What Happened to the Missing FEMA Trailers?

By: 
Stephen Downing

In the story originally published on the Beachcomber website April 13 entitled: LBPD Brass Condemned for Neglect – it was reported that LBPD sources expressed concern about officers being deterred by department brass from going into self-isolation after having been in the presence COVID-19 victims.

It was also reported that the city did not answer Beachcomber questions related to why the mobile trailers obtained “for the purpose of housing officers who fear exposing their families to the virus remain unused?”

Following the April 13 publication of that online story the Beachcomber learned – after examining video footage of as many as 16 mobile homes in place at the LBPD academy parking lot – that the mobile homes had been removed.

Because of this observation, on the morning of April 15 the Beachcomber sent another email query to the Long Beach Joint Information Center (JIC) with copies to LBPD media relations that asked, in part:

“The Beachcomber would like to know to what use the trailers are being put, why they were moved, where they were taken and to what use the city intends to put them, if any.”

Eleven hours later, Ed Kamlan, representing the JIC, replied, “Public Records Act requests for the city should be submitted at www.longbeach.gov/pra. We have no additional information to offer at this time.”

For the past eight years – with greater and greater frequency – It has been the Beachcomber’s experience that City Hall often refers media questions to the PRA process (which often takes weeks and months for response) when asked to comment about questionable city actions.

Because of the potential harm that may exist to both the public and our first responders the Beachcomber appealed Mr. Kaman’s decision rather than immediately file a PRA. We wrote:

“It is disappointing that the city has chosen to deny our community timely answers to such critical issues. A reply about the use or non-use of emergency equipment of this nature should be within fingertip reach of a city command post operation. We are most interested to learn who made this decision.”

A response was received the next morning (April 16) from the city’s All Hazards Incident Management Team represented by Eric Bradley who responded:

“I must reiterate Ed’s last response. Public Records Act requests for the City should be submitted at www.longbeach.gov/pra. We have no additional information to offer.”

That same morning the Beachcomber found a partial answer.

At 11: 20 p.m. the night before, the officer who first went public on Fox News to expose the failures of LBPD brass to protect the rank and file from the COVID-19 virus went public once again.

As part of a moving update on her Facebook page Officer Mary Katherine Covarubias told of her motivation to go public and recounted the story of one officer who could have used those trailers:

“Almost four years ago I watched K9 Officer (Mike) Parcells pick up his dying partner, Credo, wrap him over his shoulders and race him to the animal hospital in an attempt to save his life. Credo did not make it. The image of Officer Parcell’s face that day is something that will never leave me.

"And that was the second dog of Officer Parcells that was shot in the line of duty. His dog Ranger was also killed while saving officers lives.

So, when I hear that (unprotected) Officer Parcells was not allowed to be tested after a COVID-19 exposure of a felony suspect it becomes really upsetting. Then to learn that he was denied being quarantined in one of the many empty allotted trailers that we spent a lot of money on – there’s no excuse.

"Whoever thought that was the right decision I don’t know how you sleep at night. You basically sent the message that he’s on his own and to pay for (which he did) his own self-quarantine. And his story is one of many. Many.”

On the afternoon of April 15 the L.A. Times published a story that revealed the LAPD – with the financial help of the LAPD Police Foundation – had acquired rooms at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles to house LAPD officers who have symptoms related to the coronavirus or who must quarantine because of possible exposure to the virus.

It was reported that LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced the arrangement in a video to his rank and file. He was quoted by the L.A. Times as saying:

The dangers you face in coming to work while others are staying at home are not lost on me. I thank you for your continued commitment mission of keeping the city safe and healthy,

"This rest and isolation center has been made possible by a generous donation from the Police Foundation, and hotel accommodations will be provided at no cost to you.

"Our first preference is for you to stay at home. However, I recognize that may cause you even more stress and the potential risk to those you love. So, these accommodations are for you.”

On April 17 the Beachcomber filed a PRA to learn more about the trailers that were in possession of the LBPD, why they were not used and where they went.

 

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

stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

 

 

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Comments

It is a sad commentary on the way our best are manipulated by certain brass and quite possibly their own POA. Will anyone else step up to speak out against what is going on at the LBPD?

Aren't the LBPOA board members all sergeants and lieutenants? Aren't they considered part of the the LBPD administration? So why would the POA work against what the LBPD admin and city want? Isn't it a conflict of interest to have admin represent line police officers? Why would the board go against the same admin that have a say-so with the board members careers? If these board members go against Chief LUNA he would retaliate. The big question is why would these same line officers vote these Sergeants and lieutenants to the board LOL "NOT TOO SMART" and to think these same officers make life and death decisions every day with the lives of LB citizens. If they can't see the obvious how can we expect them to make good decisions with the citizens they come in contact with. It's hilarious how their own officer elect, give money and defend the LBPOA while the board does nothing for them. The only reason they do is because they know that the POA will work hard to get them a raise that also benefits the board. This all about the MONEY and only the MONEY. SMH

it's starting to look as if the new city manager is going to be as corrupt as his predecessor, same-o same-o. The city of LB is being run like a banana republic. We as citizens need to stand up and demand answers! wait let me first file a PRA request for that. SMH

Just because you file a PRA request doesn't mean Long Beach Police will respond with an answer. Even if/when they do, it is possible the answer may not be the truth. That has certainly been my experience.

While the PRA law requires cities to respond within a certain time, that rarely happens in Long Beach's case. Often times, the city will not respond and in turn, force the public or the media to expend their money to sue them for the information they are entitled to by law. Over the years, this has proven a successful strategy for Long Beach to minimize unsavory information from being made public.

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