Manager/Mayor's $8.6 million "Safety Recovery Plan" Won't Restore Any of Roughly 230 Officers Long Beach Council Budgets Erased. It Would Leave LB Taxpayers with Thinner Officer Level Than Nearby Cities. It Would Spend Roughly $4 million for Non-Police Items Labeled "Prevention" With No Evidence They'll Reduce Shootings Or Metrics to Measure Their Success or Failure
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(July 19, 2021, 6:10 a.m.) -- A City Manager/Mayor proposed $8.6 million "Safety Recovery Plan", agendized for possible City Council approval on July 20, won't restore any of roughly 230 police officers Long Beach Council budgets erased, would leave LB Taxpayers with a thinner officer level than nearby cities provide, and would spend roughly $4 million for non-police items labeled "prevention" with no evidence they'll reduce shootings or metrics to measure their success or failure.
The Mayor/Mgm't proposed plan doesn't provide funding to restore any of the City's roughly 230 erased/defunded police officers. A former City Council (that included then-Councilman Robert Garcia) erased most of these officers in 2009-2014 budgets that eliminated roughly 20% of LB's police level (an action not taken by other area cities during the "great recession) amplified by the Council's Sept. 2020 defunding of 48 additional officers.
The Mayor/Management proposed plan would temporarily backfill a number of LBPD-sought spending items (including maintaining base staffing depleted by responses to increased shootings combined with budget reductions) but would leaves Long Beach taxpayers with a budgeted police level significantly thinner per capita than provided by City Councils in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Signal Hill.
The LBREPORT.com chart below shows LB's budgeted police level prior to the Council's FY 21 (Sept. 2020) defunding of 48 officers. The FY 22 proposed budget, like FY 21 adopted budget, eave LB with roughly 1.5 officers per thousand residents.
LB city management has previously indicated to LBREPORT.com that restoring 10 officers "fully turned out" (including necessary equipment) can be roughly estimated for budget purposes to cost $2 million. (City management's proposed FY22 budget and Safety Recovery Plan don't include an updated figure.)
Although the Council requested the Mayor/Mgm't plan in response to increased shootings, it doesn't propose to begin reporting shootings in LBPD's official crime statistics, a number currently buried within "aggravated assaults." LAPD reports shootings including their general location; LBPD doesn't.
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The Mayor/Mgm't plan cites no evidence that nearly $500 million in non-police Parks and Rec items it labels "prevention" that may or may not be worthy on their merits but with no evidence the spending will prevent or reduce shootings and no metrics on how to judge the spending's success or failure.
Below are some examples:
$250,000 for Midnight Basketball, Playground Partners, and Summer Nights-type programs [agendizing memo text] "where sworn staff can engage with the city's youth in a fun, low-pressure environment to support building rapport and trust" and "proposes to implement partnerships with local community-based organizations (CBOs) to provide opportunities for Police Department staff to engage and make connections with community youth in a safe and fun environment."
$110,000 for "Be S.A.F.E. Expansion." The program, operated for the past five years, doesn't propose to eliminate a gang presence or vagrant presence from neighborhood parks,. Thus far it has offered [agendizing memo text] "activities such as games, sports, arts and crafts, and movies that children, teens, and adults can enjoy during the summer evening hours." The agendizing memo asserts, but provides no evidence, that "Be S.A.F.E. has proven to be vital to residents that want to enjoy their neighborhood park with their children, neighbors, friends, and fellow community members." Parks/Rec currently offers the BE S.A.F.E. program at 11 park sites throughout the city" and "additional funds would allow for the expansion of the program to parks in the Central/West and North Long Beach neighborhoods where dense populations require more opportunities for safe recreational opportunities" and "allow PRM staff to provide additional resources that focus on mental health, parenting skills, and family relationship activities."
$100,00 For "Safe Passage- Violence Interruption". As described in city staffs agendizing memo, the program's "objective" is to "create a multi-agency enforcement partnership to provide safety from gang-related crimes against youth and families on specific streets, schools, at bus stops, and public spaces (parks, open spaces, etc.)" with no indication of how this will be accomplished. "A Safe Passage program...ia most successful if implemented as one component of a multi-faceted community safety strategy such as a violence interrupter model [no offered details on "violence interrupter model."] "A structured Safe Passage program allows schools, law enforcement, and community residents to pinpoint "hot spots" for gang and related trouble on and around school campuses, parks, and other identified spaces [most gang impacted areas are already well known, so once "pinpointed," what follows?] "The Safe Passage program has been previously implemented by the City [no offered evidence of specific locations and program's success or failure] and the intent now is to expand the program to parks and other commercial spaces. "This program places community residents as the solution-makers in their neighborhoods [what types of "solutions"?] and works best when paired with the violence interrupter model (Be S.A.F.E.) [no offered evidence of success or failure or metrics to measure this.] PRM seeks $25,000 for four neighborhoods (one-time funding of $100,000.)
$60,000 for "Civics Training and Leadership Development Activities." [Agendizing memo text] "Modeled after Chicago-based My Block My Hood My City, [Chicago with its scandalous toll of fatal and non-fatal shootings is a poor example for Long Beach to follow] youth will participate in civics training and leadership development activities designed to raise awareness of local resources, raise historical knowledge, and increase community pride. Youth will be trained on how to coordinate community tours that further foster a sense of pride in neighborhoods such North Long Beach and the Washington Neighborhood. This work will be led in partnership with local CBOs such as the Youth Leadership Institute, Californians for Justice, and Historical Long Beach Society. Possible City department partnerships include PGWIN, Library Services, Development Services, and Health. This project can have high visibility and will require the coverage of some City staff time, leadership materials and youth stipends, and the partnership with a local CBO."
$3.63 million in proposed FY 22 spending for items vaguely described as "a longer term strategy for violence prevention." Spending items aren't described. They're simply listed as proposed expenditures: "Youth Academic Programming" ($810,000), "Youth Life Coaching and Mentoring" ($300,000), "Youth Health and Safety Programming" ($990,000), "Community Interventionist Program" ($450,000), "Re-Entry Program Pilot" ($540,000), "Mental Health Crisis Response Pilot ($540,000).<;i>
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