Do Los Angeles police officers need sensitivity training for talking with elderly citizens? According to longtime Los Angeles Wave columnist Betty Pleasant, the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Pleasant, whom we love for her pull-no-punches journalism, complains in a May 2 column that while the LAPD has been “working wonders in their relations with young people, they suck when it comes to dealing with old people.”

Fight on, Betty.

Pleasant explains that she was recently talking with LAPD commanders Bob Green and Andrew Smith about the changes the police department had made since the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Green then made the mistake of asking Pleasant how else the LAPD could improve.

Never one to let such a golden opportunity pass her by, the columnist told the commanders that they needed to be “more sensitive and more respectful to elderly residents.”

Pleasant goes on to write that she knows of “four cases” in which senior citizens have been “disrespected and dismissed by snot-nosed LAPD cops when they sought to report a crime.”

We wish were in the room when Pleasant dug into the commanders. A lot of nervous tie straightening and thumb twirling must have gone on.

Pleasant writes: “The cops seem to think that nobody old enough to receive Social Security has enough sense to know when something bad has happened to them.”

She then met with with Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger the next day for an interview, telling him exactly what she told the commanders. Paysinger listened and told her, “We don't know of a problem unless someone tells us. You have told us and we will deal with it.”

Pleasant writes that she expects the LAPD brass will stay true to their words. They better. The columnist, who once ran a column about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with the screeching headline “Hypocrite!”, is not someone to mess with.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

LA Weekly