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LAPD has got it grotesquely wrong. The \o7 raison...

October 08, 1988

LAPD has got it grotesquely wrong. The raison d'etre for police is to keep people from being hurt, not use the taxpayers as bait. By whose dispensation does it become "strategically" permissible to watch people get beat up after swearing an oath to uphold and enforce the law? Where is the subsequent payoff for allowing an individual violent act to take place? This is not the same thing as the patient narcotic detective who watches the retailer in order to catch the big fish. For a sworn peace officer to watch a crime against a person take place without interceding defies justification; for there to be a policy permitting this is irrational.

Despite the plea bargain system that passes for justice in this period of advanced social development where getting a conviction without some blood or requisite number of stitches is a lost cause, protection from injury relies solely upon the police and should probably rank somewhere ahead of strategy and tactics in the scheme of priorities.

Surely the aggregate intellect of a major department headed by a chief with a six-figure salary sees a difference between a surveillance to count dime-bag sales on a street corner and one that allows a store owner to get clobbered. Once upon a time, effective stakeouts raised the mortality rate for liquor store and market robberies to a point where this type of crime became unprofitable, at least for a while. Perhaps city taxpayers should contract with the sheriff for police services.

PETER CHRISTIAN ANDERSON

San Marino

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