CCPD: The Elephant in the Room

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From the time my son could drive, I told him to avoid Culver City, drive around it, take the long way home.” — A Los Angeles POC.

Clearly, the now-infamous drone city council meeting (13 March 2018) solidified issues that citizens have with the CCPD. Fear. Let’s hope that there can be a better understanding and communication. I’m sure Chief Bixby doesn’t want a huge part of Culver City residents and visitors scared of his officers.

Maybe CCPD needs it articulated by citizens as to why there is this fear. Is it a culture that they feel “keeps people in line” or one they need to address?

There needs to be an oversight committee beyond the city council, one that will protect both the police and citizens. There’s a lot of talk of transparency and this is a culture for which it is essential. There’s a lot to be said for demonstrating to the community that they’re being heard and that law enforcement wants to narrow that divide/change the perception.

Mosaic mural adorning CCPD building.

A good question to ask might be (and this would definitely go to who “you” are): in which do you have an innate greater level of confidence — a need to avoid the police “just in case,” or a strong presence for your feelings of safety?

Videos in which officers are trying to restrain/arrest a suspect look horrific at first blush, but civilians don’t have the context or the entire perspective. For example, the recent Walton video — it’s easy to be horrified at what’s happening in it, but viewers just don’t know the entirety of the backstory. The video is edited so that only snippets of sound are on, the images are unclear. I imagine anyone watching it would try to move their faces closer to the screen, and perhaps wondering aloud, “what is going on here?”

No one wants anyone in law enforcement to be injured or worse, and they need to do what they need to do within the letter of the law, but PD might be more sensitive to public perception. It’s not just in CC, it’s nationwide. It’s the whole picture. There are reasons why the reactions are so strong — why so forceful, why are choke holds necessary — maybe that’s the best option they feel they have in a situation where their safety is compromised? People really do need to know to develop an understanding of the people who risk their lives on a daily basis. Conversely, law enforcement may need to be informed at just how fearful citizens are of them and to let the public know they do not want to create such a culture.

Right now, my reaction is Jesus Christ, I will never resist or give the impression I’m going to resist arrest and I will say this repeatedly to my 20-year-old son. Comply, comply. Better to deal with the inevitable admin issues later than to be forcibly restrained or hurt, because the potential injuries they could inflict look long-lasting.

In other words, it really is time for Chief Bixby and CCPD to demonstrate they understand the concerns of public, why that drone meeting erupted into chaos (in addition to being so very poorly “moderated” by the council). CCPD needs to share why measures are necessary, quash the negative perception, the strong, palatable culture of innate fear and tell us that isn’t their intention, to rule/lead by intimidation, and explain why it’s necessary to keep everyone safe.