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LAPD Bars Use of Unauthorized Facial Recognition Platforms

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Police Department has barred officers and detectives from using outside facial recognition platforms in their investigations after uncovering a handful of detectives had used a powerful commercial software platform known as Clearview AI without permission, it was reported today. In a Nov. 13 directive sent to the entire agency, Deputy Chief John McMahon, who heads the LAPD's information technology bureau, noted that the only facial recognition system that LAPD officers are authorized to use is provided through the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System, which is maintained...

LA County Board of Supervisors to Reconsider Options to Remove Sheriff

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set today to vote on whether to look at options for removing elected Sheriff Alex Villanueva as the county's top lawman, rather than waiting to see if voters will do so in 2022. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Sheila Kuehl co-authored a motion -- first presented to the board two weeks ago -- recommending that the county direct its lawyers, inspector general, civilian oversight commissioners and acting CEO to look at possible avenues for...

Measure J’s ‘Care First’ Public Safety Plan Likely to Pass

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - County voters appeared today to have passed a charter amendment requiring that a minimum of 10% of the county's unrestricted general funds be spent on housing, mental health treatment, jail diversion programs and other alternatives to incarceration. With initial vote-counting from Tuesday's election complete, Measure J had the support of 57% of voters. An unknown number of ballots still remain to be tallied, and mail-in ballots can still be counted if they're received as late as Nov. 20, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

LA Council Votes to Create Pilot Program of Unarmed Mental Health Responders

By Eric Heinz, City News Service LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted today to create a pilot program to divert nonviolent emergency calls involving mental health issues from police officers to unarmed professionals. The city will now seek to partner with a nonprofit organization to implement the pilot program, and will receive recommendations from relevant departments on creating a set of city employees responsible for responding to nonviolent calls for service currently handled by police officers. "I believe that our actions go a...

LA County Considers Hiring Non-Sworn Force to Patrol Parks

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to reconsider how to ensure safety in county parks following Sheriff Alex Villanueva's announcement that he will close the department's Parks Bureau, provoking the sheriff to accuse the board of "defunding" the LASD. However, according to county lawyers, Villanueva may have "defunded" his own department, because closing the bureau will free up the roughly $24 million allocated to that group that could now be used to hire a third-party contractor. Supervisor...

Report: Critical Change Made in Dealing With Mentally Ill Offenders

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A report released today found that meaningful systemic reform has been made in the way police, prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system interact with people with mental illness in Los Angeles County. The report from the Criminal Justice Mental Health Advisory Board, established by District Attorney Jackie Lacey in 2015, concludes that "critical long-term change" has been made in the past five years that "has far surpassed the board's initial expectations." "By working together, we have realized significant change within our criminal justice system," Lacey...