LA police may soon issue citations, fines for ‘quality of life’ crimes

Includes public urination and walking dogs w/o leashes

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council recently adopted a new program that will allow police officers to issue citations and fines for minor “quality of life” crimes.

Through the pilot program — being called as Administrative Citation Enforcement — the LAPD and the Department of Animal Services are able to impose fines for petty offenses like walking dogs without leashes, public urination, or dumping garbage on public streets, among other violations.

The program was proposed by LA District 5 Councilmember Paul Koretz, and was approved by the entire council in 2013.

As the current system stands, local authorities can issue warnings, or file a criminal misdemeanor case against Angelenos who commit “quality of life” offenses. However, Koretz pointed out that because officers are often unwilling to start court cases for such minor violations, the city has a hard time enforcing the rules on these matters.

Violators end up ignoring the warnings from police officers, and continue with their supposedly illegal habits like walking dogs off their leashes, and other similar acts.

“The city just needs a little clout,” Koretz was quoted as saying in an LA Times report.

According to Koretz, the city has been getting complaints saying that the local government does not enforce its regulations properly.

“And it’s true,” Koretz added.

Under Administrative Citation Enforcement, most of the first-time “quality of life” offenders would be slapped with a $250-fine. The second and third offenses would be $500 and $1,000, respectively.

For animal-related offenses, fines start at $100. Then, second and third infractions would be fined $250 and $500, respectively.

Furthermore, officers have the discretion on whether a violator will be given a warning, assessed a fine, or charged with a criminal case.

Other “quality of life” crimes include drinking in public, using fireworks, and smoking in prohibited areas.

Through the considerably hefty fines for seemingly minor violations, the city is expected to generate $1.59 million in net revenues per year. However, the program is still awaiting final approval from Mayor Garcetti, before it can take effect.

(With reports from Los Angeles Times)

(LA Weekend September 20-23, 2014 Sec. A pg.1)

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