Public safety issues are always at the top of the list when we think about city priorities. But, I am sure many people do not know that the City Council has a Public Safety Committee designed to study trends in public safety, opportunities for improvement, and challenges.
So, in an effort to improve outreach to residents, the committee will be holding meetings away from City Hall throughout the city.
During my time chairing the Public Safety Committee, we have received a number of presentations and reports on citywide issues including gang violence, gun violence, Police and Fire budget priorities, fireworks education and enforcement efforts, diversion programs, and many other trends and efforts associated with the topic of safety. Through the work of the committee, the input of the residents, and the data highlighted by our Long Beach Police and Fire Department officials, the City Council has been able to support additional funding for residential burglary detail, discretionary funding for the Police Chief to allocate to areas with a particular crime trend or need, and many other endeavors designed to increase safety and provide better access to public safety resources.
The committee's work also has resulted in legislation involving homelessness, bike theft, youth outreach programs and many other enforcement and education opportunities. With the passage of Measure A, the city also has been able to add more police and fire services, which is definitely something that is a priority to the residents and city officials. All of these topics are important for residents to be involved in.
Public Safety Committee meetings have historically been held at City Hall during a weekday afternoon. Over the past three years, we have been told by many residents that the location and time of these meetings creates difficulty for many Long Beach residents to attend. This reality has been compounded by the current construction at City Hall. That led to the Public Safety Committee’s decision to hold meetings in different communities and at times that are easier for residents to attend. Whenever we have held council meetings and limited committee meetings at off-site locations throughout the city, we have seen new faces and heard different perspectives, which is what we are hoping for at this upcoming meeting as well.
So, please join us at 6 p.m. this evening, Thursday, July 13. for our July meeting at the Fire Department Training Center at 2249 Argonne Ave. Classroom #2. Hopefully, this will be the first of several off-site meetings.
I want to ensure that the committee provides better outreach to Long Beach residents and an easier forum for them to be informed and provide their input by taking the conversation to the community. This meeting's topics will include a report on Long Beach Police Department's Quality of Life Officers, tracking for misdemeanor arrests, an update on the city’s efforts to limit fireworks, and the feasibility of reinstating the Safe Ride Program to encourage young people to avoid taking rides with potentially drunk drivers. I have seen that scenario result in a tragic ending on many occasions.
I hope you can come and be a part of these important conversations.
Suzie Price is the Third District City Council representative.