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Give LAPD Some Modern Tools to Work With : Police: A $15-million campaign for a basic computer system would free up 600,000 hours toward a safer city.

August 21, 1994|BRUCE KARATZ | Bruce Karatz is co-chairman of the Mayor's Alliance for a Safer L.A. and chairman and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Kaufman & Broad Home Corp

We all came to Los Angeles for different reasons. Some of us came for the weather or for the universities. Some of us were seeking Hollywood stardom, others the technology that would help us explore the universe.

But whatever our reasons, we must admit that there is one reason that would make us think about leaving--concern for the safety of ourselves and our children.

Every day the subject of crime finds its way into our lives. We experience it, we hear about it, we talk about it. We talk about our worries, our fears and our feelings of helplessness.

But now there is a way for every citizen and business in Los Angeles concerned about public safety to assist the agency responsible for maintaining it: the Los Angeles Police Department. Last week, the Mayor's Alliance for a Safer L.A., a newly formed volunteer coalition of business and community leaders, launched an effort to raise $15 million to give the LAPD the technology to become more efficient and effective.

The Alliance was formed by Mayor Richard Riordan, Chief of Police Willie Williams and myself, with the hope of pulling together the diverse business and philanthropic community in greater Los Angeles toward one common goal: to make our streets safer. The gift, basic computer technology that will liberate officers from a sea of paperwork and maximize their crime-fighting time, will be the largest private donation in the history of the LAPD and the first large-scale initiative of its kind in the nation.

Who ever said that Angelenos can't come together for a single purpose?

We're asking not only businesses and private foundations, but everyone in this city, to take part in this campaign. We will send a message to the world and to the men and women of the LAPD who put their lives on the line that this community cares about safety.

Incredibly, LAPD officers currently spend as much as 40% of their time manually completing crime reports and other paperwork. But within one year of the computerization made possible by the Mayor's Alliance gift, the citizens of Los Angeles will see a 25% decrease in the time required for police to perform administrative and reporting tasks, saving more than 600,000 hours annually. This adds up to more than 350 full-time patrol officers and detectives.

This is only one step toward making our city safe, but it is an important one that requires a commitment from each of us. We have 20 members of an executive committee who have pledged their financial and volunteer support, but we are seeking thousands more to do the same. After all, we live here, we work here and we are staying here. We recognize that our future depends on a safer Los Angeles. It is our responsibility to make sure that these goals are met.

Help us give the men and women of the LAPD the tools to do an even better job.

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