Sheriff’s Department Launches Community Policing Effort
Sheriff’s Deputy Hugo Mosquera spent Wednesday afternoon knocking on doors in an East Los Angeles neighborhood getting to know the people and their problems. The first door he approached, at an apartment complex on Concourse Avenue, opened with a friendly exchange.
“There is a lot of gang writing on the walls in the back alleys behind my apartment,” said resident Leo Mirabal, while Mosquera recorded his complaints on a clipboard survey. “There are also a lot of cars that speed past here, too. I feel safer now knowing they’re keeping a closer eye on our neighborhood.”
Mosquera is one of 10 deputies participating in a Sheriff’s Department program to crackdown on crime.
In the three-month effort known as the Community Oriented Policing Services, the deputies, a lieutenant and a sergeant will zero in on about a half-square-mile area bounded by Whittier Boulevard, Ferguson Drive and Gerhart and Concourse avenues.
“Our goal is to knock on every door in the area,” said Deputy Quilmes Rodriguez while on his neighborhood beat. “We hope that at the end of the program officers will be able to turn the area back over to the community so they can patrol themselves.”
The program, funded by the 1994 federal crime bill, was launched Saturday at the East Los Angeles, Walnut and Century sheriff’s stations. At the end of the program, the deputies will return to duties in the same assigned areas, this time armed with a better understanding of community needs.
The East Los Angeles program stands out among the numerous community-based policing programs that have been adopted nationwide. Officers police the area on foot, on bicycles and cars, rather than waiting for radio calls. They introduce themselves and explain their mission to neighbors and area workers.
“We’ve returned to traditional means to try and improve the quality of life in the community,” said Lt. John Bowler, a program coordinator.