A task force effort involving Westside law enforcement agencies made several arrests Saturday, July 28th, as part of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) overall strategy of cracking down on gang activity.
Fourteen alleged gang members were charged with various crimes, all on outstanding felony warrants.
Many of the alleged gang members who were arrested were in the Culver City and LAPD Pacific Station area, which served as the command post during the task force’s gang initiative.
More than 120 officers from various police departments participated in the campaign, which was a component of the Western Regional Gang Taskforce.
Members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and LAPD, Culver City, Santa Monica and Inglewood police departments participated in the gang sweep that concentrated on locations on the Westside.
With police escorts as backup, officials from the Los Angeles County parole and probation departments conducted surprise visits on suspects. Drug-sniffing canines and vehicle searches were also a part of the weekend law enforcement action.
“This is just one of many gang-related initiatives that has been enacted under Chief [William] Bratton to combat gang activity,” said Lt. Reuben De La Torre, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman. “Building partnerships with other law enforcement departments is a big part of this strategy, because gangs don’t recognize geographical boundaries.”
Sgt. Tim Walters, daytime watch commander at the Pacific Station, echoed De La Torre’s comments regarding the need to have a coordinated effort from law enforcement regarding gang activity.
“Because gangs don’t have territorial borders, we need to work hand in hand to combat gang crime,” said Walters.
The task force did not focus on specific suspects, according to Lt. James Markloff, gang interdiction coordinator for LAPD’s Western Bureau, which includes the Pacific Station. Markloff believes that the primary goal was a long-term reduction in gang-related crime and forging strong bonds with other police agencies, as opposed to a massive operation that generates scores of arrests.
“Our measure of effectiveness is not how many people were arrested,” he pointed out.
De La Torre concurs.
“You can’t measure the success or failure of a task force just by the numbers of arrests, because that’s just an arbitrary number,” he said. Like the others, the lieutenant believes that establishing deeper connections with neighboring law enforcement was one of the highlights of the operation.
“One thing that we think is very important is the development of partnerships that we have initiated with this operation, and we’re going to continue doing this in the future,” De La Torre said.
“It’s a reminder to both the public and the criminals that we are doing our best to make the area safe,” Sgt. Marc Reina of the Pacific Division told The Los Angeles Times.
De La Torre said that there will be similar unannounced operations in other locations in the future.