Los Angeles proposes that unarmed civilians enforce traffic laws instead of police officers

Los Angeles proposes that unarmed civilians enforce traffic laws instead of police officers


The Los Angeles Department of Transportation recently released a draft plan to have unarmed civilians enforce traffic laws instead of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The draft report, obtained by the Los Angeles Times, has been in the works for nearly three years and has yet to be officially released.

It outlines a plan to curb reckless driving and reduce traffic-related deaths by creating narrower streets, bike lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks. Additionally, it called for civilians to conduct traffic stops instead of police officers.

In 2022, 312 people were killed in traffic collisions, up 5% compared to 2021, according to LAPD data.

According to the plan, the measures will “naturally slow the flow of traffic and discourage drivers from speeding or breaking other road laws,” the Times reported.

The LAPD previously scaled back “pretextual stops,” a practice used to pull over individuals for minor traffic violations to search for evidence of more severe crimes, including getting guns and drugs off the streets. The report called for these stops to be further restricted after a Times investigation claimed black and Latino drivers were pulled over at a higher rate than white drivers.

Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are for Everyone, an organization dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities, told the Times, “As a city, we get an F grade for our traffic, for the amount of traffic violations and our ability to curb serious fatalities and injuries.”

“I understand that we’ve got a housing crisis, I don’t disagree that we’re prioritizing that. But we [also] have a public health traffic violence crisis,” he added.

The police department expressed interest in having another agency take over traffic violation enforcement.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore said, “If DOT [Los Angeles Department of Transportation] were to pick that work up, I think we’d welcome it.”

According to a U.S. Depart of Justice report titled “Making It Safer: A Study of Law Enforcement Fatalities Between 2010-2016,” traffic stops were the “most common self-initiated incident that led to officer fatalities.”

Given the potential dangers, the DOJ’s study expressed a “need for an additional officer to provide cover and assistance” when performing traffic stops.

The Los Angeles DOT’s public information director, Colin Sweeney, told the Daily Caller News Foundation, “As directed by the Los Angeles City Council, LADOT hired a consultant team to study alternatives to armed traffic law enforcement and facilitate a community advisory task force to develop recommendations for the City to consider.”

“The group has met multiple times since November 2022 and a final report is expected in the coming weeks. As the advisory task force work concludes, LADOT looks forward to working with the Mayor, City Council, partner City agencies, and residents to protect and advance safer streets,” Sweeney added.


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