At the Police Community meeting for Public Safety Review, August 20, 2020, the online presentation featured Mayor Goran Eriksson, City Council member Thomas Small, Acting Police Chief Manny Cid, and UCLA History professor and noted author Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez. This was the first meeting in a series of three to look at how Culver City will change it’s police department.
After Mayor Eriksson introduced the meeting, and Small spoke to forestall an expectation that there would be immediate solutions offered. “We are just at the beginning of this process.”
The process took on some basic information on the structure of the department, and how change could be facilitated for the benefit of the city.
Small’s comments headed off two of the most pressing questions; the recent agenda item on outsourcing the staffing of the city jail, and the community outcry against the inclusion of a police officer with a difficult history on the Ad Hoc Equity Committee. These issues would not be dealt with just yet.
Small noted that the “Task Force, led by the City Manager’ office, has six weeks to offer a feasible practice and actionable reforms.”
Chief Cid offered a deeply detailed profile of police department, currently working with a budget of $44.7 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. “We have 113 sworn officers, 40 non-sworn staff [administration and support staff] and 30 volunteers, 11 of who are designated as Reserve Police Officers.”
As the majority of the department’s budget covers payroll, the numbers of employees will be closely considered in the upcoming budget shift.
When Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernandez, 2019 MacArthur Fellow and UCLA History Professor offered her presentation, she was working with data from the CCPD in regard to arrests; the information was revealing but not surprising.
“Most of these arrests are for misdemeanors, most are of people who are not Culver City residents, and most of them are of Black and Latin males between the ages of 18 and 25.” Hernandez emphasized that this puts Culver City in the same position as many other cities.
“Hernandez referenced Care First, Jails Last from Los Angeles County (file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/144473.pdf) as well as her own work at Million Dollar Hoods (milliondollarhoods.pre.ss.ucla.edu/). As an introduction to her more than 20 years of research on the topic, she noted “Los Angeles County operates the largest jail system in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. At a cost of nearly $1 billion annually more than 27,000 people are caged every night in L.A.’s county jails and city lockups.”
“This is why we need to change the structure. The amount of money spent on policing, the damage done to so many lives; the way that things are structured right now is a terrible waste of so many resources.”
The next meeting is scheduled for September 17, 2020