Los Angeles cops want $ 18 million for surveillance software and snacks


The LAPD tabled a massive proposal asking for over $ 18 million in budget increases to pay for surveillance programs, bullets and… snacks.

The LAPD Coalition Against Espionage published a letter Monday by blowing up the 183-page report. The proposal calls for nearly $ 18.44 million to support many things the community has spent the past few years protesting against. The letter, which was co-authored by Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles, describes the LAPD’s list of claims as a “disgusting insult to the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets. last summer”.

In the proposed budget, the LAPD requested $ 2 million to hire people to monitor social media accounts using a monitoring system that would provide a “more holistic history on target topics.” The system is already in use by the Major Crimes Division, but ten additional licenses for other units would cost the city $ 450,000. The request also comes just weeks after it was revealed that LAPD agents are being directed to collect and store social media identifiers during the arrest of civilians.

“It’s an expansion of more tools to unleash violence against people, all under the guise of trying to build [a] relationship and trust with the community ”, Hamid Khan, campaign coordinator for the Stop the LAPD spy coalition, Motherboard said.

The proposal also suggests that funds are needed to build “an automatic speech recognition system, or other efficient system, to [body-worn video] images to allow the department to facilitate the review of the images “, in other words, using biometric surveillance systems with their body cameras, which would violate California law and could easily be used against the citizens of LA, warns the letter from the coalition. But the report says the system would be used to “improve communication with officers.”

According to Khan, much of the report uses language on increased training and sensitivity to mask attempts by police to expand surveillance and firepower. “It doesn’t reflect the feelings of the community at all,” he said.

Of the $ 12.5 million requested for additional training and overtime, only $ 338,000 was requested to hire people to work in the area of ​​community outreach.

The proposal even asks for $ 100,000 for emergency snacks that officers can take on the go, presumably when attending protests.

LA Council of Police Commissioners held a meeting Tuesday during which 45 minutes were allotted for public comment before they went behind closed doors to vote on budget reforms.

“The reform does not mean anything. Stop taking our money. We need money for our resources in our communities for housing, health care, education, mental health services, ”a resident said at the budget meeting.

On Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to approve the report’s recommendations. LAPD deputy chief Dominic Choi said those recommendations will still have to be requested and approved for next year’s budget.

The report is the culmination of recommendations made by several groups, including the LAPD, the Council of Police Commissioners and an advisory committee that has reviewed LAPD procedures. The board asked them to provide a detailed report on the recommendations “deemed appropriate” and their feasibility.

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition accused the LAPD of trying to push through tough budget reforms with little oversight. According to the coalition, the report was submitted late Friday afternoon, just one working day before Tuesday’s vote. This gave the community little time to comment on the proposal.

“This implementation plan includes several proposals that will increase police spending and damage that our communities continue to protest,” the letter said. “They are trying to use their violence last summer to earn $ 18.44 million in new permanent resources and spy powers.”

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