LA City Council Approves First Step in Replacing LAPD Officers Handling Non-Violent Calls With Unarmed Emergency Responders

Ameera Butt
June 30, 2020 - 4:31 pm

    On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved the "first step" to replace LAPD officers, who handle non-violent calls, with unarmed emergency responders.

    LA City Councilmember Herb Wesson said on Twitter "The Los Angeles City Council has just approved the first step in our plan to replace LAPD with a community-based, unarmed emergency responders for non-violent calls for service. This is the dawn of a new era of public safety in Los Angeles."

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    "The bottom line is that the way things have been going is not working for our communities. This last month has made that crystal clear. We have a responsibility to listen to our people, and our people have spoken. I look forward to continuing this work alongside @BLMLA," Wesson said in a series of tweets Tuesday. "This won't solve all of our problems right away. But this move marks a sea change in our city's approach to public safety and I'm optimistic cities and counties across the nation will follow our lead."

    Last week, a committee, the Budget and Finance committee, agreed to cut the Los Angeles Police Department's budget by more than $133 million. Earlier this month, Councilmember Wesson along with Council President Nury Martinez and others introduced the motion "to replace LAPD officers with unarmed, non-law enforcement agencies who will be responsible for responding to non-violent calls for service." There have been calls to defund the police across the country and in recent months after massive protests around Los Angeles and Southern California in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    Council President Nury Martinez also weighed in Tuesday:

    In June, when Wesson made the motion, he said in a series of tweets "My colleague @C6Nury & I are calling for a systematic crisis-response plan to replace police presence in non-criminal situations with unarmed service providers including medical professionals, mental health workers, homeless outreach workers and others with specialized training."

    "For me, as a black guy, you know this is the greatest opportunity that I’ve ever had in my life to effect change so that maybe my grandchildren won't have to grow up and deal with some of the crap that I've had to deal with,” Wesson told KNX reporter Claudia Peschiutta.