I would like to use this forum to place my vote of confidence in Long Beach Police Chief Lawrence Binkley and, at the same time, applaud City Manager James C. Hankla for having the courage to present a brilliant solution to the public safety issue beleaguering Long Beach.
Summoning the assistance of the Sheriff's Department to police portions of north and east Long Beach is both economically defensible and morally sound: Mr. Hankla's primary responsibility is to provide a safe environment for the citizens of Long Beach, and augmenting the present Police Department with sheriff's deputies is a viable, short-term solution to that dilemma.
However, I would like to believe that a city of the magnitude of Long Beach would be capable of maintaining the autonomy of its own police force. The current problems--union unrest, personnel shortages--did not occur overnight, nor will the solution be sudden. But the department is capable and is currently progressing toward resolution.
I have been a member of the department for over 16 years and have viewed, from a variety of perspectives, some discernible progress as the department has been moved toward increasingly higher levels of professionalism.