LOS ANGELES - City council leaders introduced a motion to replace LAPD officers with unarmed non-law enforcement agencies, but some people believe the measure doesn't push the needle far enough.
At protests across the country, there are calls to defund the police, and in Los Angeles, the "People's City Council" proposed the "People's Budget." The budget was created in April and gained momentum after George Floyd's death.
"We were pushing that battle and elected officials weren't really willing to have that conversation with us and then George Floyd being murdered and his spirit sparked the movement across the country, and we already laid the infrastructure for challenging them with the people's budget," said Ricci Sergienko, an organizer with the People's City Council.
The original People's Budget proposed only 5.72% of the city's budget to go towards policing and law enforcement, but Sergienko said Black Lives Matter LA conducted a survey with 24,000 people to come up with a new percentage of 1.6%.
"Out of 24,000 people, they think only 1.6 percent of the budget should go to the police. If Angelenos think 1.6 percent of the budget should go to law enforcement but right now 50 percent of the unrestricted general funds go to law enforcement, it doesn't really make sense," Sergienko said.
With 1.6%, FOX 11 asked Sergienko how LAPD would operate.
"Who knows? I mean we're actually trying to abolish the police and not have any police around anymore. We have had plenty of opportunities over decades of reform and it has just been proven that reform doesn't work. We need to scrap this entire system and rethink how we imagine public safety," he said.
However, FOX 11 also spoke with Hannu "TJ" Tarjamo.
Tarjamo has been an LAPD officer for more than two decades and is a full-time director at the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL). Tarjamo had a different response to how LAPD would operate pointing to concerns with response times.
"It [1.6% budget] would be equal to abolishing police departments. That would mean about anywhere between 10 to 20 police cars for the city serving over four million people," said Tarjamo.
Tarjamo said the department currently has 250 patrol cars on a "fully-staffed" day, not counting sick calls or vacation time. He said the department is smaller than other big cities.
"It would be very hard to find anyone who would want to be a police officer in that position. I don't think anyone would jeopardize their own safety. There would be no one to police, to provide safety and security, and no one to respond to the calls. We get hundreds of shootings, hundreds of homicides, hundreds of traffic accidents," he said.
Tarjamo also believes crime would increase with less officers.
"I'm afraid it would result in a period where the very worst of humanity would be displayed. To think that we're somehow going to dial back thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution and living in a utopian society, for that discussion to even take place, it's not rooted in reality, and it's very careless and reckless, and it would result in anarchy," said Tarjamo.
Sergienko does not see crime increasing with fewer officers.
"There's nothing statistically that can show that [crime increase]. There are plenty of studies that show when people's basic needs are met, crime goes down. The idea that crime would go up if the police were off the streets is ridiculous, and it's just rhetoric and narrative. There's nothing to back that up. The police are just afraid of losing their jobs, and they see the public opinion shifting, and they're trying to grasp at straws," said Sergienko.
Both sides believe officers should not have to respond to calls regarding mental health.
"People who are dealing with mental health issues or mental health circumstances, it doesn't help when a violent person with a gun who is a police officer shows up attempting to deal with that person," said Sergienko.
"We would love to share some of this burden. I think the city and the county and the state quite frankly have been getting a bargain with police officers becoming mental health clinicians which we're not. We have some marginal training and they expect us to take care of an issue that has nothing to do with policing so it's an interesting conversation to be had but I think they've gotten away with making us wear many different hats," said Tarjamo.
Tarjamo believes the money could be allocated from state taxes or federal funding to give more money to other public services instead of defunding the police.