LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles would be better served by diverting nonviolent emergency calls to teams of police officers paired with social and mental health professionals rather than just police, according to survey results released today by Loyola Marymount University.
Most people surveyed by LMU's Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles also said some of the Los Angeles Police Department's budget should be redirected to other local programs and that civilians should have the right to bring lawsuits against individual police officers for misconduct.
“What we see from these results is a population in Los Angeles that has been moved by recent activism here and around the country,'' said Brianne Gilbert, the center's associate director. “Coupled with the LAPD's history of high-profile incidents involving officer misconduct, the movement to defund police has prompted more Angelenos to reconsider their support for the department's status quo.''
A vast majority of respondents, 82%, said they want to see unarmed responses to nonviolent calls in Los Angeles; 62% called for moving some of the LAPD's budget to other programs; and more than a third said they would endorse a plan to completely dismantle the department.
However, 51% of the people surveyed said the LAPD can be trusted “to do what is right'' just about always or most of the time. That number was higher than the 44% who said they trust city government and the 41% who said they trust news organizations.
But those trust numbers split heavily along racial lines, according to LMU.
Majorities of white and Asian respondents said they trust the police department, while Black and Latina/o residents went the other way, with 30% of Black respondents saying they trust LAPD to do what is right “none of the time.''
“Even though a majority of Angelenos say LAPD is doing well in certain areas, this wide gulf in perception between racial and ethnic groups does not bode well for the department's efforts to address fears and suspicions that, in some communities, date back generations,'' said Fernando Guerra, a professor of political science and Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at LMU and director of the center.
The researchers conducted focus groups and interviews with activists and community leaders to develop the survey questions prior to beginning the survey. Funding for the survey came from the LAPD, the ECMC Foundation and the Weingart Foundation, according to LMU.
The survey of 1,753 city of Los Angeles residents was conducted by telephone and online from Aug. 31 to Oct. 25. It was translated and administered in Spanish, Mandarin and Korean, as well as English. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 percent, LMU officials said.
The full report is available at lmu.app.box.com/s/zfi53p13wjd0c0lyape3y7cq2dkt7lxy.
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