The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) joins the City of West Hollywood and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) West Hollywood Station to announce the release of the West Hollywood Justice Navigator Assessment, a data-driven analysis that identifies racial disparities in police interactions with the community. This assessment builds upon recent work to create more equitable policing systems in the City of West Hollywood and was born out of a continued partnership that began in 2021 when the LASD West Hollywood Station proactively joined CPE’s National Justice Database. The Station shared data with CPE in order to receive analyses intended to support community and law enforcement collaboration on data-informed efforts to enhance equity in public safety.
All assessments are housed within CPE’s Justice Navigator, an interactive digital platform that provides streamlined access to public safety analyses, policy insights, and community resources. The analysis is a step in a collaborative process between municipal leaders and community members in an effort to build and support more equitable public safety systems.
“Our partnership with the LASD West Hollywood Station and the City of West Hollywood has been productive,” said Sean Eldridge, Director of CPE Law Enforcement Initiatives. “Captain Bill Moulder and his staff have been transparent with their data, and enthusiastic about the public rollout of their results. They have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that the policies, procedures and culture of the West Hollywood Station help achieve equitable outcomes and centering the West Hollywood community in these developments. We look forward to joining the City of West Hollywood and West Hollywood Station in presenting this assessment to the public and discussing it with the community.”
“We are deeply appreciative of the work that CPE is doing to highlight racial disparities in interactions where they may exist,” said City of West Hollywood City Manager David Wilson. “The effort of examining such disparities builds upon decades of proactive work that the City of West Hollywood has led with the LASD West Hollywood Station to ensure that law enforcement in our community is effective, responsive, and connected to the city’s core value of respect and support for all people. West Hollywood has a small residential population that is outsized by an exceptionally diverse array of visitors. As we analyze this data, it is our hope that the city and the station can leverage this information to make a positive impact and that we can also look at additional ways to help us get a true picture about disparities. Our ultimate aim is to know about issues where they exist and to continue to work to address issues with solutions.”
West Hollywood Station Captain Bill Moulder states, “Working with the Center for Policing Equity has been a pleasure. The LASD West Hollywood Station is continually seeking to raise awareness and make improvements. The Station has a diverse workforce, and we engage in a range of training programs that help Sheriff’s personnel to gain understanding and connect with community. CPE data will help in our efforts to better serve our West Hollywood community.”
This analysis is the latest effort made by the LASD West Hollywood Station to build more equitable systems of safety and take a community-centered approach to public safety. These efforts include the 2018 launch of the Mental Evaluation Team (MET), an alternative policing response system that includes a specialized deputy and an LA County Department of Mental Health clinician, which diverts clients away from jail in the field and at booking counters countywide. The city also approved the exploration of ceasing or reducing low-level traffic stops in West Hollywood in the interest of increasing efficiencies in the police force and reducing any and all opportunities for biased policing.
LASD’s West Hollywood assessment is the result of a thorough analysis of the Station’s use of force data from 2017 – 2021, traffic and non-traffic stop data from July 1, 2018 – December 31, 2021, and calls for service and officer-initiated activity data from 2017 – 2021.
A few key findings from this assessment include:
Deputies used force against Black and Latinx people at disproportionate rates compared to their shares of the population. Black people made up 3.6% of the population of West Hollywood, but 28% of all use of force incidents. Latinx people made up 11% of the population, but 22% of all use of force incidents.
Deputies searched Black and Latinx drivers more often than White drivers, even though searches of drivers in each racial group resulted in similar rates of contraband being found. Black drivers were searched five times more often than White drivers, despite being found with contraband at about the same rate. Latinx drivers were searched three times more often than White drivers, even though they were less likely to be found with contraband.
Black and Latinx drivers were stopped more often than White drivers for vehicle integrity issues, like broken tail lights, or license/registration checks, while White drivers were stopped more often for moving violations. 63% of stops of Black of drivers and 55% of stops of Latinx drivers were equipment stops or license/registration checks—which are often unrelated to public safety or otherwise employed by officers to conduct speculative investigations— compared to 48% of stops of White drivers. 52% of stops of White drivers were recorded as moving violations, which pose immediate threats to public safety, compared to 36% of stops of Black drivers and 45% of stops of Latinx drivers.
Deputies stopped Black and Latinx pedestrians at disproportionate rates compared to their shares of the population. Black people made up 3.6% of the population of West Hollywood, but 33% of all pedestrians stopped. Latinx people made up 11% of the population, compared to 22% of all pedestrians stopped.
Only 13% of all recorded police activity involved reports of bodily harm, property harm or threats, including both officer-initiated activities and police responses to calls for service. More than 80% of calls for service that officers responded to were for requests related to public assistance, nuisances, traffic incidents, or medical/fire assistance. Some of these events may have been addressed by the department’s alternative or co-response teams, but findings suggest further opportunities for addressing public safety needs via community-centered response models.
Details on these findings and more information on the numerous existing programs within LASD and related initiatives intended to create better policing outcomes can be found in the Context Assessment section of the Justice Navigator Assessment.
CPE will present key findings from West Hollywood’s assessment and discuss areas for further exploration in a public event on August 14, 2023 at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time at the West Hollywood Public Park Meeting Room’s Council Chambers: 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, California, 90069. View the presentation event live: West Hollywood Justice Navigator Public Rollout.