The Los Angeles City Council has voted to explore the creation of an “Office of Unarmed Response and Safety,” which would deploy unarmed “service providers” to respond to respond to “noncriminal and nonviolent” situations in lieu of a police response. The council vote called for a commission to prepare a report with “recommendations to create an Office of Unarmed Response and Safety,” according to MSN.
The council has been considering such a measure since the summer of 2020, in response to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police. In the wake of riots and protests that swept the nation after that incident, the council has advanced a number of efforts that were designed to encourage an increasing number of calls from citizens to be diverted to non-police response units.
Los Angeles council member Mitch O’Farrell has spearheaded the efforts, and he told MSN that LAPD chief Michel Moore is supportive of the program because “He knows this frees up more officers to stop gun crime, assault and deter crime.” O’Farrell continued, “It’s time for the city to finalize the development of a systemic crisis response plan that would send a range of trained, unarmed service providers to respond to nonviolent and noncriminal situations instead of law enforcement.”
Los Angeles has been struggling to hire enough police officers to meet demand, and has recently had to institute a number of incentives to combat dwindling cadet ranks in officer training programs. A significant portion of that shortage can be laid at the doorstep of the Los Angeles city government which, led by liberal mayor Eric Garcetti, voted to slash the police budget by $150 million in the wake of the 2020 George Floyd-inspired riots, only to reverse course a year later and increase the city’s police budget in response to public outcry over soaring crime rates.