The Los Angeles Police Department has created a new bureau to expand one of the Department's most successful crime-fighting initiatives, the Community Safety Partnership, which has focused on building relationships between a handful of specially selected officers and residents, and in particular, the neighborhoods' youth.
The new group will be headed by Emada E. Tingirides, who was recently promoted by LAPD Chief Michel Moore from captain to deputy chief, an unusual jump in rank and responsibility.
Tingirides has managed many facets of the CSP program for years. She was most recently assigned as captain of the Southeast Division.
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The new unit will force a significant restructuring of the LAPD as it will be staffed by officers currently serving in a variety of other roles. The impact on other divisions and units isn't yet clear, but the changes may also serve the additional goal of reprioritizing officers' daily tasks.
"Most people still understand the value of good police work, guided by the values that are most important to the public today," said one senior City official familiar with the plans but who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
"We have faith that the general public, and the true activists, will understand that a good, safe city has a good police department," the official said.
The Community Safety Partnership began in the Jordan Downs public housing complex in 2011 and was expanded to two other housing developments in Watts: Nickerson Gardens and Imperial Courts. Later the program grew to include the Ramona Gardens development in Boyle Heights and developments in San Fernando, South Park, and a neighborhood of Harvard Park.
A number of LAPD officers who've worked CSP told NBC4's I-Team that the reasons the program has succeeded -- have been because of the careful selection of officers and their time commitment of a minimum of 5 years in the program.
"The officers had to fully buy-in to the concept," said one participant, who said it might be difficult to expand a program so dependent on individual relationships into a city-wide effort.
Tingirides said in 2015, "helping to dispel past distrust and strained relationships with law enforcement is a major factor of the CSP program's success."
A year-long UCLA study published in March found that the CSP program successfully bridged, "communication between officers and residents, many of whom have deep-seated distrust of the police." The number of violent crimes dropped in areas where CSP officers were assigned, and at an L.A. Police Commission meeting earlier this year the study's author urged the City to use CPS as a model for changing the entire police department.
"It could be extremely useful for epidemic crises, including homelessness and the pandemic," UCLA adjunct professor of social welfare Jorja Leap told the Commission. "This is the type of approach that represents a new and important paradigm in law enforcement."