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LAPD's righteous role on skid row

March 16, 2007

Re "A police state on skid row," Opinion, March 12

Ramona Ripston is my colleague on the board of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. We are united in our frustration and disgust at the limited resources available to address the regionwide tragedy of homelessness.

But I respectfully disagree that the Los Angeles Police Department has turned skid row into a "police state."

The real threat to life and liberty on skid row is not the LAPD, it's heroin and cocaine. The LAPD's special enforcement is saving lives. It began in September, and the results are nothing short of remarkable:

* In 2006, the Central City East Assn.'s security dispatch center received a monthly average of 532 complaints of open-air drug activity. Last month, we received 383 such calls.

* Instead of an average 2,100 calls a month involving sick or mentally ill people, last month we received 729.

Should the American Civil Liberties Union prevail in its attempt to limit this enforcement, its attorneys will celebrate victory for a night; the drug dealers and criminal predators will celebrate every night.


Executive director

Central City East Assn.

Los Angeles

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