City Recovery Plan Answers Provided

By: 
Stephen Downing

On July 24 this newspaper reported upon the so-called $5 million Long Beach Safety Recovery Plan (SRP) that included 14 programming categories, one of which appeared to have the potential for a positive long-term benefit and impact upon the organizational culture of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).

The $400,000 program was identified as “Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement Training (ABLE), a program administered by the Georgetown University Law Center’s national training and support initiative for U.S. law enforcement agencies that is committed to building a culture of peer intervention that prevents harm.”

The article can be read here: https://beachcomber.news/content/recovery-plan-%E2%80%93-authentic-or-smoke-mirrors

In the article the Beachcomber reported that the City Council was asked via eComment to pose six questions of the LBPD prior to program approval at their July 29 meeting.

In that no member of the council or the mayor had the interest to ask the questions, the Beachcomber sent an email to LBPD media relations asking for a response to the six questions. Chief Luna’s spokesperson replied, “At this time we defer to the information provided in the council item.”

On July 24 the Beachcomber filed a Public Records Act request for all documents related to the LBPD’s participation, budget and training plans related to its participation and implementation planning related to the $400,000 project.

On Aug. 19 the LBPD responded to the six questions and committed to providing the documents requested by Aug. 31.

The six questions and the LBPD reply follow:

Question: Since the program is offered for no cost how is the $400,000 allocation of funds intended to be used?

Reply: The funds would cover backfill OT for the staff that are in training. Since we would be training the entire organization, it gets quite costly and will require the trainings to be done in multiple sessions to keep patrol minimums and other public safety operations stable during each session of training takes place

Question: In selecting who will attend the ABLE train-the-trainer program at Georgetown, what will be the rank of the LBPD officer selected to attend the training and how many personnel will be sent for training?

Reply: We do not have a final count yet of personnel who might travel to D.C. for the in-person training at the Georgetown Law Center. We will, however, conduct several train-the-trainer sessions on-site at the LBPD Academy, which will allow for a larger number of officers to attend. We are still working on the total number of officers who will participate in this train-the-trainer training.

Question: The program requires that all commissioned personnel (including recruits) receive eight hours of initial, dedicated ABLE training, followed by at least two hours of annual refresher training. Is the cost of this on-going training provided for in the LBPD budget and if not, how will the requirement be accommodated?

Reply: The requirement will be accommodated no matter the funding source. LBPD is committed to permanently integrating this training into the core training for employees on an on-going basis.

Question: Will existing training hours for other subjects be impacted?

Reply: No.

Question: Will the city agree to make public all surveys and studies published by participation in the ABLE program?

Reply: There are surveys that are conducted by Georgetown Law and that data remains their property. We are not familiar with any other surveys or studies to be published

Question: What is the source of the federal assistance that the city expects to receive that will support the program?

Reply: On June 18, 2021, the city manager sent a memo to the City Council detailing community and Infrastructure projects requested for congressionally directed spending requests (earmarks).

Subsequently, on June 21, 2021, Sen. Feinstein submitted the ABLE training program (and others) to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

These requests still need to be approved by the House and Senate for the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2021.

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.

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