Baker City, Oregon
February 8, 2007
Chief of Police
Los Angeles Police Department
I am writing to you concerning the gang problem in Los Angeles County and your continuing efforts to reduce the impact of gangs on the citizens of Los Angeles. I am a retired Chief of Police from a California city. I spent the first ten years of what has been a forty year career in public safety working the streets of south-central Los Angeles as a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (Firestone and Carson Stations).
There is no question that one of the reasons for the growth of gangs throughout the United States, and in Los Angeles in particular, is the influx of illegal immigrants this nation has experienced over the past thirty years. It is my opinion that your Department, in combination with the hard work of all law enforcement agencies in the region, will not truly be able to reduce gang problems unless and until our international border is secured.
Twenty five years ago, when I served as President of the San Diego County Police Chiefs & Sheriff’s Association I introduced a resolution to that group calling for a united effort in which each of our departments would, as the law allowed, detain suspected illegal immigrants for a reasonable period of time until Border Patrol agents could arrive and assume responsibility for the investigation. With the exception of one other chief’s vote the resolution was defeated overwhelmingly. That chief’s department and the one I headed were the only two to carry out the duties we were lawfully empowered to perform. The reason given by my fellow chiefs for not supporting enforcement was because “their cities had large Hispanic populations and it would not be politically acceptable”.
I have watched your career for a number of years, well before your time in Los Angeles. I would hope that you will not yield to political correctness on this important matter though I realize that in the environment in which you work that may be difficult. If the leader of one of the nation’s largest police departments were to take a firm and public stand that true progress in the war against gangs will not be made until our borders are secure you would be listened to. You and I both know the truth, and it is time that a respected law enforcement leader spoke the truth on this matter.
Had this issue been addressed 25-30 years ago, as it should have been, not only would the gang problem be less severe in Southern California but it would not have spread, as it has, into America’s heartland.
I urge you to address all causes of the gang problem including the root cause of unchecked illegal immigration.