I have three community-oriented recommendations for policing in Compton that should fall comfortably within the May 2014, “agreement” for “general law enforcement services,” since, as in the February 2, 2015 NAEJA meeting, a raucous one with newly elected sheriff Jim McDonnell, community members clearly state their distrust of law enforcement, especially sheriff deputies. The time for whooping and hollering is long gone. This is the time for solutions.
Have all incoming sheriff personnel, civilian and sworn, appear before a Tuesday council meeting to introduce themselves; give some background; explain why he or she wants to work in Compton; and, speak to what added value Compton will receive from him or her.
Discussion: From April 2009 to November 2011, Deputy Michael Coberg killed three people in Compton in separate incidents. It is unclear if he was assigned to Compton Station or was part of other specialized units that migrate in and out of the city such as the Gang Enforcement Team , some of whom were associated with the rouge Jump Out Boys.
Between October 2008 and October 2010, Deputy Julio Jove killed two people in neighboring Lynwood and one in Long Beach in separate incidents. It’s not clear what unit or station he was assigned to. Deputies who killed sixteen people in Compton between January 2001 and December 2014 have not been identified. This is not a question of justified shootings or otherwise but of our right to know who works in the city and what they do while there.
Have the station captain describe with all requisite forms, the LASD complaint and commendation process during a Tuesday council meeting on the projection screen. Sample form handouts should be available. The presentation must include all avenues for filing complaints or commendations, E.g. Internet. The presentation must include available recourse if the complainant is not satisfied or feels unsatisfactorily serviced.
Discussion: Residents once again complained that they were discouraged from filing a complaint at Compton Station during the February 2, 2015 NAEJA meeting. This is a chronic complaint that the sheriff’s department has failed to address over the years. At that same meeting one individual complained how deputies refused him a business card upon request that would have helped him file a complaint.
Have the station captain give no less than bi-weekly updates to council during regularly scheduled public meetings to include at minimum:
- Crime hot-spots and what strategies are used to address them.
- Describe and report on any crime prevention activities and/or new initiatives developed with residents to mitigate crime in Compton.
- Crime statistics, both current and year-to-date for Part I and Part II crimes and any other law enforcement issues deemed important and of interest of council members and residents (Eg. Quality of life concerns). The report must include attainment or non attainment of service deployment measures described in section 3.3 of the “agreement”.
- Report the number of complaints and commendations received current and year-to-date.
- Report the number of force incidents, fatal and non-fatal separate, current and year-to-date.
- Identify special teams or units operating within the borders of Compton and their charge along with the results of them having been there.
- Report outcomes from the use of surveillance cameras that are now spread throughout the city in terms of arrests made and crime prevented.
The captain’s report to council should include a written distribution summary to be used by local newspapers to keep residents informed.
The Compton city council members must, through, or preferably with the city manager, actively monitor and report on sheriff performance and act as a liaison or conduit to field resident complaints and see them through to resolution. They must take seriously their public safety role as elected representatives since they administer the sheriff contract and serve the residents of Compton.
Discussion: The Compton city council rarely speaks to crime and law enforcement issues during regular meetings. More time is spent with petty bickering and insults to one another. In this respect it does not appear that they are willing acknowledge problems or hold police accountable for their activities within city boundaries. The Compton city council has not actively monitored sheriff performance in the city nor have they consistently advocated for residents (E.g. see Recommendation # 2).
Compton rode high on the homicide charts in 1988 when NWA released their album Straight Outta of Compton which included the seminal track “Fuck tha Police.” A precursor to Rodney King’s beat down and the 1992 rebellion (riot if you want), the track gave Compton an unearned hard edge in relation to police. But, except for one incident in the 70s that involved an unexploded bomb, the city was never as hard as the lyrics suggest toward police, just against self with street gangs and politics of foolishness that continue unabated.
Fuck the police coming straight from the underground” A young nigga got it bad cause I’m brown And not the other color so police think They have the authority to kill a minority Fuck that shit, cause I ain’t the one For a punk motherfucker with a badge and a gun To be beating on, and throwing in jail We can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell…(Lyrics by Ice Cube & MC Ren, 1988)
Yea, right. Ferguson Missouri maybe, but definitely not Compton, never was. NWA’s art did its job; it had an impact but was a base canard. Compton is soft when it comes to policing police.
Compton has gone in the opposite direction with its contract with the LASD since passage of the deputy union (ALADS) supported Measure I. Yep, yep, yep. Compton citizens opted for even less say-so over law enforcement. In doubt? See if you can figure out what kind and amount of “general law enforcement services” will be received under the five year “agreement” signed May, 2014, attached. You’ll need an attachment, SH-AD 575 Deployment of Personnel Form, to figure out how many bodies and hours should be in Compton at any given time.
What is “general law enforcement services” (contract section 1.1)? Since it is not defined in the “agreement,” you not only don’t know what specifically deputies are to do, you don’t know how many is assigned to do it. Given this, it does not seem unreasonable for residents to define the terms.
Start with the above recommendations.