San Pedro, California - It's most certain that recent decisions by our lawmakers have resulted in making law enforcement more difficult and uncertain in today’s world. Unless we can reverse the present trend toward lawlessness, disorder, and uncertain justice, we run the risk of losing all respect for the law and law enforcement officers.
The watering down of the California penal code over the last decade and the liberal application of even existing laws that turn criminals back to the streets faster than they are incarcerated clearly isn’t working.
First, citizens, as well as lawyers and judges, must recognize the dual purpose of administrating criminal justice. Number one is to protect society against lawbreakers and number two, at the same time, safeguard individual rights. People will simply not support law enforcement which fails to protect individual rights. Note the order of priority here. Number one is number one for a reason.
In addition, many local law enforcement agencies are fielding untrained personnel, armed with inadequate powers, on limited budgets, and lack of supervision. Regardless of the reasons for these shortcomings, they are doing severe damage and can do little to regain the respect of the public for law enforcement we so badly need.
Many recent court decisions have even further eroded the power of law enforcement agencies.
Starting with California Proposition 36 that was passed in 2002, the goal was to reduce the penalties of drug users getting arrested and forcing them to go into treatment on their own as a condition of probation. As you can imagine, with these felons on probation left to their own devices, this tact has been an abject failure.
In 2011 there was the AB109 realignment where newly-convicted low-level offenders without current or prior serious or violent offenses stayed in county jail to serve their sentence. This reduced the annual admissions to state prisons to less than 36,000 a year. Prior to AB109, there were approximately 55,000 to 65,000 new admissions from county courts to state prison each year.
The passing of California Proposition 47 (2014) also known as the “Criminal Sentences - Misdemeanor Penalties - Initiative Statute, was passed by voters on November 4, 2014. The measure was also referred to as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It redefined certain nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies, a real blow to law enforcement’s ability to keep criminals off the streets.
Who votes for this stuff?
I’ve always loved the LAPD, through the good and the bad, but its personnel are now so watered down by political correctness, lack of support by the system and management’s seeming need to make its officers the good guys on the street that they have all but been rendered ineffective. We need tough laws and tough cops to deal with tough criminals. The pendulum has swung as it always does. It’s so far to the left it has to eventually swing back. We must get re-centered and refocused on the job at hand; getting the criminals and mentally ill off the streets. Loitering, panhandling, vagrancy, graffiti, public drunkenness and drug dealing are killing this town. Taking down bad guys is a tough job meant to be handled by tough people. Our lawmakers must remove the muzzle on the thin blue line that protects us all.
It’s the Wild West out here folks. Shootings, muggings and just plain harassment of our citizens on the streets of San Pedro by criminals who prowl them even in broad daylight must stop. All the work that has been done and continues to be done to improve life in San Pedro will be wasted if we don’t take back our streets. This is not about the homeless problem, it’s about criminals on our streets; some of which happen to be homeless.
We need to get angry, not with the police but with our local and state representatives. There’s no time like the present to get started. I have and I’m angry.