An anonymous source within the Los Angeles Police Departments (LAPD) Metro Division stated that LAPD is not prepared for a terrorist attack. The source cited a lack of training and equipment as the biggest concerns.
10% of the LAPD’ s 500-officer Metro Division, which handles crime suppression, and counterterrorism, say they are not ready to respond to a terrorist attack. The LAPD sources admitted they were frustrated that the LAPD was devoted to the appearance of readiness over actual preparedness.
One LAPD metro officer, speaking anonymously to the press, warned that Metro officers were not even trained on proper tactical room clearing procedures.
Internal documents showed that 200 officers had been shifted to Metro Division in 2014 and were to receive advanced training. However, sources said the training was minimal and some officers were afraid to fire their assigned rifles.
Concerns were also raised that personal protective equipment was insufficient, such as bulletproof vests that reportedly failed to properly cover the torso.
The LAPD’s Chief Charlie Beck disagreed with reports, insisting that Metro officers, “are ready, they do have proper training”.
LAPD officers are not the only one’s to admit concerns about counter terrorism. In the aftermath of Paris, the New York Police Department (NYPD) Union’s boss admitted officers had not fully prepared for a Paris-style attack, despite New York being a major target for terrorists.
Los Angeles with its urban sprawl offers terrorists many targets where large groups of people gather. High-risk soft -targets at risk in Los Angeles include: The Rose Bowl, Disney Land, the Long Beach Aquarium, Dodger Stadium, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Beck noted in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks it offered critical lessons, “You always have to evolve with the threat.”
Michael Downing, LAPD’s chief of anti-terrorism, noted how Paris changed everything, “for years we prepared for lone wolves – one or two people attacking one or two locations. This was layered. It was complexed. It was coordinated. “
Despite reports that the LAPD is unprepared for the escalating nature of terrorist attacks, Downing defends the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) approach to counterterrorism. Downing has called Los Angeles’ Muslim community, not its metro officers, the city’s greatest strength in preventing attacks.
The LAPD was one of the three flagship cities chosen for the success of their countering violent extremism (CVE) program. The LAPD’s CVE program was designed with input from the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a Los Angeles based Muslim Brotherhood-linked group. MPAC leader Salam Al-Marayati, who once accused Israel of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, is featured in an LAPD video that discusses the city’s CVE program. Al-Marayati states in the video that MPAC had a hand in substantially altering LAPD’s Suspicious Activity Reporting system. Downing has described MPAC and Al-Marayati as an “authentic partner.”
The LAPD has one of the toughest jobs in the nation to maintain the safety and security of 3.8 million people. The training and equipment concerns of LAPD officers’ raises serious questions about whether Los Angeles is sacrificing real counterterrorism capabilities in favor of CVE-based outreach focused on engagement with questionable organizations.