Los Angeles could potentially replace some current LAPD cops with unarmed officers for non-violent calls. Herb J. Wesson Jr., who is the first-ever Black President of the Los Angeles City Council, has announced that he would be introducing this motion at a council meeting on Tuesday.
In a tweet, Wesson explained that these unarmed officers would be agents from other "non-law enforcement agencies." Wesson went on to say, "We have gone from asking the police to be part of the solution, to being the only solution for problems they should not be called on to solve in the first place." He added that he believes it was lawmakers and city leaders who have "given this responsibility to law enforcement," but that "in non-emergencies they may not be best equipped to safely handle the situation." He stated that he feels "these calls need to be directed to workers with specialized training who are better equipped to handle the situation."
The presenters from @BLMALA, @WeBldPwr, @LAVoice with #PeoplesBudgetLA were absolutely right, we need to reimagine public safety in the 21st century. One which reduces the need for armed police presence, especially when the situation does not necessarily require it.— Herb J. Wesson, Jr. (@HerbJWesson) June 16, 2020
Wesson concluded his tweeted statement by sharing that he and some of his colleagues "are calling for a systematic crisis-response plan to replace police presence in non-criminal situations." They believe this can be down "with unarmed service providers including medical professionals, mental health workers, homeless outreach workers and others with specialized training." Many have applauded Wesson's proposal, with one person replying, "Thank you. Please fight for what's right to service the community at large."
The new LAPD proposal comes as many have called for police departments around the nation to be defunded, which is essentially described as merely reducing the funds allocated for law enforcement so that it can be invested into other existing and new social departments. These calls ignited after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd died after four officers responded to a call about a possible counterfeit $20 bill being used to pay for items at a store. Floyd was the suspect in question, and while arresting him, one of the officers knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd was later pronounced dead, and the autopsy report from the local medical examiners stated this his death was a homicide.