LAPD tells officers to be available in case of election-related unrest

LAPD officers guard a Wells Fargo Bank building in an undated file photo.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department has informed all its officers that they may need to reschedule any vacations around election day as the agency prepares for possible protests or other unrest.

Law enforcement sources said the department does not have any specific intelligence suggesting problems but that the bulletin was put out to be prepared for any contingencies.

LAPD officers put in for days off typically months in advance, but top LAPD brass has informed officers in a letter that it has designated Nov. 2 to 9 as a “special event,” with modified hours and limited time off for anyone. Election day is Nov. 3.

“We would be foolish not to make sure we had resources available,” said Josh Rubenstein, the department’s communications director. “We want to make sure we have people available. This is not a full mobilization.”


He said he has no specific information but the department acts out of caution often.

LAPD Assistant Chief Horace Frank added, “Our ‘hope’ is that there isn’t any unrest or unlawful exhibition of behavior but ‘Hope’ is not a strategy so we have to do the responsible thing and properly prepare for any such unlawful activities.”

In the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, the LAPD and other law enforcement agencies handled weeks of protests this summer, part of a national movement of demonstrations.

There have been growing concerns about potential unrest after the election, which is one of the most divisive in memory. President Trump has repeatedly suggested he might not accept the results, and huge numbers of mail-in ballots being sent in due to the COVID-19 pandemic might mean the winner won’t be known for days.