Sheriffs talk drink test strips, probable cause and troubled intersections

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In March, the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station addressed a total of 1,639 service calls, which included 76 emergency responses, department leaders told the Public Safety Commission on Monday night. 

Deputies made 40 felony and 52 misdemeanor arrests. The month recorded 174 part one crimes, categorized mainly as thefts and burglaries, distributed across the districts with 93 incidents in the West District (53%), 31 in City Center (18%), and 50 in the East (29%). The Rainbow District saw 29 pickpocketing incidents. Station volunteers donated over 360 hours to various tasks, including managing the public counter and social media support.

They also contributed during the LA Marathon, which saw over 24,000 participants and was managed without any significant issues by more than 70 deputies. The station recorded three catalytic converter thefts and plans to host an etching event to combat such thefts.

Questions raised during the session included concerns about the slight increase in part one crimes compared to previous months and the decrease in total arrests from the previous year, with no specific reasons attributed to these trends. There were also inquiries about specific incidents, including assaults and thefts in the Rainbow District and surrounding areas.

At a neighborhood event on Sunday, concerns were raised about the stop sign at Lexington and Gardner where people frequently roll through instead of stopping. In response, it was agreed that more traffic enforcement would be deployed to monitor this area closely. This enforcement will include motorcycle deputies focusing on such traffic issues, especially since this intersection serves as a shortcut from Fountain to Santa Monica Blvd. and is prone to accidents. Additionally, public safety at the intersection of Cynthia and Doheny will also be addressed due to similar problems.

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Regarding safety in bars and restaurants, if someone’s drink tests positive for being spiked using available test strips, the protocol involves calling the police, who will take a urine sample and a report, treating it similarly to a DUI case. This is to ensure that even if there’s no immediate suspect, the evidence can be processed in hopes of identifying the perpetrator later. The importance of not consuming a drink that tests positive was emphasized as a critical safety measure.

The addition of an entertainment policing sergeant has not significantly reduced pickpocketing incidents, which remain a persistent issue. Efforts to mitigate this involve continuous public education by police to increase vigilance among patrons at entertainment venues, stressing the importance of safeguarding personal belongings. This ongoing educational outreach aims to prevent theft through increased awareness rather than just police presence.

Further discussions touched on the impact of the Block by Block security ambassadors, aiming to understand if they might be compensating for the decrease in direct interactions logged. The concept of “observations” was explained as proactive entries made by deputies themselves, rather than responses to calls for service, highlighting a self-initiated aspect of police work.

Additionally, questions were revisited concerning a report from the Center for Policing Equity, which had previously highlighted a high rate of non-productive searches during traffic stops. Despite these findings, there had been no procedural changes implemented in response to the report. The ongoing practice of stops and searches was defended with the rationale that they are based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, even though it was acknowledged that these searches often do not yield results. This issue of effectiveness and justification for searches remains a point of contention and concern within the community and among some commissioners.

Deputies gave an explanation of how law enforcement used surveillance technology and databases to identify and apprehend suspects involved in crimes like robbery, emphasizing the effectiveness of these tools in maintaining public safety. The discussion then shifted to the use of an online system for filing police reports, highlighting the system’s requirements and suitability for certain types of incidents, such as pickpocketing, where the stolen value was below a specified threshold and there was no suspect information.

Furthermore, it was discussed that there was an absence of official signage in bars and restaurants warning patrons about pickpockets, especially during the busy Pride season, though it was noted that some establishments had taken their own initiatives to warn patrons through various means including on-site signage and announcements. The conversation also touched on the potential for using existing infrastructure, like bus stop displays in WeHo, to further promote awareness about pickpocketing.

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Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
2 months ago

1 Million MORE illegal aliens in LA alone under Biden, that no one knows anything about and they actually think they will ever have a handle on surging crime.

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