New Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck appeared before a City Council committee Monday to lobby for cash to fund gang intervention, which he has painted as a key element in dealing with a flood of inmates set to be released by the state of California.
Beck has said that if the city doesn't do its part to reintegrate ex-cons and gangsters who served state time, "I know 400 entities that will, and they are the gangs of Los Angeles."
In that vein, Beck urged the Public Safety Committee to infuse $200,000 into a planned training academy for gang intervention workers. The group gave preliminary approval to the funding, which would go to the nonprofit Advancement Project to run the proposed Los Angeles Violence Intervention Training Academy. The council could give the appropriation its green light on Wednesday.
"This contract will be the basis upon which we can build intervention in the city of Los Angeles,'' police Beck told the committee. "It will allow us to bring stability to intervention, bring oversight, bring standards, bring police officers on board. I truly believe in this.''
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Even if Beck is a true believer, public funding of gang intervention has been controversial in Los Angeles. The city spends $26 million a year on such programs, and it's hard to quantify the payback. In a few cases, gang intervention leaders have been charged with crimes.