Part 3: Policing for Tomorrow With Steve Gregory


Policing for Tomorrow is an ongoing exploration of policing and how it might change in light of recent protests and demands. Today's show features more stakeholders in the balance between law enforcement and communities of color.

Today's guests include Lt. Brian Bixler of the Mental Evaluation Unit for the LAPD and Lt. John Gannon from the LA County Sheriff's Department Mental Evaluation Team, Davion Pilgrim a 16-year-old who has recently been racially profiled and accused of gang affiliation, and Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph of LAPD's Central Division who helped change the culture of skid row by building a better relationship between officers and the homeless.

Policing for Tomorrow is a production of KFI News and is hosted by KFI News Correspondent Steve Gregory and produced by Steve Gregory and Jacob Gonzalez.

Here's a list of the guests on the show today:

Lt. Brian Bixler of the LAPD Mental Evaluation Unit and Lt. John Gannon of the LA County Sheriff's Mental Evaluation Team

The Mental Evaluation Unit is a team that has been in the LAPD for over four decades that assists patrol officers with mental-health related calls. It is one of the first and largest law enforcement-mental health co-response operations in the nation with more than 160 personnel working for the unit.

The LA County Sheriff's Department Mental Evaluation Team's goal is to reduce violent incidents and unnecessary incarcerations of citizens with severe mental illnesses. An MET team includes a deputy sheriff and a DMH licensed mental health clinician. They provide mental health support and psychiatric assistance during situations with citizens who are mentally ill.

In their conversation with Steve, Lieutenants Bixler and Gannon discuss the evolution of mental health responses, how officers respond to various calls including stalkers in the Hollywood area, and what a typical day looks like for them.

Check it out below:

Davion Pilgrim

Davion Pilgrim is a 16-year-old resident from Inglewood. He was a featured speaker during one of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti's press briefings during the protests in June. He talks about recently being racially profiled and has been accused of gang affiliation by police officers. He says

"Losing our lives to police officers is one of our biggest fears that we have in South LA."
"This is a hard time, but the good news is there is still time for unity. While I think we should keep protesting and demanding change, there's no need to loot."

In his conversation with Steve, he talks about what it has been like growing up around gangs in his neighborhood, his first interaction with police officers, and how there should be more accountability within the police department.

Listen to the conversation below:

Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph of LAPD's Central Division - Skid Row

For the past 10 years, Officer Joseph has helped to build a relationship between the homeless and police officers in LA's skid row by using a grassroots approach as opposed to a handcuff approach to policing. In 2006 he helped build the "Just Like U" mentor program that offers mentors to children in poverty. These mentors have become successful despite the fact that they started out in poverty similar to the children in the program.

In 2008, Joseph created "Ladies Night" that teaches women that no matter their race or socioeconomic status they have the right to report instances of domestic and sexual abuse.

Over 8 years, Joseph has helped housing programs house over 100 homeless people and lead them to a better life.

In his conversation with Steve, Joseph talks about his experiences with the homeless and his time working on skid row.

Check out the conversation below: