Patt Morrison for October 17, 2011

Ask the Chief: LAPD top cop Charlie Beck takes your questions

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Corey Bridwell/KPCC

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in KPCC's Pasadena studios, making his monthly appearance for "Ask the Chief" on "Patt Morrison."

Gov. Jerry Brown’s bill-signing marathon suggests hard hitting consequences for Los Angeles. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck was here to tell us how it changes things around town.

One bill, which will be enforced Jan. 1, makes it illegal to openly carry unloaded handguns in public without a permit. How does this change the way safety is implemented, especially after last week’s mass shooting in Seal Beach?

Another measure seeks to fund prison realignment programs, which begins to see reform this month with the shifting of low-level felonies from state to local control. What constitutes as “low-level”? What will happen when 30,000 inmates are released in order to ease overcrowding?

And finally, a popular RAND study — largely disputed by L.A. officials — which found areas with marijuana dispensaries experience less crime is rescinded. How does this play out now, when the federal government announced it will prosecute pot shops?

Here's what the chief had to say:

Open carry law
"Carrying guns openly in public is most certainly a recipe for disaster — Los Angeles police officers would certainly detain more people with guns which is always dangerous, and I'm glad that doesn't have to happen.

"On the Seal Beach piece, that is an awful tragedy that point out just what it means to be living in a society that is armed as well as this one is. It turns a whim into reality, it turn random thoughts into distinct violence. And it's an awful cost of being so well armed."

Prison realignment
"This is every much doing something that I don't like to do, which is building the plane while you fly it. I don't like to do things this way, this one of my issues with what's happened here, we've had not lot of time to plan this, no coordination, not a pilot plan, not the way I normally implement massive changes in the way the organization works.

"I am going to dedicate 150 police officers, that's more than any other in the state, towards this, and I'll do that's whether I get funded or not. But, in fairness to the people of Los Angeles who pay for this police department, the county and the state should reimburse us.

"They'll be deployed in everyone of our 21 divisions, every one of those 21 divisions will have a team of officers lead by a supervisor who works for their detective lieutenant and they will be the parolee probationer compliance team- and that's what they'll do [...] they'll try to do the job that the state parole would normally have done."

The RAND study on medical marijuana dispensaries
"You probably know that study has been de-published by Rand, they've taken that back to take another look at it.

"There's a number of issues that I have, just on the face of the study: A. the term. 10 days on either side — 10 days is in no way any kind of indicator of long term trend. Then, the fact that they never checked to see if these dispensaries closed, many did not; and so that data is faulty.

"It's just a number of things that I would have preferred. RAND is a fantastic organization, and has done some great studies for the Los Angeles Police Department, and I'm not sure how this one got out their back door."

On budget cuts and 911 calls
"Much of 911 gets taken up with people that don't need 911. So, you know, L.A. has implemented the 311 system; I really ask the public that if it's not an emergency, if you don't need a police officer right away, call 311 and we'll get your issue handled. And that will make room for people that have life or property in immediate threat. That's an important message for this to come out. A lot of this is about volume.

"I will work on getting more 911 operators and just will ask the public to do it on the other end — which is try to reduce the call load."

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How will these changes effect you and your neighborhood?


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