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New enforcement tool for L.A. 'quality of life' issues proposed

CrimeLaws and LegislationLaw EnforcementLos Angeles Police DepartmentPaul KoretzLos Angeles City Council
L.A. budget committee approves program to write tickets for minor offenses, such as urinating in public

Los Angeles could soon create a new system of police-issued citations for minor "quality of life" annoyances that typically would be resolved with a warning.  

The pilot program, called Administrative Citation Enforcement, gives the LAPD  and the Department of Animal Services  a new enforcement tool that would bypass the court system. It would allow city officials to impose financial penalties for such offenses as urinating in public, having dogs off leashes at the beach or dumping garbage in public streets. 

Officials said the proposal, which was approved by the City Council's budget committee Monday, is needed because warnings can be ignored and officers are often reluctant to take actions that can trigger a misdemeanor case. 

"We have a lot of quality-of-life issues that don't get enforced," said Councilman Paul Koretz at Monday afternoon's meeting. 

Councilman Mitch Englander, who is a reserve LAPD officer, said that without an option to write a ticket, officers often end up in tough situations. If a child's birthday party is too loud, officers' hands can be tied if the parents don't respond to a warning to cut down on noise, he said.

"We don't want to arrest Mommy and Daddy," he said.

The concept of the program was approved by the City Council last year. If adopted, it is expected to generate $1.59 million in net revenue annually. 

Under the program, the first offense would be $100, the second $250, the third $500 and the fourth $1,000. 

"These are the nuisance calls that bug people," he said. He emphasized that officers still have the choice of whether to treat a case as a misdemeanor or as a citation.

The program still requires final approval from the full City Council.

Follow @skarlamangla on Twitter for more city and county government news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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CrimeLaws and LegislationLaw EnforcementLos Angeles Police DepartmentPaul KoretzLos Angeles City Council
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