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A top Los Angeles City Council member announced that local lawmakers have approved the “first step” in a plan to replace police with unarmed first responders to handle nonviolent service calls Tuesday.
“This is the dawn of a new era of public safety in Los Angeles,” Councilman Herb Wesson Jr. wrote on Twitter.
In a series of tweets, he argued that the current state of the Los Angeles Police Department “is not working” and that a month of protests against police violence “made that crystal clear.”
“We have a responsibility to listen to our people, and our people have spoken,” he wrote.
Wesson, LA’s first black City Council president, and fellow council member Nury Martinez, the current council president, introduced the motion on June 16 amid calls to defund and reform police departments around the country, Fox 11 Los Angeles reported.
A special committee on police reform voted to move the motion for the full council’s consideration last week.
“This won’t solve all of our problems right away,” Wesson wrote. “But this move marks a sea change in our city’s approach to public safety and I’m optimistic cities and counties across the nation will follow our lead.”
The plan to send unarmed first responders to answer nonviolent calls is one of several ideas for police reform in the city, the Los Angeles Times reported. Others would expand the police department’s use of body cameras, make it a crime to falsely call 911 based on racial bias and to review the LAPD’s response to recent protests.
LA has also already voted to slash $150 million from the police department’s annual budget.
Separately, Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai has proposed cutting tens of millions of dollars from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Last week, the FBI announced federal racketeering and corruption charges against LA City Councilman Jose Huizar.