More cops for... Hollywood?

(John McCall/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

If you happen to be in Tinseltown later this month, you might notice something a bit different on the streets. There will be significantly more police officers out walking around on foot patrol. The LAPD has added more than a dozen new officers to patrol the streets of Hollywood. This is taking place during a time when many Californians – particularly the outspoken celebrities who turn award shows into political speech festivals – are still calling for the police to be defunded or abolished. So how are they managing to pull this off? Money is no object because these officers aren’t on the payroll. They’re volunteer police officers who donate their time to help out the community. But they have all the same training as the regular police and are authorized to do all of the same things If you’re wondering why they would be adding more police to Hollywood of all the communities in Los Angeles, you’re not alone. But we’ll get to those questions in a moment. (CBS Los Angeles)

The Los Angeles Police Department started a new foot patrol program Friday, adding 15 uniformed unpaid, reserve officers to the Hollywood beat.

The new patrol officers are members of the department’s reserve police force, officers who receive the same training as their full-time counterparts, but are unpaid volunteers who have jobs outside of the police force.

“Right now, we’re out here letting the citizens in the community and business owners know that we are here,” Officer Sammy Hsu said.

I understand that this is more about community engagement than anything else. It’s the sort of “community outreach” that liberal politicians love to trumpet as a way to “restore trust” in law enforcement. These reserve officers are walking the beat rather than taking up space in squad cars so they can chat up the locals, engage with business owners and instill a sense of how the nice police officers are just there to help. I get it.

But if you have extra police available during a time when crime rates continue to surge, is Hollywood really the best place to expend your resources? Hollywood is literally the safest place in all of Los Angeles with the lowest crime rates and many officers already assigned to keep the glitterati and the tourists with all of their vacation money safe. It isn’t exactly a hotbed of racial unrest, either.

If you take a look at a street map of Hollywood and the surrounding neighborhoods, you might get the sense that the time and effort of these officers could be better invested elsewhere. If your officers hopped onto Route 91 and went just fifteen minutes to the south, do you know where they would be? Compton.

The name of Compton pops up in so many rap songs for a reason. It has one of the highest crime rates in the country based on every category you might care to name. You literally have a one in 27 chance of being the victim of either a violent or property crime in Compton. Don’t you suppose that an extra 15 armed officers on foot patrol could come in handy in a place with that much gang activity? But no… let’s send them to Hollywood instead.

Here’s an idea. If these officers are going to be equipped with body cameras (as all police in California are supposed to be), we should add some facial recognition software into them. Then get the names of every celebrity who has taken the stage or showed up at a protest to talk about defunding or abolishing the police and feed their pictures into the code. If the officer happens across someone getting mugged or beaten on the sidewalk and the camera detects that it’s one of those celebrities, have it instruct them to move on. You wouldn’t want them to risk getting into a use of force situation and possibly have the police department get sued if they try to arrest the suspect, right?