a tide of $400 million in red ink, intermittent fire-company closures and probable layoffs. So if you're like us, you were probably just thinking, wow, what the city really needs right now is a "gang intervention training academy."
Don't get us wrong. There probably is some good work being done with the $26 million a year the city spends on gang intervention. Chief Charlie Beck has said cops can't fight gangs alone; there has to be prevention and alternatives to hood life. Fine. But now? Now is the time to spend $200,000 on this gang-intervention institute?
Yes, says the city, which signed a contract to create the Los Angeles Gang Intervention
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Training Academy on Thursday. "These brave men and women have chosen to correct their life's path, to work side by side with our police department to bridge the gap of cooperation for the sake of saving lives,'' said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Of course, gang intervention has seen its share of failures and controversy. There have been a few famous interventionists arrested for allegedly dipping back into gang crime even as they preached about its evils to others.
The academy is scheduled to begin training intervention workers in March. The idea is to develop professional standards and academic-style curricula for what constitutes good intervention, a discipline even the notoriously pro-intervention Villaraigosa admitted "is not a science."
Indeed. Solving the city's budget problems, however, is simple math. Add $200,000 to that deficit.