LAPD TOWN HALL RECAP 3-24-16
A town hall meeting was held at the Elks Club on Commerce Avenue, Tujunga the evening of
March 24, 2016. Many LAPD officers showed up to speak on various topics:
1. Commander Todd Chamberlain, LAPD “Homeless Coordinator,” spoke at length about the rapidly growing homeless issue, not only in our area, but throughout Los Angeles. Homeless encampments are overwhelming the city and LAPD is not 100% equipped to deal with the needs they require. Largely due to a lawsuit filed by Civil Rights attorney Carol Sobel, which bars police from seizing belongings and ‘property’ left in shopping carts, under freeways, in encampments, etc., Commander Chamberlain explained that LAPD has been “neutered” in enforcing or arresting transients or homelessness as a criminal offense.
** He URGED us all to call our LA City Council members (ALL and any) and encourage them to vote for newly shaped legislation entitled “56.11” which will work in conjunction with LAPD, LA Dept of Sanitation, City Attorney and possibly LA Housing, allowing them to enter homeless encampments and areas where homeless are residing in mass in order to clean up and disinfect dangerous biohazard wastes, bulky items, dangerous weapons, drugs and other substances.
“56.11” will go before City Council on (this) TUESDAY March 29, 2016 SO PLEASE CALL L.A. CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS ASAP! Give police the legalities they need to help CLEAN up these dangerous and threatening encampments!
LAPD’s plan is to build a ‘response team’ to tackle encampments, health & social service needs, drug, alcohol & mental issues, sanitation & biohazard clean ups, etc. then train officers on how to handle this all consuming task. If left untreated, crime is generated among homeless and the bigger the encampment, the worse and more dangerous the area becomes. Once an encampment is removed, most often, the same transients and homeless come back to rebuild it, thus a cycle of rebuilding, tearing down, rebuilding, tearing down begins. LAPD is hopeful that after 3 or 4 of these cycles, homeless will “finally” accept services and give up. BUT many are very ‘service resistant’ aka, refusing to live by rules or boundaries. Much time is wasted with homeless as they disregard help, but “5611” will enable LAPD to crack down on these encampments and disperse them. Unsettling trend is that encampments are starting to pop up where there are NO services nearby? which means homeless are relying on crime, dumpster diving, picking out of our trash cans and “freebie” handouts to sustain them. (AKA the Wash, our streets, our shopping centers, etc)
Commander Chamberlain stressed that the WORST thing we can do is ENABLE these people by giving them money, food, clothes, etc! Commander Chamberlain explained that MOST encampments are FULL of extra blankets, clothes, food, etc. that have been discarded because they are NOT needed or wanted. These items often end up on sidewalks, in creeks, littering streets, alleys and side roads, etc. causing blight, garbage and unsanitary conditions for law abiding citizens. LAPD has maps with ‘red dots’ of encampments all over the city. Need more legislation to end this cycle and criminalize some of the threats they pose to society.
2. Captain Eskridge, Foothill Division LAPD: Transients are not the same as homeless and often are NOT homeless! They are the criminals that are usually drug addicts breaking into your cars to steal items for drug money. Foothill PD trying to find ways to approach transients in groups because they scatter as soon as they see PD coming! Most of our SLO’s know who these transients are? familiar to an area. Petty crimes down but violent crime up 1% in Foothill Division. Gangs virtually nonexistent in Shadow Hills, Sunland/Tujunga but meth users too numerous!
ANY info given to LAPD by the public is very appreciated? home surveillance cameras a BONUS and very effective!
No. 1 complaint of businesses along Foothill Blvd is TRANSIENTS hanging around soliciting for
money, breaking into stores, harassing customers. Dispatch units are slow to arrive IF there is
violent crime somewhere else in Valley. Please DO NOT give to street people? only keeps them
coming back AND imposes stress on businesses YOU support!
Do not call Foothill Front desk if you have a NONEMERGENCY.
Slows down process call
Complaints about slow response from nonemergency
because other calls coming in at same time must
prioritize according to nature of crime.
Bureau is understaffed? LAPD does not have the number of officers or help as large cities like
Chicago and NYC. Need more units. Only Watch Captain available at Foothill DIvision front
desk at night if you want to talk to him/her but NOT with nonemergency
3. Lieutenant Solano: LAPD Foothill Division Gang & Narcotic Unit: 8188976081
reached directly for reports of narotic dealers (all calls can be taken anonymously). No real gang
activity here in Sunland/Shadow Hills but injunctions passed several years ago against the
“toonerville” gang really helped to squash any growing activity. Narcotics in this area biggest
problem. 2 undercover officers in this area daily. Marijuana dispensaries have been reduced
from 18 to 3 in the last couple of years because of the public informing LAPD where and when
they were operating! Communication between PD and public critical!
Surveillance videos can be very helpful, even if less than perfect quality. Please don’t be
discouraged if PD doesn’t use the footage you submit immediately? often saved for piecing
together info later and many times, they help tie a criminal to other crimes when linked together.
4. SLO Joel Flores? LAPD Valley Traffic: Community Safety Traffic Unit. 8186448142:
Reported that in Foothill Division there were 1,600 collisions and 5 fatalities in 2015, and
already 4 fatalities this year so far. CELLPHONES are major causes of accidents and fatalities
and even pedestrians who are not watching traffic can get hit when they bury their noses in their
phones! Task forces constantly being deployed to monitor traffic on busy streets? radar and
motorcycle officers give tickets to slow down speeding on notorious streets like Sunland Blvd.
Public communication always appreciated to report heavy speeding, reckless driving, etc.
Street racing a problem in SFV? no monitoring out of Foothill Division anymore? that unit has
been transferred downtown now. Call LAPD to report street racing or speeding. Helpful to
identify vehicle, license plates, driver descriptions, etc. who are constant offenders.
In summation: Commander Chamberlain pledged that LAPD is here to “protect and serve” and
he repeated that they really DO strive to do just that! Working day and night on our behalf.
Important to trust and inform PD about anything suspicious and be patient for their response.
NO vigilantes. Be very careful and don’t take unnecessary risks.