My name is Jary Quinones and I am a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. I work out of Pacific Division in the special unit called the Venice Beach patrol.
I am writing in response to an article written by Alan Citron: "A Wounded Community" (Times, May 24). Directly beneath a picture of an ex-Venice Beach patrol officer, Mr. Citron paraphrased Councilwoman Pat Russell as stating that she "has taken credit for beefing up police beach patrols in Venice."
In my three years as a member of the special unit, Pat Russell has not once given the beach detail any support. On the contrary, Pat Russell and her staff have, in one way or another, worked against the Venice Beach detail. Whenever we have requested her support, either in dealing with illegal vendors or the huge transient problem (responsible for a major part of the vandalism and burglaries from motor vehicle as well as from residences), she has replied that the vendors are part of Venice and part of the . . . environment. Pat Russell responds to the transient problem by stating that this is a homeless problem. In this way she justifies her lack of involvement or support.
The procedures for beefing up the Venice Beach detail are initiated by the immediate supervisor and the officers in the unit. The unit consists of six highly trainedmembers who have an understanding of many areas foreign to regular patrol officers, including the business and professional codes, building and safety codes, Los Angeles municipal codes, as well as various penal codes. These six officers are permanent members throughout the year.
Beginning in May, the beach unit, in preparation for the summer and holidays, begins beefing up the unit. This is accomplished by submitting to the area captain a request for extra manpower as well as advertising for openings to the Pacific Division patrol. New officers are subsequently obtained for the summer months on a loan-basis only. After the summer months the beach unit begins to weed its members until finally it has only its six permanent members once again. This summer, in comparison to other summers, will be short several officers. These procedures for obtaining officers to the beach detail are long and tedious, and are always tied up in the bureaucratic red tape which is consistent with any large organization.
When I read Mr. Citron's article which gave Pat Russell credit for beefing up the police beach patrol in Venice, I was appalled and disgusted. Pat Russell, how dare you take credit for this? Where were you when we asked for your assistance? Where were you when we asked you to walk down Ocean Front Walk (Venice boardwalk) and observe the problems which we face and deal with each day? Especially on Sundays, which attract all the inner-city gangs and dope dealers. Better yet, when was the last time you were on Ocean Front Walk in Venice on a Sunday . . . or any day of the week for that matter?