sunny.png
Friday December 6th, 2019 11:07AM

LA police chief aims to wipe out minor warrants for homeless

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said he is working to eliminate thousands of homeless people's old warrants for minor offenses in the coming weeks as part of a solution to help get people off the streets.

"This is a humanitarian crisis of our generation," Moore said Wednesday in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. "This matches any other calamity that this city or this region or this country has seen. It is, I believe, a social emergency."

Homelessness rose 16% in LA over the past year , to more than 36,000 people, according to a June report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Across LA County, the count increased 12%, to nearly 59,000 people.

California's homeless crisis came under fire this month after President Donald Trump threatened to intervene and "get that whole thing cleaned up."

"They can't be looking at scenes like you see in Los Angeles and San Francisco," Trump said in an interview with Fox News.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti responded that he would welcome federal involvement to solve the issue.

Since applying for the top job last year, Moore has been considering a plan to eliminate so-called bench warrants more than 5 years old for minor offenses such as drinking in public, blocking a sidewalk and failure to appear in court. Moore celebrated his first anniversary as chief in June.

His plan calls for dismissing old quality-of-life warrants that can rack up hundreds of dollars in fees and often plague homeless people who can't pay or show up for court.

Moore said he would prefer police to focus on criminal behavior rather than low-level offenses "that get in the way of people's recovery because they were cited for something one, two, three, four years ago."

"We have hundreds of thousands of bench warrants that haven't been served in years," the chief said. "We need to clear the docket."

Moore did not offer details about his proposal Wednesday, and his spokesman, Joshua Rubenstein, said he did not have additional information such as a timeframe for when the warrants would be cleared. City prosecutors, who would have to work with the police department to eliminate the warrants, declined to comment.

Moore said he doesn't see homelessness as a law enforcement issue but rather a public health and safety concern that requires greater investment in mental health, sanitation, hygiene and housing resources. He declined to name any entity responsible for the burgeoning crisis.

Police and firefighters are on the streets dealing with homeless people at all hours, Moore said, but they don't see anyone in uniform offering other services.

"Where's our outreach workers, where's our mental health workers?" he said. "I would love to see outreach workers wearing a vest. I would love for the public to be able to drive up and down the street and see outreach workers readily identifiable conducting outreach and engagement to people experiencing homelessness."

Moore decried the city's homeless death toll — about 900 people last year and roughly 800 in 2017 — but said he was encouraged by recent tax measures. They include a 2016 voter-approved proposition that lets the city issue $1.2 billion in bonds to build housing as well as billions of dollars in proposed state funding to address homelessness.

On marijuana legalization, the chief said law enforcement needs to target black market financiers and building owners who rent to illegal pot shops. Arresting store operators isn't working, he said.

"We have to get out of first gear on this," Moore said.

Moore said he's encouraged that officer-involved shootings have decreased from 46 in 2017, when 17 people were killed, to 33 last year, when 12 people died. There have been 13 shootings as of July 8, in which six people died, but he said the goal is always zero.

The department also is researching less-lethal options as an alternative to firearms.

Moore's other goals include promoting a diverse workforce that reflects the city as the next generation of LAPD supervisors so they can lead the department for the 2028 Olympics.

___

Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton and Christopher Weber also contributed to this story.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Business, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
LA police chief aims to wipe out minor warrants for homeless
The Los Angeles police chief calls homelessness the "humanitarian crisis of our generation" and calls it a public health and safety concern rather than a law enforcement issue
8:17PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Trump abandons bid to include citizenship question on census
Trump abandons controversial bid to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, directs agencies dig through existing databases.
8:13PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Turbulence injures dozens on Air Canada flight to Australia
Intense turbulence strikes Air Canada flight to Australia, forcing the plane to land in Hawaii; 37 injured
8:11PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Race becomes new flashpoint with Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez
Race has become a new flashpoint in the debate between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other House Democrats over migrant children in detention at the border
7:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
US growing largest crop of marijuana for research in 5 years
US government growing largest crop of marijuana for research in five years
6:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
California backs effort to boost utilities during wildfires
California lawmakers have passed a plan to shore up the state's biggest electric utilities in the face of catastrophic wildfires and claims from survivors
6:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Nike keeps plans for Arizona factory despite controversy
Nike is going forward with plans to make soles for Nike Air shoes in a Phoenix suburb even though Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey last week blocked state money for the facility when Nike pulled a flag-themed shoe from the market
6:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
Human workers can listen to Google Assistant recordings
6:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
Travel demand pushes ticket prices, profits, higher at Delta
Strong demand for travel pushes ticket prices, and profits for Delta, higher
6:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
US budget deficit jumps 23% through June
US budget deficit increases to $747.1 billion, up 23.1%, over last year
2:32PM ( 5 hours ago )
Branson: Pound could be just a dollar in 'no-deal' Brexit
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has warned that a no-deal Brexit will force the company to invest less in Britain because of pressures on the pound
10:34AM ( 9 hours ago )
Stocks rise on Wall Street, sending Dow briefly over 27,000
Technology and communications companies pushed U.S. stock indexes mostly higher in early trading Thursday, extending the market's gains from the day before
10:28AM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
Trump abandons bid to include citizenship question on census
Trump abandons controversial bid to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, directs agencies dig through existing databases.
8:13PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Turbulence injures dozens on Air Canada flight to Australia
Intense turbulence strikes Air Canada flight to Australia, forcing the plane to land in Hawaii; 37 injured
8:11PM ( 14 minutes ago )
The Latest: Civil rights groups celebrate census decision
Civil rights groups say President Donald Trump's efforts to add a citizenship question to the census have sown fear and discord
8:11PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Trump applauds far-right social media provocateurs
President Donald Trump is applauding far-right social media provocateurs even as he concedes that some of them are extreme in their views
8:08PM ( 17 minutes ago )
The Latest: 37 hurt during turbulence on Air Canada flight
An Air Canada flight to Australia landed in Hawaii with 37 people injured from sudden turbulence
8:03PM ( 22 minutes ago )