Los Angeles District Attorney’s New Staff Transfer Draws Criticism in Los Angeles

A new shuttle program for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office unveiled this week has drawn mounting criticism. The shuttle was put into operation following a growing number of crime incidents against workers in the Civic Center area and District Attorney George Gascon’s weakness in crime policy, which led to an increase in crime in Los Angeles.

After being elected in November 2020, District Attorney Gascon’s policy, which included the abolition of cash bail for many crimes and the abolition of harsh sentences, drew significant criticism. Similar to the effect of recalled San Francisco District Attorney Cheza Boudin, Gascon’s soft approach to crime caused a surge in crime in Los Angeles County. In the city of Los Angeles alone, crime increased by 11.6% between 2021 and 2022. Meanwhile, in other cities that have abolished Progressive DA and their policies, such as San Francisco, crime rates have plummeted and are starting to improve in some categories.

The high crime rate in Los Angeles, attributed to Gascon’s politics, has led to a new ironic program this week in Los Angeles. The Employee Secure Transportation and Escort Program (E-STEP), which offers secure transportation for Civic Center employees, was put into place following a series of security and crime-related incidents that occurred between employees and members of the public. The program, created by the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, will continue until a better solution is found.

“Security incidents involving violent confrontations initiated by members of the public have occurred with our employees working in the Civic Center area as they walked between their vehicles or transportation area and the office,” a press release said on Thursday.

Shuttle stops will include the Hall of Justice, Union Station and Chinatown, and vehicles will temporarily consist of large minivans.

Critics of the Gascon drew attention to the shortcomings of the Gascon policy that led to such a program in the first place, and also pointed out that many other citizens of Los Angeles would not be given the same protection.

“This is unprecedented in the 173-year history of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office where employees must be escorted to and from their vehicles to protect them from random violent attacks,” John McKinney, the DA’s office prosecutor and 2024 Gascon rival, said Thursday. “While I applaud George Gascon for taking action to ensure the safety of the District Attorney’s staff, I blame his policies that contributed to the need for such emergency measures. My thoughts also go out to the millions of Los Angeles residents who have to travel around Los Angeles County without the same protection.”

Los Angeles City Hall employee “Marco” added: “I hope Gascon really understands what exactly he did. Everyone knows that all these actions that he did as a district attorney led to a worsening of the crime situation. He puts his employees at risk, and he puts the people of Los Angeles County at risk. No competent person does this.”

“All I think about now is where is my protection, you know? They also come to us on the street. Where is our shuttle? Or better yet, where is the justice? All of my white, Asian, black and Hispanic colleagues are concerned.”

As of Thursday, Gascon himself has yet to comment directly on the new transfer.

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