LA Homelessness: Police Legitimacy and Public Trust

LA Homelessness

  • Explain the link between police legitimacy and public trust as shown in the scenario. Answer the following questions in your explanation

Police legitimacy and public trust are two interconnected doctrines used to show the relationship between law enforcement agencies and society. Police legitimacy can be conceptualized in two broad ways; normative and empirical legitimacy. Empirical legitimacy is understood as the public’s felt obligation to trust the police officers, while normative legitimacy is when the legal authorities meet specific objective criteria. Empirical criteria are the most common from a citizen’s perspective, and it enables the police to do their work efficiently. Public trust is a doctrine that certain areas are preserved for public use and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these public resources for public use.

Public trust arises when the homeless make areas such as pathways their domiciles and inhabited there. They thus pose a danger to the pedestrians and other commuters using these areas. This is because the persons may be afraid of these people who have habited these areas. The habitation by the homeless of areas meant for the public to enjoy nature also lowers these areas’ aesthetic value.  To address these issues, the Los Angeles Police Department should borrow a leaf from the Anaheim, California police department. Thus, they should create a task force that involves the public whose aim should be to pursue resources to help the homeless get off the streets.

The task force should have a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), Homeless Resources Collaborative (H.R.C.), and homeless liaison officers. The psychiatric emergency team should consist of trained officers and counselors who would proactively patrol for homeless people with underlying mental conditions. To facilitate this, L.A.P.D. should collaborate with hospitals located in the region to ensure such a unit’s efficiency. The homeless liaison officer should consist of volunteers who should be the first response team in case of any homeless-related service call. Their main task would virtually ensure that they avail resources when needed. Law enforcement also needs to step up in the sense that although all the frameworks will be in place to reduce homelessness, some will still be adamant about abandoning the streets and their habitats.  L.A.P.D. should therefore be ready to arrest such individuals for deterrence purposes.

Discretion is used when the relevant authorities respond to the homeless-related service call in choosing the best remedy for a particular homeless person victim who would conform to his/her needs. Discretion could be used more judiciously by allowing the arrested homeless persons to state his/her reason why they are homeless, and the jury and judge should provide a reasonable remedy.

  1. Describe how public opinion can be influenced by using procedural justice for addressing the issue of homelessness. Answer the following questions in your description

Procedural justice reflects on how the police and other legal entities engage with the public and how the features of these encounters influence the public’s perception of the law enforcement agencies, their ability to comply with the rules, and real rates of crime. The L.A.P.D. can use this to bring together all society stakeholders to air their views on how the enforcement agency should address this problem. By incorporating society in tackling their challenges, they feel a sense of ownership, enhancing their law obedience virtues.

The L.A.P.D. should then use this opportunity to roll out a clearly defined operating procedure for homelessness cases. This would allow society to provide oversight over the enforcement agency. By rolling out the operating procedure and incorporating the public in solving homelessness, it would therefore be more comfortable for the police to be accountable for their actions since they would have the basis of their operations on a legally recognized document. The L.A.P.D. should also utilize this opportunity to fill in the gap in the police sector that is incorporating social media in their duties. With the increased technological advancement, it would be wise for us to incorporate it to reduce homelessness. L.A.P.D. should create a department that would monitor their social media accounts and respond to notifications or requests from the public members on homelessness.

  1. Explain how community policing concepts and principles can be applied to address the issue of homelessness as shown in the scenario.

Community policing principles are: helping those with special needs, commitment to community empowerment, expanding police mandate, decentralized and personalized policing, ethics, legality, responsibility and trust, and immediate and long-term proactive problem-solving. Community policing emphasizes exploring new ways of protecting those who are vulnerable such as the homeless. Community empowerment entails allowing homeless persons to participate in specific projects in society, a vital revenue source.

Community policing enables the L.AP.D and the citizens to recreate a new contract essential to a sustainable relationship between the community and the police. Through community policing, L.A.P.D. and any other police agency would stand to get more information on crime occurrence or any other relevant material that would enable us to perform our duty. The police can identify and collect resources needed in combating issues such as homelessness.  Community policing can be applied to combat homelessness in Los Angeles by involving the public in solving the issues, maybe by having volunteers from the public undertake counseling to the homeless. It can be used to identify the necessary resources; this would be very important to the homeless since they might be part of their necessities that might have caused them to be on the streets.

  1. Describe how the professional practice of policing for the LAPD changed in order to address the issue of homelessness in our current time.

In the past, Los Angeles tried to use the Safer Cities Initiative this method worked by expanding and employing more aggressive law enforcement agents targeting some of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in society. L.A.P.D. Undertook to increase the number of police officers in the area and although this was somehow effective in reducing crime since the police to citizen ratio was much improved. However, this method’s economic effect was the basis of criticism since there are more comfortable and more economical means to achieve the same results. The strategy did not reflect the community policing strategy that is being encouraged in most states but rather a more police-centered approach, one that ignores the public.