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South-Central Is Not a 'War Zone'

September 22, 2004

Re "Troops for L.A. War Zones," editorial, Sept. 16: I support putting more police into South-Central and other parts of Los Angeles, but I have two points of contention with the editorial supporting greater taxation to pay for more cops.

First, police are not "troops" to occupy a South-Central "war zone." These are our youth, not the legions of Al Qaeda we're talking about. We need police on foot, on bikes and in substations protecting our communities by developing the kinds of relationships that help with crime prevention as well as investigation, apprehension and incarceration. Ideally, we would hire and train police officers who grew up in and reside in the communities they protect.

Second, further taxation may be necessary, but only because our current political leadership is too craven to consider cuts elsewhere, including attacking the biggest boondoggle in state history -- the massive prison buildup that coincided with the "war on drugs."

Glenn Backes

Director, Calif. Capital Office

Drug Policy Alliance



More cops on the streets simply means more opportunities for the LAPD to harass, intimidate and abuse the residents of South L.A. The solution is complex, and before we start calling for more troops for this "war zone," perhaps we should look into training these troops to see these people as participants in a civil society, not as the enemy.

Grace Regullano

Los Angeles

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