LAPD Gang Enforcement Wanes Just When We Need It Most

Last week we told you how Los Angeles Police Department Chief was taking 130 officers off of specialized enforcement duties, including gang enforcement operations. The department straight-up lied about the "reorganization," spinning it on its blog as a move that "puts 130 police officers back in the field." (They already were in the field). Ours and other news organizations bit, but we later found out that the change actually disbands the Crime Reduction and Enforcement Reduction of Warrants Task Force, a quick-hit team of street cops that was able to look at crime-stat hot-spots and target specific gangs with hours' notice. Bad move, said retired LAPD gang lieutenant Gary Nanson, calling the unit an "ace in the hole" when it comes to gang enforcement.

Now comes news that the department's proper Gang Impact Teams are hurting for officers because a new rule that requires cops to open up their bank accounts, investments and wallets to scrutinity has turned many prospects off. The department is struggling to fill gang-cop openings on the eve of a state move that could see 40,000 prisoners hit the streets as a result of a court ruling on prison overcrowding.

Suffice to say, the timing is not good. The financial-disclosure rule is meant to root out corruption of the type that plagued the department's Rampart gang teams in the 1990s. The number of gang cops is starting to drop as a result of the disclosure rule. In the Newton Division south of downtown, home to one of the city's biggest gangs, Florencia 13, and 50 other sets, 14 gang-officer openings have gone mostly without interest, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some observers think a majority of those newly freed state prisoners will end up in Los Angeles County, the gang capital of the nation. And Beck has said more than once that if we all don't find a way to integrate them into legitimate society, their homies will gladly take them back. On that note, it would be nice if the thin blue line weren't getting thinner at this critical junction.


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