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-by Bill Watkins 10/20/2021

Every third Wednesday at 6:00pm Hollenbeck Division Headquarters on 1st Street in Boyle Heights welcomes the Community-Police Advisory Board (C-PAB) to facilitate an exchange of information and advice.

New Hollenbeck Captain Germán Hurtado co-chaired the meeting with C-PAB community Co-Chair Mark Overstreet of University Hills.  The board is five strong but is actively open to new recruits who want to serve their communities as a liaison between the LAPD and the streets.  The captain opened with a crimes report, reflecting a slight surge in numbers and high concerns over the “homeless situation.”

Also present and contributing were Neighborhood Prosecutor Cynthia Gonzalez, Hollenbeck Detective Commander Chris Mayberry, area LAPD Lead Officers, two representatives from CA Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo’s office, the board members mentioned and about twenty members of the community.  Interested members brought their concerns, among them:  gang activity and crimes in areas with high homeless populations.

Commander Mayberry stressed the importance of having experts on gang activity among Hollenbeck’s force, as “a strong nexus exists between the gangs and certain kinds of crimes.”  Neighborhood Prosecutor Cynthia Gonzalez with the City Attorney’s office, committed to Hollenbeck Division and communities they serve, spoke at length on her work, from trying to educate folks on keeping public spaces safe and accessible (L.A. Municipal Code Section 41.18) to advising those present of a “Safe Parking Program” that exists out of Council District 1 in Glassell Park.  The program attempts to assist in safe parking for RV’s in this area.

Lead Officers contributed their reports, with Officer Oscar Casini receiving special recognition for his outstanding work.  Officer Huerta of Lincoln Heights, Hermon, and Rose Hills communities spoke of extra attention on Debs Park of late, while Officer Frank Dominguez mentioned more concerns about homeless populations.  All of the lead officers requested community help and involvement.

For some that involvement could be membership in the C-PAB board, for others captaincy with Neighborhood Watch.  Officer Casini passionately pitched for community support, knowing that without it—LAPD will not be as successful as they could be.  It’s through community watch programs and support that quality of life can rise to new heights, a community member even presenting an idea to introduce non-lethal foot patrols to get ahead of crimes in the area.

Opinions at Wednesday’s meeting expressed that far better than reacting to crime is to put eyes on the street and avoid them altogether.  Together, Wednesday night’s C-PAB meeting seemed to say, we can create the kind of community we want.  See you at Hollenbeck Division Headquarters (2111 1st Street, Boyle Heights) on each third Wednesday, the next meeting scheduled for November the 17th at 6:00pm.