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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Probation sweep underway across Highland Park

Police conducting parole compliance check across from Aldama Elementary/Anonymous

A team of police, probation officers and officials from other agencies are conducting surprise compliance checks on parolees this morning across the Highland Park area, with teams of heavily armed officers focusing on parolees who live near schools.  Parents who were dropping off their children at Aldama Elementary this morning reported seeing a heavily-armed group of officers conduct a compliance check at an apartment complex across the street from the Avenue 50 campus.

Capt. Jeffrey Bert of the Northeast Division said several parolees have already been arrested for allegedly violating parole conditions – including prohibitions on drug, alcohol and firearms – since the sweep of 50 locations began at about 5 a.m.  “We also target individuals  we think are involved in property crime and gang crime, and we pay them a visit.”

One Aldama parent who was dropping off her children at the school said she was concerned that children would be frightened and possibly be put at risk  by having the heavily-armed officers conduct the compliance check as school was getting underway.

“There were a lot of kids gathered out front because the gate was not open yet,” said another Aldama parent who was on hand when the police arrived.  “Principal Cordoba got the gate open quickly and earlier than usual given the situation. Perhaps a bit more common sense on when [police conduct a parole check] in front of the school would be good.”

But Bert said officers were following department policies. “We have to go in with our guns drawn,” he said.

Today’s sweeps, he said, are intended to increase the safety of children and schools by focusing on possible parole violators who live near the campuses.   The multi-agency sweep had been in the works for some time and was not in response to Tuesday’s fatal Highland Park shooting, Bert said.



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24 comments

  1. Hey Aldama parents, how about a big thanks to the LAPD for their work! THose officers put their lives on the line…..

    • Police need to do their job, and Aldama parents welcomed LAPD officers when they were deployed to schools recently as a proactive measure after the Connecticut police shootings. Today was different. If officers had come just one hour earlier or later we wouldn’t be talking about this. Could they have come at 6 AM? Or how about 8:30 AM? But at 7:30 Avenue 50 is jam-packed with kids and commuters. Police have bulletproof vests, elementary school kids don’t. This is just common sense.

  2. As a parent, the proactive work of our LAPD is much appreciated. The concern is the unfortunate timing and lack of communication to go with it. According to the article, they were focusing on parolees around schools. With that in mind, there should be some measures to protect the kids they knew would be there. There were hundreds of kids standing outside of the school with no where to go, waiting for the gate to open. One simple phone call to the principal would have enabled her to open the gates early and keep the kids out of potential danger.
    Fortunately everyone was safe, so thank you LAPD for keeping the situation under control and thank you to the parents with enough sense to notify the principal and thank you to the principal for always being available.

    • Your kid goes to school in Highland Park. Surely police presence and guns are not a mystery to him or her.

      • Nowhere in my statement did I indicate it’s a mystery. We’re talking about the safety of doing this while surrounded by hundreds of elementary school age children, without giving them anywhere to go.

        • Why were ‘hundreds of kids’ waiting outside of the campus before it officially opened? Are parents regularly just dumping kids there and hoping for the best until the school officially opens? Since the police were apparently rounding up vast numbers of felons on probation in the immediate vicinity, parents might want to examine why their kids are milling around the street. It might be an idea to work with the school to allow these kids on campus earlier. Maybe this exact time is the best time to find the felons at home to bust them for probation violations? Before we have a knee jerk reaction to getting upset at the cops, I really do think we should be grateful they are actually being proactive for once.

        • Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children???

  3. That explains the helicopter flying overhead (again).

  4. Heavily armed and guns drawn. Concern by parents is justified here; going in aggressively could result in an aggressive and violent reaction by somebody being searched. And doing all this near the school on a school day and during school hours is very risky and dangerous for all involved and in immediate surrounding area.

    Some coordination with the school would have been smart. Goes to show you that LAPD want’s to act aggressively without thinking about community safety. And before you say that they’re doing this to protect the community, which an argument i can understand, they still have to act responsibility when taking on such aggressive tactics themselves.

  5. Regardless of what today’s activities yield I would like to applaud the LAPD for being proactive on these vermin. They should be doing these raids, at least, once a week without warning. Guaranteed to keep the scum on their toes and force them to think twice before acting on their pea brained moronic instincts. Arrest them, throw em in jail, and let them find a new neighborhood to live once they get released.

  6. Yup, people are born with gang activity and criminal acts on the mind.

    Idiots.

  7. Northeast LA has always been an ignored area of Los Angeles. For one, they lack a sense of community identity. Surrounded by Eagle Rock, East LA, Atwater Village, and Glendale who each have a strong sense of identity and traditionally want nothing to with the area or allow it to join in identifying as part of theirs.

    There is a serious lack of community resources in the area. Very few social services are easily accessible by community members. People have to travel out to surrounding areas to receive proper health care, mental health services, access gyms, retail stores, green spaces, extra curricular activities that promote a healthy interaction with their community members. Very little money is invested into the area by local government agencies.

    Poverty is abundant in the area despite how fast the area is now changing. Parents,and extended adult family members who make the typical large families that live together in the area, have to work two or more jobs earning very little money to make ends meet. Thus not being able to provide enough attention to children and be as vigilant as a parent needs to be.

    Lack of patience from teachers, principals, school counselors. I’ve worked with elementary, middle and high school students in the area and have collaborated services with school faculty and administration. You would be surprised at how quickly they demonize their own students for simple mistakes or misunderstandings. So when they actually do something that warrants punishment they go even more over the top to make their point. However, there are some faculty members within the schools that do show the proper amount of patience and want to make a real difference instead of talking down to children and making them feel ashamed of making mistakes. But they are not given the proper respect by some of the children because they have already become resentful towards adults due to mistreatment, broken promises, harassment etc.

    LAPD in the area has also been a guilty party in losing these kids trust. Gang injunctions make it legal for police to stop any group of teens who may happen to be walking down the street in groups of 3 or more. So countless times, children who have no affiliation with crews or gangs have been stopped, handcuffed and publicly humiliated for doing nothing more than walking down the street with a group of friends. This also creates resentment and disdain for any authority figure.

    You’d be surprised at the lack awareness most of the children in the area have of what else is available to them in city. A lot of them have never been south of san fernando, west of eagle rock blvd, east of main st, and north of colorado blvd. So why how they can strive for more when they don’t know what more is out there?

    Overwhelmed by a culture of consumerism that they gain through television, music, blogs etc their only goal is to not be as poor as their parents or family have been. Driven by the dollar, failed by the education system and not aware of legitimate venues to make enough money to not only survive and move forward, they are drawn in by gangs who promise a quick buck, and lots of it, while also earning a sense of belonging and identity.

    Now, some of these gang members who lure in new gang members might be the epitome of evil. They might just hate to hate,for no other reason. But most, most are products of the same cycle. And know no other way.

    You can go ahead and dismiss everything I just said for whatever discriminatory reasons you already believe gang activity and violence occurs in impoverished and marginalized communities. I want things to end too, but you have to realize that the same aggressive tactics by law enforcement have utilized for what now over 30 years? And lo and behold gangs still exist. Maybe it’s time to revisit those tactics and come up with some new community intervention and prevention plans.

    • El Dandy, I think you posted a really thoughtful discussion of the area we live in with a lot of excellent points. In the end though, I think these problems come down to parenting. A lot of mistakes poor parents make cannot be avoided because of their poverty – like you said. I do have compassion for the working poor and the kids in our area. On the other hand, I’ve had my car keyed, garage tagged, mail stolen and rifled through, and everything else up to being personally assaulted or mugged (I have my 90 lb dog to thank for that, I’m sure). So in the end, my heart only bleeds so much when the next victim of this cycle could be me. It may be lip service, but at least the cops pretend to be engaged and committed to the area. If some innocent kids get profiled, is that the price we pay for living amongst this gang warfare? You bring up a lot of valid points, I wish there was an easy answer.

      • Discrimination and harassment should never be acceptable collateral damage to community improvement; especially since it’ll just help the cycle continue.

        Everyone does not have to have a bleeding heart for this situation. I just don’t want people thinking that it is the nature of all human beings involved to wreck havoc and commit crimes.

        And in a way I am glad there is no easy answer. It opens the possibility of having a proper and polite discourse regarding the matter which would hopefully force people to think outside of the box when it comes to solutions. Our tax dollars are gonna be spent on preventing violence in our community from happening one way or another; so do you want it to only be spent on arming LAPD to the gills with high powered weapons and vehicles or would want some of that money to also go into educations, after school programs, parks, libraries, arts and social services that could help end this as well?

        There is no quick fix either. Patience, critical thinking and problem solving are key here. No knee jerk reactions, high powered guns and eviction notices.

        • How about personal responsibility? Parents and family? The generational aspect of this has to be addressed as well. Families tolerate and embrace gang culture. So how do the after school programs stand a chance? Kids know right from wrong, people have free will.

      • You are wrong about “no easy answer”. The answer is to tell people to stop crapping out kids they can not support emotionally nor financially.

        The doctrine that bleeds into so many cultures through religion of “god will provide” needs to stop. It is not “god” who is providing, it is everyone of us tax payers…

        Too much welfare in this country not enough GRIT.

        • Chuck, I agree with what you are saying – as Michael Jackson said, if you can’t feed the baby, then don’t have the baby :-) Unfortunately, you can’t just legislate that people stop having children. A lot of people hope their children will succeed and raise them out of poverty. Others on assistance see the benefit of having more children.

          I don’t really see it as discrimination. The vast majority of the kids in our area are Latino, as are most of the cops. Innocent groups of kids should not be profiled… but when you have elements of gang culture seep into the popular culture, it’s hard to tell who is in the gangs and who is not.

          We don’t need to live in a police state, but in our current state, people are victimized twice – once by the perpetrators of crimes and secondly by the system, which is overtaxed to pay attention to the crimes and also hogtied by the politically correct mindset of LA that wants to excuse away these crimes because of the circumstances of the perpetrator’s home lives.

          You can throw a lot of money at a problem and not see returns if the underlying structural issues of family and education are not addressed. Northwest Pasadena has been dangerous for generations even though the city pumps tons of resources into the area. In the end, it is the residents of an area who have to achieve critical mass to improve an area.

          Northeast LA is a beautiful area rich with potential for all types of people. But if the cops make it unpleasant for criminals to live here, I support that.

    • El Dandy, before you criticize what you term a “lack of patience from teachers, principals, (and) school counselors,” and before you accuse teachers of “demoniz(ing) their own students for simple mistakes or misunderstandings” and indirectly blame us for gangs, parolees, and all manner of societal ills, I think you would benefit from observing some classes in session, or better yet, working as a substitute teacher or T.A. in Northeast Los Angeles for a year. I think such an experience would give you a bit of perspective, and perhaps you’d empathize with teachers more than you seem to. (Incidentally, I’d invite you to observe my classes, but I’m leaving full-time teaching at the end of this school year.)

  8. Eastsidearts- Personal responsibility is key and important. Those are values that can be learned at home if there is a proper role model present. Big if, unfortunately, in this community. Parenting is a key component as well. People do have free will but that does not mean that children understand they have options when all they see around them is people taking the same path right?

    Keyless Chuck- Religion is an issue. Having children that they can’t afford is also an issue. Maybe if there wasn’t always such a huge uproar when schools try to give some realistic and direct sexual education things might slowly change. Those sex ed classes have to be attended by both parents and children, however, since most of the misunderstandings of sexuality and sex start at home.

    Kyle Watson-both parties being predominately of the same ethnic background does not dismiss the actuality of discrimination. LAPD discriminatory and racist tactics are policy and a form of structured inequality. Police Officers in metropolitan cities with large ethnic populations are taught to seek out people of color as suspicious individuals. It is embedded in their training. Now, I am pretty certain that their handbooks don’t straight up say “Look out for African America, Latinos, Middle Eastern, etc” but they way potential suspects are described in lectures and verbal briefings are consistent physical traits and normal activities of people of color. What resources have you seen pumped into the area, as you describe it, over these generations? Cuz all I saw during my time in the area was that fountain on the corner by the Home Depot Center.

    James-You took that very personally. Respectfully, I ask that you search yourself and your actions as a teacher. Because your defensiveness makes me wonder, possibly incorrectly, if you’ve committed some act as a teacher that you are not proud of. I appreciate your advice, it is sound and correct. I have sat in during classroom sessions, I have sat in as an advocate during meetings with Dean of Students, during meetings with Principals, during meetings with school counselors and school social workers, and during IEP meetings. My statements aren’t being pulled from thin air. My statements are pulled from my experiences and the experiences of the co-workers during my time in the Northeast, from other case managers and service providers who have worked with school staff and youth for years upon years and from listening my friends who are teachers talk about their own students. Teachers aren’t a problem. They are are there to help, they are there to educate and to listen. The way they might respond to, handle a difficult situation, or merely address a student can be a problem. Just like the gang members who harass the community, teachers have their own set of reasons that they may not do so well with difficult students. Lack of proper training, overcrowding, burn out, and of course difficult students are all factors in the situation. I apologize if you think I’m blaming solely you and your coworkers. Because I’m not blaming anybody. It’s just what I have observed and identify as a factor in the situation at hand.

    I myself during my time with these youth made mistakes in the way I spoke to some or handled difficult situations. I know how the wrong action, the wrong response, the wrong body language can cause a child to become distant and lose trust in you. It is not a good feeling when that happens. I’m just bringing this up so somebody can learn from these mistakes.

    When Drew Street was “cleared” of the Avenues everyone thought the day of gangs in the area had ended. But they’re still here. So maybe its time to reach out to the adults in the community moreso than the youth. Parenting classes, job training, job placement programs, beautification programs, affordable housing, affordable health care, less overcrowding in schools, community discussions. Not the only available solutions but things that should not be quickly dismissed in favor of more arrests and convictions. $100,000 a year per prisoner. You really want to be paying for that? Really?

    • El Dandy, the only act that I’ve committed as a teacher that I’m not proud of is staying in a system in which my efforts, and those of my peers, are denigrated by the community at large. I’ve worked as an inner-city teacher for fifteen years, and I’m sorry, but if you haven’t taught and managed a classroom yourself, you simply don’t have the same credibiity – in my eyes – as a veteran teacher when it comes to discussing the educational system.

      Teachers can have a great influence over our students, but when kids hit junior high, it seems that parents and peers trump teachers every time. Every time. If parents don’t prioritize education, then my best efforts are doomed, no matter how empathetic, patient, and enlightened I try to be. I am willing to admit that I don’t know how to solve all of our city’s social ills, and I guess that your posts irritate me because you seem to feel that you possess all of the answers. Sometimes a bit of humility … wait for it … would be dandy. (Sorry; that was kinda weak, I know.)

  9. So only people who have managed and taught a classroom can discuss our educational system and practices? Got it. Tell me again, how should I be humble?

  10. Let’s stick to comments about the smack down. Good work, LAPD. Do it more often.

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