Law Enforcement Working Group
Revised JSAP – Unified Action Plan (UAP) | LAC 1998 | LAC-BOS 1999
I. The Parties
Elected Law Enforcement Officials:
Los Angeles City Attorney, James Hahn;
Los Angeles County Sheriff, Leroy Baca;
Los Angeles County District Attorney, Gil Garcetti;
California Attorney General, Bill Lockyer;
Non-Elected Law Enforcement Officials:
Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association;
The Representation of Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association (LACPCA) represents all
of its’ members, including Chief Bernard Parks of LAPD See Attachments — LACPCA Support Letters.
Police Officers of Los Angeles County. See Attachment.
The NHP Campaign, Chairman, Homeless Activist Ted Hayes;
Other elected and non-elected officials, including but not limited to Members of the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Homelessness has been steadily increasing for several years. It constitutes, especially for the mentally ill, an archaic form of human misery that can no longer be tolerated in this, the world’s greatest and most responsive democracy.
Further, Homelessness creates a sizeable drain on social and economic resources. It is a frustration to legitimate commerce and an obstacle to community development. Prevention of future Homelessness will pay great dividends to American society that will more than justify’ the effort and costs of instituting a National Plan for the Homeless: A Domestic Marshall Plan.
Health and social services, as well as welfare institutions, are now faced with the urgent necessity of creating new avenues of cooperation, coordination and mutual support. There is a nationwide need for new concentrations of community outreach and active, aggressive provision of services, both as to the treatment and the prevention of Homelessness and of mental illness among the Homeless.
Further, the absence of a unified, comprehensive national strategy has cast police and prosecutors in the reluctant capacity of surrogate social workers and mental health experts, a role far removed from the original mission of community law enforcement.
Because of the heavy concentration of Homeless people in urban centers, police officers are regularly placed in the frustrating position of direct and constant confrontation with Homeless persons on the streets.
Neither the law, the community, nor the Homeless, are served by perpetuating this dilemma.
III. Who Are the Homeless?
A number of recent studies, all reliable, broadly-based and conducted independently of one another, reveal that American Homeless persons number over two and one-half million at any given time, and fall into one or more of the following chief general categories:
- Women and their children (40%);
- The mentally ill (33%);
- Military veterans (30%);
- Drug and/or alcohol addicts (50-60%);
- Parolees or probationers;
- HIV/Aids victims;
- Functionally illiterate persons or others with incomplete education;
- Newly-evicted working poor;
- Welfare recipients for whom aid has been reduced or curtailed.
- Young people emancipated from families and foster homes, runaways from middle class home
The causes of Homelessness are complex. Therefore, the cure cannot be simplistic. It cannot address any single issue or causative factor exclusively. Hence, it is absolutely necessary that any meaningful comprehensive plan for its eradication, or significant reduction, be instituted at the Federal level. Successful local model projects will not achieve permanence and uniform consistency unless they are integrated into a national strategy.
IV. Action Requests
The joint signatories call upon the President of the United States to convene a National Commission on Homelessness, nonpartisan and broadly representative in composition, with the specific mission of developing a comprehensive strategic plan for addressing Homelessness, its causes and its prevention nationwide.
The joint signatories call for a nationwide, federally-sponsored review of social service systems for the Homeless, inviting all local, state and federal governmental departments or non-governmental agencies supported in part or in whole by federal funding, to self-examine and to clarify their missions, cooperative compatibility potential, and effectiveness. The aim of their active participation is not to allocate blame for the existing crisis, but rather to enable an accurate and thorough diagnosis. We cannot solve the problem without first measuring its size, scope and nature. The expertise and active participation of social service systems is essential to this process.
The joint signatories call for the creation of community-based outreach teams in partnership with police to assist law enforcement in responding to problems among the Homeless and preventing violence; or, acting independently, to render police interventions and confrontations unnecessary wherever possible by:
– – – mediating or alleviating Homeless-related problems;
– – – identifying and defusing potentially violent situations;
– – – locating and interfacing with Homeless to help determine their needs, problems, and health status;
– – – alerting the appropriate partners, e.g., mental health medical units, police, shelters, etc., of individual problems, potential mental or physical health and medical crises, or need for law enforcement;
The outreach teams should include components from experienced Homeless advocate agencies; persons selected from among the numbers of the Homeless; police representatives and training personnel; mental health services; drug and alcohol rehabilitation professionals; community and neighborhood representatives and volunteers, and others.
The joint signatories call for the foregoing bodies to establish a complete and thorough Communications Linkup network between and among themselves and to local police, mental health providers, social services, Homeless advocates, business and government, with clear communications guidelines and directives. One of its chief tasks will be to ensure quick and constant communication links for coordination and synchronization of joint actions; initially as a local pilot or model, then applied nationwide;
The joint signatories call for the creation of new facilities or restructuring of appropriate existing facilities to encourage the Homeless to exchange street living for more attractive, dignified and medically sound alternatives; bearing in mind at all times the need for protection of the rights and dignity of the Homeless and of other neighborhood residents generally. These alternative living facilities or communities will be inspired or patterned after pilot projects such as Dome Village, Los Angeles, or other examples; first as local models, then as an integral part of the recommended national strategy.
V. Scope of Project
Although the City and County of Los Angeles, and to a lesser extent the State of California, can and will serve as a working model of the foregoing innovations, the scope of the National Plan must be nationwide. It must be ordained and inspired by Presidential action to ensure uniformity, continuity and permanence of the overall strategy.
To that end, and to encourage specific Presidential action, the joint signatories may:
A. Appoint staff members from their respective offices to serve as standing representatives to the project, working together with Ted Hayes’ organization as initiator and headquarters of the National Homeless Plan Campaign, and with other interested organizations;
B. Hold jointly-sponsored Public Awareness Hearings within their respective jurisdictions to create a public dialogue on the call for national action strategy on Homelessness;
C. Co-sponsor a press conference to announce and present this Joint Statement and to discuss the public policy issues behind it;
D. Call for the appointment of a joint Los Angeles City-County Ad Hoc Committee, with the specific cooperation of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), to hear the views of all interested parties, review existing services and make recommendations for a combined strategy to reduce and prevent Homelessness locally and regionally, and which recommendations will be integrated into the joint call for the appointment of a National Commission for the Elimination of Homelessness and the adoption of a national strategy for the same purpose;
E. Enlist the support and participation of state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies nationwide;
F. Arrange a joint visit to the President of the USA to make a formal request for Federal action.
Note: Document Change of LAPD Chief, Bernard C. Parks as a Signer
Original copies of JSAP show LAPD Chief Bernard Parks as a signer. However, Chief Parks as all L.A. County Chiefs of Police are non-elected officials, but rather appointed by those elected. For Chief Parks or any Chief of Police in the County of Los Angeles to sign the JSAP document along with elected officials would be a serious breach of protocol. Mr. Parks, as all other Chiefs of Police, is represented by the L.A. County Police Chiefs Association, Pasadena Police Chief, Mr. Bernard Melekian, acting as the associations President.