Friday, January 8, 2021

"Inside the Santa Monica Police Department’s Botched Response to May’s Looting Spree"

Los Angeles Magazine article from November:

The reality, though, may have been even worse than the public perception. 


An inexperienced top brass did not arrange for street closures, or have community service vehicles ready to block freeway exits, or use city buses to close off major thoroughfares— all tactics Santa Monica police have had ready to deploy in the past. For much of the day they knew less about what was going on than the public, because the drone they typically use to provide aerial intelligence was not working and the main command post they set up in a bus depot, unlike their headquarters just a couple of blocks away, had spotty internet service and no televisions on which to follow the wall-to-wall media coverage.


The mayhem should have been foreseeable, because other parts of the region had experienced similar attacks on shops and businesses over the previous two nights, alongside the large public gatherings to demand justice for George Floyd. Some journalists who had been tracking social media came to Santa Monica in anticipation of just such a turn of events. But the chief was out of town most of the week to attend her daughter’s high school graduation in northern California and did not return until the morning of May 31. Of her four captains, only one had been in the job for more than a few months.


Many of those officers, however, live more than an hour’s drive away—in places like Palmdale and Thousand Oaks