When I joined the LAPD in 1968, the world existed just fine without cell phones, the internet, electric cars, Amazon, Costco and a host of other conveniences we can’t live without in our daily challenges of high taxes, increasing homeless, seven-day-a-week traffic gridlock and other obstacles we face here in Los Angeles and other cities.
I remember after roll call and before starting patrol we would go to a donut shop for coffee and a donut then begin patrol. Back in those days, we did not have restaurants, markets or businesses open 24 hours. We would work an eight-hour shift and patrol the streets of West L.A. looking for a variety of suspects including burglars, robbers, DUI motorists, car thieves, drug users and a host of others inclined to commit crimes.
Residents owned nice homes and drove nice cars and respected the laws and acted in a responsible manner. There were jerks we would run into from time to time, however they were the exception.
How have we come from the “Good Old Days” to where we are today – where a 30-year-old uniformed Pomona police officer and married father of two, Gregory Casillas, is shot and killed on Friday, March 9 and his partner shot while chasing a reckless driving suspect into an apartment. And at the same time, a news story about a coffee shop in Oakland posting a notice that they “Refuse to provide service to uniform police officers.”
The coffee shop is called Hasta Muerte and located at 2701 Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland.
Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo believes that the policy is legal. With that in mind, why would any officer visit a place with such distain for police officers who risk their lives to protect society? What if the coffee shop established a policy that refused service to Latinos or African Americans? I am sure there would be protests against the place. We will see what kind of support the Oakland officers receive from their community. It is nice to feel appreciated by the public you serve. How does it feel to be pushed aside by blatant discrimination as is being done in Oakland?
If you visit Oakland, avoid doing business at Hasta Muerte Coffee Shop. Hopefully this situation does not become a trend in other cities.
If you travel to Oakland, keep in mind the following statistics: Oakland is 77.86 square miles and crime in Oakland is one of the highest in America. They record a large number of murders, robberies, rapes, assaults and ADW. In fact, Oakland has a crime index of 1 when 100 is safest.
Your chances of becoming a victim of a property crime in Oakland is 1 in 17. That compares to 1 in 39 in California. Oakland reports 514 crimes per square mile while California reports 89. In comparing violent crime per 1,000 residents, Oakland ranks 14.55 while California is at 4.45. Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Oakland is 1 in 69 compared to 1 in 225 when compared to California. There are 544 crimes per square mile in Oakland and 89 in California. Oakland reported 88 homicides in 2016, 76 in 2017 and so far Oakland has reported 15 homicides this year.
It is obvious that Oakland is not a safe place to live, run a business or visit. Business owners like those at Hasta Muerte Coffee Shop should be welcoming uniform officers with a red carpet rather than chasing them away.
Dennis Zine is a former L.A. City Councilmember and L.A. Police sergeant who is a current reserve officer.