Chief Charlie Beck

If you are willing to use resources other than traditional law enforcement – whether interrupters, intervention workers or school-based programs – then you can change a neighborhood.

Chief Charlie Beck was appointed Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department in November 2009.  Chief Beck oversees the third largest police department in the United States, managing 10,000 sworn officers and 3,000 civilian employees, encompassing an area of 473 square miles and a population of approximately 3.8 million people.  Having facilitated his predecessor’s successful reengineering and reform effort, Chief Beck continues to evolve and refine those strategies to make the Department a leader in innovative policing.  Major components of this endeavor include the mitigation of crime, the reduction of gang violence and the continuation of the reforms that brought the Department into compliance with the Consent Decree.

If that’s your only avenue to deal with the problem, then you won’t solve it.

Los Angeles’ Gang Reduction and Youth Development’s (GYRD) Intervention model was inspired by the Cure Violence model.

“I think ‘public health model’ is the best phrase to use for a model that looks at causes, root factors and environmental concerns. That’s the way the public health community looks at disease control, but it’s also the way anyone who solves problems looks at problem solving. Cure Violence takes a holistic approach: you look at the environment, at the individual and at all factors involved, rather than just focusing on the symptoms. The symptom of all of the problems is gun violence. If you just treat the symptom, you aren’t likely to get to the root cause.

“If you are willing to use resources other than traditional law enforcement – whether interrupters, intervention workers or school-based programs – then you can change a neighborhood. You can make significant change that doesn’t require constant, additional police resources to maintain. If you do it right, you can actually reduce police presence.

“The LA police department arrests about 150,000 people per year. If that’s your only avenue to deal with the problem, then you won’t solve it. You decide how you’re going to spend your public safety fund and what approach that you’re going to take. I’ve seen this work; I’m in the middle of watching this work. I firmly believe in it. What kind of policing do you want?”