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LA County Sheriff ‘milquetoast’ on murder in Compton

Sheriff’s Dept. ‘milquetoast in the saddle’; murder count this year, 19, from February through July 9 At one point in 2015, crime and the murder rate appeared to be on the decline in Compton.  Longtime residents

Sheriff’s Dept. ‘milquetoast in the saddle’; murder count this year, 19, from February through July 9

At one point in 2015, crime and the murder rate appeared to be on the decline in Compton.  Longtime residents were reticent to jump in jubilation because they knew better. They’d seen the crime figures dip, only to spike time, and again.

In 2016 they were again hopeful for a carryover from a moderately peaceful 2015, but they kept their fingers crossed. Sadly, however, the first six months of the year have seen a radical reversible. The murder rate through July is screaming loud like a vulture over a dead carcass.

There have been 19 homicides to date. And not one has been solved. No one has been implicated in the bloodletting. No, not one! Not even in 1-year-old Autumn Johnson’s killing.

Naturally, citizens of Compton want to know why the sheriff’s department has been so ineffective, so milquetoast in the face of the criminal element, here.

Compton is not a sprawling metropolis; in fact, the city is not very big, at all — just 10 square miles and a mite under 100,000 residents, dripping wet.

The City has been smeared by an image of wanton violence since the mid-70s when street gangs spiraled in conflict and gangsta rap famously egged it on. Forty-one years later in Summer 2016, the carnage is nearly at an all-time high. Only two days ago on July 9, two people were hit by gunfire on the same day; one fatally; the other a close call. The victim, a woman was struck several times but lived to talk about it. A toddler, age one, was unharmed in the back seat.

People can bristle about what others say about Compton, regarding the stereotyping and malign of the community, but … it’s the truth. After dark, it’s sheer lunacy to walk the streets. There’s a war zone here akin to Chicago, Mogadishu, the West Bank.

The city pays the sheriff’s department millions for contract patrol services and depends on them to safeguard the citizens of Compton. They clearly flunked — a dismal failure to interdict the criminal element.Over the past 11 months, the department hasn’t solved one open criminal case.

Between February and July 9 this year, 19 murders have occurred — all Black and Latino males. Extending back to August 13, 2015 — nearly one year —25 murders were sent to the L.A. County Coroner.

Again, where is the long arm of the law — namely the L.A. County sheriff Department?

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

  • Michael Hill July 13, 2016

    Interesting insight, Robert. Who’s the current commander of the Compton Station, I mean, what’s his background in leading a station like ours? Secondly, it would be informative to know the background and skills of homicide investigators, compared to the periods when our homicide rate was much lower. I see a correlation, possibly, in leadership and coordination of manpower. I know we pay for the air unit, and canine officers, patrol personnel, but I just don’t know how it all is supposed to come together. I’d heard that once, they’d mapped, by air, the city and for some reason, believed that was going to aid them in developing a ground strategy. But with the numbers starting to increase and random incidents occurring as of late, one does have to wonder if Paramount, Carson or Gardena, let alone LAPD to the north of our city, have a better deployment strategy in practice than we do. Ernest questions now. not that I’d assume the former Compton P.D. did a better job at intervals years and years ago. Hard to recall, actually. So how does it get addressed and a lot of it has to do with knowing the key players, those shot callers who help orchestrate our criminal element, even if that’s possible. Seems strategy involves analysis of the types of crimes encountered and having public trust to assist investigators in aggressively attempting to put a cap on related or random incidents. Some of our old gang units did have access to known players in the past, somewhat, and often could defuse retaliatory actions by knowing who’s who and interdicting some issues before they went off the rails. But today’s generation of criminal element is a strange creature to most of us, it seems. When we lost some of our more experienced investigative minds, we lost a lot, it seems. When the Sheriffs first arrived, a lot of the street CI’s just didn’t trust them and we lost ground gained over the years. Had to start all over, due to politics and changing LE agencies, which is never an easy task. If you listen to some of our ex-officers, like Brennan and Ladd (ComptonPoiliceGangs dot com) you gain some insight, somewhat, on how they did what they were able to do. They even went to Las vegas authorities when Tupac Shakure was shot and killed, and knew who the key players were at that time, A long time ago, of course, but the strategies were worth listening to, before the rug was pulled out from their operations and the new faces appeared. The timing was sort of lousy, IMO, and we just haven’t been the same since, it seems. I believe in playing with the hand you’re dealt, but sometimes, when I get a chance to, I like to engage some of our deputies in conversation since they know the terrain by now. We’ve got some fine LEO’s and professionals on our streets, at least in my neighborhood, that’s how I assess the one’s I meet. But the support staff, inside the station I really don’t know that much about, really. I don’t really have a good sense on how they do their work when investigating an occurrence and would like to really know more about how they operate, overall. I think the problems may be found somewhere there, perhaps, but I’m no expert. Just a law abiding guy who wants better things for our city, for everyone. Does the rank and file like their current leadership? I think so, according to those I listen to and ask questions of. If the public felt as if their tips wouldn’t expose them to harm, maybe more residents would come forward to offer key information to assist in investigating and arresting, successfully prosecuting those who wreak mayhem on our streets at the present time. I know graffiti is like a message in most neighborhoods I drive through and I’ve become pretty expert at reading some of it, I think. One issue, I can really speak on at present is our lack of adequate street lighting. On medians, we have nearly 50 foot poles upon which the last Mayor and City Manager, can’t recall which one, since we’ve had so many in rapid succession lately, didn’t know that lights meant for 20 or 30 foot poles cast little light effectively on streets and avenues. Then there’s the area known as Rosewood, while not a part of Compton, has insufficient lighting along the Rosecrans corridor and the spacing of lights on most streets hasn’t been properly installed, so there are many gaps on some streets and side streets. Let’s start there, maybe, and try to work our way upwards. Covering some tagged walls with growing vines doesn’t seem impossible, I see it in many other areas, so gang members don’t find a blank canvas upon which to spray paint messages to rival gangs anymore. Cost is a lot less than our budget for paint, which I’m sure is not cheap each time they have to cover up tagging. But I think it’s a start in the right direction because criminals don’t like bright lights. They want to do their evil deeds in as little light as they can find. Here, we have plenty. Long Beach Boulevard, for instance, has trees that often block the light we sorely need to keep elements off the streets where law enforcement has the advantage of good visibility on their side. Side streets too, have many burned out lights, due to the poor quality of lighting unit Edison installed on poles. The leadership wanted graffiti proof paint on the new poles recently installed around the city. That’s nice, but what about the lighting units that arc over streets. I have at least four, now that have gone out, and it seems I’m the only resident in the area who stopped calling the city’s public works department to report them. I found that going on Edison’s website, I’m able to see them get fixed within a week if not sooner, giving them the pole number and location through Edison’s portal. That’s how I found out that workers are aware of the issue of their ballasts going wonky and lights go out because of it. Sort of like a bad game of whack-a-mole, some of them. They fix them and within weeks, out they go again. I sense in some areas, no one is reporting them to Edison. Some get vandalized, but not all. Seems so simple, but takes an eternity to get anyone to even listen, it seems. If you call the city, no one will even enter the information onto Edison’s website and if you call back, they’ll ask for the incident number to no avail. So I just decided to contact them myself and it worked. They have an app for iOS and Andriod too, so anyone could download it and use it to report lights that are not working. Two suggestions, so simple, I’d think, but never implemented. So I wait…and wait. Alleyways that need cleanup too, in some areas where the criminal element love to hang out at night, some of them. But that’s getting off the topic. lighting and superior lighting to what we now have, I feel, is a great place to start. Who’s going to do anything about it? I don’t have a clue. Oh, and that antiquated auto answering phone butler at city hall, is so hard to navigate, most probably give up, though the city’s website has direct numbers, yet many of our seniors may not have web access of skill to navigate through a menu so poorly designed…let’s just say Walmart does a much better job of web design than the company the city paid to redo theirs. At least the webhost is no longer ATT on an old Pacbell server in San Francisco, I found out, after contacting second tier technical support about a year back due to the Sendio Spam filter not being properly configured to handle DNS (Doman Name Server) resolution when you type in the URL, comptoncity dot org in browsers. They still haven’t resolved the issue so you have to type “http://wwwcomptoncity dot org ( I’m typing dot org so as not to activate a link in this post, BTW) I spoke, not to long ago to Mr. Francis of the IT department about it and to this day no follow up. I think he sort of resent anyone trying to advise, though I did, once, play back a voice mail message I’d gotten from ATT’s tech support person, in his office. Seems to no avail. People could really use the city’s portal if Sendio didn’t pop up and block access as it does. I know this is long, but I’ve been watching and wondering about this city for some time now. Wondering when simple things will get done. At least I had the pleasure of watching one of the public works’ street crew, finally putting asphalt in some of the potholes on my block, recently. I guess that’s something, huh? I really don’t understand what’s going on in the city at times. But I applaud each one of our street and parks and recreation staff who are out there on the front lines. I even assisted a worker and his one partner, picking up some dumped debris at a nearby park one day. I’m always asking them questions about this and that, just to satisfy my own curiosity a bit. Wondering when will things change, overall, for the better in this city I really love. Shopping and special events aside, we’re all just average people trying to get by. To get through the day. If we feel safer, then we need to do a few key things to start things in the right direction. Like improving the lighting and getting better technology that’s far brighter and more reliable installed, the sooner the better for all of us. Let us start at square one and work our way along the path to safer streets. Criminals hate good lighting, because the police will see them and what they’re up to better. As will we, the residents of this good city. No, I’m not running for anything. I’m just a guy, trying to speak for my neighbors and friends here. Nothing more. Though I wanted to get a shovel the other day and help put fresh asphalt on my street, just to help. We all can do our part, at least by telling a city worker how much we appreciate their hard work on our behalves. Same for law enforcement, who, in light of recent events, seem to do a very difficult job, quite dangerous job, better than you or I could ever do ourselves. If we get the right team of seasoned investigative talent on board. bonus. If we have too many unsolved criminal acts, something’s quite wrong. And no more pretty speeches with meaningless, but nice words being said. It has no effect, really. A real plan of action to try to prevent things from happening would be a much more effective approach. It’s done in other cities, isn’t it? So why not here? Solve the puzzle quickly if possible and let criminals know that Compton’s not the place for them. I sound simplistic, maybe to some. But if Elon Musk can successfully land a first stage on a barge in the middle of an ocean. Then we can find solution scenarios that actually work too. The question is, why are other communities finding peace and we’re sitting here dark as night, when the first thing on the list should be lighting up our city. Then everything else, might fall into place, as it should. Small city, modest budget, grant funding galore out there, to help, Federal programs and money, but if we waste funding on whims and events meant to mesmerize and entertain residents, aren’t you no more than a glorified event planner? Not a committed leadership trying to make things truly better and safer for all of us? What say you? Me, I’m just a guy, watching anxiously for someone to do the right thing, for once. Been waiting for an awful long time. Still waiting. Egos serve themselves. Nothing wrong with basic ego, but some of them around here, lately, seem so distant at times. Makes me sad too. Could have been far better, but I’m no expert, I guess. Never was, I suppose. No degree, just experienced in being human. Desiring safety for everyone. Is that wrong?

  • Mr Wright July 12, 2016

    U can’t rob Peter to pay paul. And if we paid for 79 officers with two shifts only two 12 hour shifts we have more than enough to patrol 10 square miles 100 is a over kill and waste of funds. Prove to us that your worth extra by solving crimes. If I was petty I can show u photos of areas where black and white patrol cars hide and it’s sometimes 4 and 6 deputies just hanging out for hours. So don’t tell me we need more.

  • Robert Ray July 12, 2016

    Some of this blame must be put on the Compton City Council. The first priority of any City Council is to insure the safety of it’s citizens. It is obvious that Compton’s City Council has failed to do this. When discussing the budget, and in particular the cost for the Sheriff’s contract, City Manager Roger Haley stated he would “negotiate” for a lower cost. The only way to lower the cost would be to reduce personnel, and/or services, or both. As it is now there are only 79 deputies being paid to patrol the streets of Compton, where there should be no less than 100, and preferable 135. (This is a National standard figure considering the size, population, and problems of Compton) I have been advocating for years, even while a volunteer with LASD Compton Station, that we need more deputies on the streets so they can do “Community Policing”, which in my opinion, would allow deputies to be ‘proactive’ instead of ‘reactive’ to criminal activity. Yes, the protection of our citizens is expensive, but the ‘city’ needs to find a way to pay for it.

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