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Gang Problems in Los Angeles

March 08, 1988

Your editorial "The Need for More Police" (Feb. 18) was of more than passing interest to me. Beefing up the police force and cutting back on complaint response time have long been primary missions for me. Now it appears others are getting around to that concern and the bandwagon is getting crowded. I'm happy to see that, because if the new direction the mayor and a majority of the City Council is now taking works out, it will be for the good of the people of our city.

It appears we now have the support for Chief Gates and his department to add the manpower necessary to do the job.

My curiosity, though, is where was that support in 1985 for my proposal to provide the funding--without a taxing measure--to increase our uniformed Police Department? Neither the mayor nor the council backed what I still believe to be a viable idea--austerity in government spending, abandonment of a highly paid commission and earmarking surplus property tax revenues for the hiring of more policemen.

My plan in 1985 would have provided more than $30 million a year for that purpose. Then, it would have added as many as 1,300 more officers to the department in a short period.

Chief Gates, as you reported, already is working on the response time between the call for help and the arrival of a patrol car on the scene.

As a member of the Police Commission for more than a dozen years before becoming a city councilman, I know that our Police Department has a sincere and professional concern for the community it serves. It is important that we all give it our support.

JOHN FERRARO

Los Angeles City Councilman

4th District

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