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UPDATE: Rape Kits Backlog

In an orgy of self-congratulations and abdication of responsibility, City Council members agreed Wednesday that the LAPD’s crime lab needs more money to eliminate over the next 30 months the 7,000 backlog of rape kits that have gone untested for DNA for years.

Council members, without even a hint of shame, acted as if they had not ignored the problem and endless warnings for years even as they admitted that an up-to-date crime lab is a  necessity, a basic service, to protect the public.

No sooner had the hour-long discussion of how they are all committed to contracting with outside labs in the short-term and hiring 10 criminalists every six months than officials of Emergency Management Department stepped forward and said they were ill-prepared for the city’s frequent disasters whether its fires, floods, earthquakes or train wrecks.

They said they desperately need three of the seven positions they have been asking for filled to begin to deal with their inability to provide this basic service.

Again, it’s about basic services that aren’t being met even as revenues soared. Now the city faces a massive deficit.

I invite you to respond in comments or email me at ron@ronkayela.com with your examples of basic services that are not being delivered.

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4 Responses to UPDATE: Rape Kits Backlog

  1. spiffy says:

    I agree with you Ron. I do not understand why the City of L.A. has a listening deficit.
    Perhaps it is because it’s such a crowded place? Maybe it’s because everyone is stressed and don’t feel they have time to listen?
    Whatever the cause it seems like it takes someone getting on the evening news, like Laura Chick did, before any changes take place.
    Is this town so shaped and dominated by show biz and the power of the screen and the soundbite that that is the ONLY way people can hear?
    That is tragic, but I fear it is the truth. If a citizen writes a letter, it might get read. If they make a phone call, maybe they will be heard, but the real key to getting anything done in L.A. is to get on the big TV box.
    Now if we could only get the rapists to be on the TV box THEN we could get some justice. What’s that old joke about television?
    “But is has to be true—I saw it on TV!”
    Perhaps that is the only way half the people living here can see the truth? We must dress it up nice and put it on the TV.

  2. Kristin Sabo says:

    Ron — regarding City services and emergency preparedness…
    OK, how’s this?
    In a citywide emergency, all the different departments and agencies have specific roles. For Recreation and Parks, their role is as the agency responsible for sheltering all who need shelter. In a major emergency, this could be hundreds of thousands of people, or more. Having Rec and Parks do the sheltering in LA makes sense because they have facilities all over the City…. no problem there.
    Shelters become mini communities in an emergency and need authority figures including law enforcement to function as communities. LA City Park Rangers are THE law enforcement for all shelters. They’re fully POST-certified peace officers and are part of Rec and Parks, so this is also appropriate and makes sense.
    Here’s the thing: there are currently just 20 Park Rangers for all of Los Angeles. JUST 20. Not nearly enough to handle the law enforcement in City shelter situations.
    Why are there only 20 Park Rangers?
    1. No funding.
    (Why isn’t Homeland Security $ available if Rangers serve this absolutely vital purpose? ….hello??!?)
    2. Underpaid by a significant amount compared to other officers in LA with the exact same training.
    (The answer is NOT to reduce the training because Park Rangers need to be peace officers. The answer is to have pay parity.)
    3. Rec and Park’s hiring process is suspiciously slow with respect to Park Rangers.
    (Good candidates give up waiting and take jobs with other agencies by the time RAP makes them an offer.)
    So hey – Rec and Parks might have the facilities for enough shelters in a major emergency. Just don’t look for them to be actually safe. And I won’t even go into the current lack of Ranger services in City parks right now. It’s sad, but hasn’t been seriously life-threatening as far as I know… YET.

  3. EvilPoet says:

    I suppose it could be worse. The victims could have been billed for the kits. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/22/cnn-covers-palin-rape-kit_n_128424.html

  4. Sandy Sand says:

    Nothing has changed.
    In the 20 some years since I covered the police and fire beats for the San Fernando Valley Chronicle it’s as if the clock never moved.
    Back then, cops and firefighters told me — off the record — in the event of an earthquake you will be on you own.
    Be prepared to see your house burn down.
    Be prepared to fend for yourself for up to two weeks.
    Buy a shotgun and birdshot, a tent, Coleman stove, first aid supplies and have a supply of food and water on hand — you will be on your own keeper.
    So for all the earthquake drills, they haven’t progressed one inch in being able to serve the citizens in the event of the “big one.”
    They’re fine if whatever disaster is confined to a small ares, but if most of the city is involved…Well you fill in the blank.

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