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LB Mayor/PD Mgm't Made Blue-Line Policing Proposal Without Disclosing Police Staffing Impacts To LB Taxpayers Or Council; Metro Staff Seeks 14 LBPD Officers Immediately From LB's Already-Thin Citywide Police Level

LBPD Mgm't Says It'll Cover With Overtime; Sheriff McDonnell Cites Public Safety Reasons In Metro Committee Against Multi-Agency Policing Plan (Hear It)


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(January 15, 2017, 10:45 p.m.) -- L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) staff told a Metro Board committee on November 17 that it favors contracting with LBPD and LAPD to police portions of Metro's Blue Line within their respective cities with LASD handling other areas and envisioned taking 14 LBPD officers effective Jan. 1 (meaning immediately if approved by Metro's governing board which has postponed a decision until February.)

On Jan. 11, LBREPORT.com was first (again) to report that LBPD management has been quietly negotiating with Metro on an initial framework that would rely on officers from their general pool (handling citywide or neighborhood policing duties), reducing LBPD's already thin citywide deployable police level while relying on LBPD overtime that LBPD management told LBREPORT.com "would not diminish the amount of officers currently deployed in the community."

On Jan. 10, Mayor Robert Garcia delivered a State of the City message in which he declared that as a newly-named Metro Boardmember he will vote in February to use LBPD officers and this might might involve as many as 30 officers. However to date, neither LB city management nor the Mayor have publicly explained from what citywide or neighborhood policing tasks the 14 officers indicated by Metro staff or the up-to-30 officers indicated by Mayor Garcia would removed (to be covered with overtime.) To date, there has been no public Council discussion or Council voted approval for the police staffing changes...and to LBREPORT.com's knowledge no Councilmember(s) have voiced opposition to this. Metro staff indicated it at the November 17 Metro Committee meeting that it proposes five year contracts with LBPD and LAPD.

[Scroll down for further.]



Since FY10, Long Beach Mayors have recommended and Councils have approved budgets that have left Long Beach (L.A. County's second largest city) with a thin citywide police level roughly equivalent per capita to what Los Angeles would have if L.A.'s Mayor/Council cut roughly a third of L.A.P.D.'s currently budgeted officers.

In June, 2016, Long Beach voters approved a Mayor/Council-sought a sales tax increase that (effective Jan. 1) imposes the highest sales tax rate of any neighboring city and among the highest in CA. Following LB voter approval of the measure, Mayor Garcia recommended and the Council approved a FY17 budget that restored 8 of roughly 200 officers erased since FY10, restored one fire engine (and left three unstaffed), restored a mainly downtown police division that had been combined with another division for cost savings and funded a number of infrastructure items.

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If the 14-officer figure indicated by Metro staff is what LBPD has been quietly negotiating outside of public view, Long Beach neighborhoods citywide could find themselves (for some time period not publicly discussed) sharing budgeted officers with Metro (via overtime) after approving a sales tax increase (that Mayor Garcia, Councilmembers and the political leadership of LB's police officer union urged voters to approve.)

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LBREPORT.com provides on-demand audio at this link of salient portions of the November 17, 2016 meeting of Metro's "System Safety, Security and Operations Committee" at which Metro staff detailed its reasons for recommending sharing policing of Metro's trains and buses between LAPD (in L.A. city areas), LBPD for the Blue Line in LB, and leave LASD with Metro policing tasks in other geographic areas.

Metro staff gave a Power Point presentation which included the slides below. They speak for themselves:




Los Angeles County Sheriff (and former LBPD Chief) Jim McDonnell testified in opposition to the Metro staff's recommendation, itemizing specific public safety concerns and reasons not to implement it. Sheriff McDonald recommended that Metro engage every police department affected by Metro's transit system and provide a stipend for their proactive participoation as well as 911 response. Also testifying in opposition to the split-policing plan were representatives of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADs) and the Professional Peace Officers Association. .

LAPD Commander Ann Clark testified in support of LAPD's proposal to handle policing on Metro buses and trains in L.A. city areas. The Metro Committee chair asked if any representatives of the City of Long Beach were present to speak about policing Metro's Blue Line section within LB...and none were.

The Metro Committee voted without objection to advance the split-policing proposal to the full Metro Board -- which now includes Mayor Garcia. The item is now scheduled for a February vote.

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Background

On May 3, 2016, the LB City Council voted without dissent to [agendized text] "Authorize the City Manager, or designee, to execute all documents necessary to provide a response to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Request for Proposals (RFP) Solicitation No. PS24750 for Transit Law Enforcement Services; and obtain authority for the Long Beach Police Department to submit a responsive proposal to furnish labor, materials, and other related items for the performance of a contract." City management's accompanying agendizing memo made no mention of LBPD staffing impacts for residents citywide, telling Councilmembers and the public in pertinent part, "This contract opportunity will potentially allow LBPD to provide police services on the portion of the LA Metro transit system that runs through the City, which will positively impact public safety efforts. LBPD will model an RFP response presenting staffing and deployment models based upon its knowledge of the region and crime patterns..."

During the May 3 Council item, City Manager Pat West said management didn't have a lot of information to share, was simply seeking Council permission to respond to Metro's RFP and indicated Commander Rich Conant was handling the matter. Commander Conant said LBPD "is currently completing our staffing model and we will be prepared to present the staffing model on May 28 per the schedule for Metro, Metro's RFP. We're looking at policing ten stops in the city and it's a great opportunity for the police department to improve the quality of life for our Long Beach residents with our services on the Blue Line."

Commander Conant said he was available for any questions and no Councilmember asked any questions, approving the item 9-0.

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In response to an Jan. 9, 2017 inquiry from LBREPORT.com, LBPD indicated and LBREPORT.com reported on Jan. 11 that in terms of the general framework, LBPD's proposal to Metro would initially draw officers from LBPD's general pool which LBPD told LBREPORT.com it plans to cover using overtime and the result "would not diminish the amount of officers currently deployed in the community."

A day earlier in his January 10, 2017 "State of the City" message, Mayor Garcia didn't disclose these matters and instead stated:

Mayor Garcia: ...[J]ust last week, I was elected to represent Long Beach and other areas across the region to the Metro Board of Directors. [applause] [LBREPORT.com coverage here.]...One of my top priorities, along with bringing new revenues to the region, is improving safety on the Blue Line. The Metro Board is a county-wide agency that governs the Metro rail system, the County bus system, and invests in freeways, highways and bike infrastructure. And as you may know, the Long Beach Police Department does not patrol the Metro Blue Line which runs all the way through our city. Currently Long Beach has no jurisdictional power to keep the line safe. However, in February, I plan to fight to ensure that the Metro Board of Directors contracts with the Long Beach Police Department to patrol the eight Metro stops in Long Beach. [applause] Absolutely. And if we can convince Metro to contract with our police department, that could add up to an additional 30 police officers to the Long Beach police department paid for by Metro. [applause]...

Developing. Further to follow on LBREPORT.com.


LBREPORT.com clarified the above text to show that LBPD plans to initially use overtime to share 14 current citywide budgeted officers with Metro.



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