In the past, the relationship between the LAPD and the community has been described as somewhat less than exceptional. A mutual feeling of distrust pervaded attitudes on both sides, eventually leading to law enforcement officials making the decision to re-evaluate their practices in an attempt to move relations with the community in a more positive direction. That re-evaluation lead to a policy known as “community policing,” and it’s netted some positive results.

The new policy of “community policing” has had LAPD officers engaging the community on a more personal level in an attempt to get to know them and what they want from their police force. Police regularly hold meetings with community elders and officials to keep tabs on the process and to take into consideration any requests or concerns that the community may have. According to both law enforcement officials and community members, the change in how police engage the community via the new policy has begun to erode some of the feelings of distrust in the communities in which it has been applied.

The next step in the LAPD’s “community policing” policy is to increase foot patrols in certain areas. Specifically, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, and El Sereno will have their foot patrols doubled under the new policy. According to officials, the goal of increasing foot patrols isn’t to increase police presence on the streets, but to make them more accessible to the community by removing the barrier of the squad car. According to LAPD Captain Mark Baeza: “I think a program like this does nothing but enhance the trust that the community has and the willingness that the Los Angeles Police Department has to take the “community policing” model to the next level.” The plan is to have these foot patrol officers work with local businesses and residents in the area to increase the quality of life and cut down on crime.

Only time will tell if the new foot patrols will have the desired effect or not. However, given the success that the “community policing” policy has had thus far, the odds are certainly not against it.