Q: I sometimes see multiple police officers dealing with only one person. Is that necessary? Do you really need more than one officer to deal with one person?
A: Excellent observation and thank you for the question! The Santa Monica Police Department boasts an eclectic force of community safety experts and our job is exactly that; to keep you and the community safe. That being said, outside of being professional, respectful, and maintaining integrity, we have to provide safety for ourselves before we can provide safety for others.
There are a number of possible reasons why multiple officers may respond to a single person. Perhaps that person just demonstrated an act of violence by assaulting one or many people. Or, one of the officers may have just arrived to translate, to provide intelligence, were in the middle of a large investigation, or were just there to assist in a variety of ways at the request of the first responding officer. If a violent person or suspected violent person is not dealt with appropriately, it’s possible they might pose a threat of violence to our community.
We take great care to ensure the safety of our officers and community. All too often officers are assaulted, injured or killed. Just a few nights ago, one of our officers was assaulted while conducting a bicycle stop of a “Parolee at Large” even while she had a backup officer present. About a year ago, a lone SMPD officer stopped a car with two occupants. Two separate officers arrived to provide assistance to the lone officer, when the passenger of the vehicle suddenly exited and began firing a pistol and shot one of the officers. So, as you can see, different situations require different expertise and, at times, more than one officer or law enforcement personnel. There are many factors that determine why we need more than one officer on any stop, call or incident. Just remember, the number one reason is for the ultimate safety of our community.
Q: I’ve been teaching my sons about street safety, more specifically, pedestrian safety. Could you provide me with some tips?
A: In some cities it’s that time of the year where a lot of vehicles are on the road as many people are out enjoying the weather. Well, here in Santa Monica, fortunately, it’s that time of the year just about all year long. Here are some quick pedestrian safety tips that you can share with your sons:
• Always cross at intersections. Crossing mid-block is unsafe; never cross from between two parked cars because drivers can’t see you and definitely are not expecting you.
• Stop, look and listen before crossing. As when you were a child, look right and left over your shoulder before crossing; look for cars and bicycles.
• Make eye contact with drivers. Don’t step out into the street until the cars have yielded.
• Allow vehicles enough time to stop. Don’t try to assert your right of way with a fast-moving vehicle.
• When crossing at a signal-controlled intersection, cross only on a green light or when the “walk” sign is activated; the walk sign may change, but the light is timed to give you enough time to continue on safely before opposing traffic approaches.
• Be visible and predictable. Always cross in a straight line, the shortest distance between two points. Use extra care when crossing with children. Remember, drivers may not see a little one. Hold their hand while crossing.
• Be a defensive walker. Always watch where you are going and expect the unexpected.
This column was prepared by NRO Robert Lucio (Beat 6: Montana Avenue to Interstate 10, 20th Street to Centinela Avenue). He can be reached at (424) 200-0686 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Send questions to email@example.com.