While the Mayor drains funds and services from City parks and libraries
in pursuit of 1,000 new LAPD officers, airport employees are openly questioning why a significant LAPD force still patrols LAX each day.
The LAWAPD, the 'LAX police', is the public safety agency tasked with public safety at LAX. This specialized agency maintains a force roughly the size of two full LAPD divisions.
Yet at an unknown cost to the taxpayers, LAPD reportedly has 150 officers every day at the LAX-LAPD substation as well as on motor units, foot beats, acting as detectives, at screening stations, manning K9 units, and so on. With the exception of the Bomb squad, all these officers duplicate positions currently staffed by LAWAPD.
The issue of who should provide public safety services at LAX was effectively decided four years ago. At the time, LAPD Chief Bratton was pushing for an LAPD takeover of LAX. Critics of LAWAPD, both official and unofficial were claiming that LAWAPD officers were incompetent, untrained, and were unable to carry out their mission.
In 2005, an extensive $900,000 study by CTI Consultants
found that not only should there not be a merger between LAPD and LAWAPD, but that LAWAPD had the training, specific expertise, competency, and size to professionally and successfully manage LAX. The study determined that indeed LAWAPD was carrying out their mission and that they were the best agency based on their specialization to do this job.
Chief Bratton did not accept the consultant's findings. Although the report was pretty clear about keeping LAWAPD in place at LAX, an LA Times article of the time
documented Bratton's rejection: "...This is absolutely outrageous... I don't get it. We just spent $900,000 and now they're going to tell us we're going to spend more money and the question wasn't even answered. What's the best model? Should the airport take over or should the LAPD take over?"
In a final effort to marginalize the study's findings, Bratton and the Mayor forced the issue to public vote in May of that year. The public itself resoundingly voted down the consolidation of the LAWAPD into LAPD, prefering to keep the specialized services of LAWAPD in the airport and LAPD patrolling the streets.
Labels: chief william bratton, lapd, LAWAPD, LAX, LAXPD, mayor antonio villaraigosa