LAPD plans to change how they respond to nonemergency calls

(NewsNation) — Facing a shortage of officers, U.S. police departments are looking for creative solutions, including a proposal that would change how Los Angeles police respond to calls.

A proposal from the LA police union suggests assigning unarmed responders to certain types of calls. Noncriminal mental health calls, wellness checks, abandoned vehicles, landlord-tenant disputes, noise complaints and parking violations are just some of the 28 types of calls that would be affected.

Los Angeles Police Protective League Vice President Jerretta Sandoz told NewsNation the city already has experience doing this.

“There’s been a pilot program going on throughout the city to send an unarmed response. You know, there’s many calls that officers go to that they don’t need to go to, any noncriminal call, unarmed responders can respond to those calls and free up officers to handle emergencies,” Sandoz said.

While some calls that appear to be nonemergencies may turn into criminal calls, Sandoz stressed that unarmed responders would only be used for situations that are clearly not emergencies. That would free up significant amounts of time for police.

“So, for example, a welfare check, no fault, no foul play. There is a deceased person in the residence, that could take about four hours waiting for the coroner,” she said.

Like other police departments across the country, the LAPD has faced staffing shortages. Shifting nonemergency, noncriminal calls to other responders is just one solution that has been raised to deal with the shortage of officers.

The plan, being negotiated by the police union and the Los Angeles City Council, would shift these calls to other departments but does not specify which departments would handle which calls.

“The plan has not been solidified yet,” Sandoz said. “We’re working with city leaders, leaders, nonprofit organizations to make sure that this plan is rolled out safely.”


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