Council Recap: Community Prosecutor, traffic signal improvements
Published on August 10, 2022
At their Tuesday meeting, the Lakewood City Council approved an agreement with the County of Los Angeles to provide a Community Prosecutor who will be dedicated to Lakewood and the neighboring city of Paramount and will focus on prompt attention to quality of life issues.
Community Prosecutors are part of a longstanding program that provides cities that contract for the extra service with a career Deputy District Attorney who has a longstanding good relationship of working closely with a city’s Special Assignment Deputy Sheriffs to uphold public safety in a community.
Community Prosecutors can take actions such as pursuing “stay away orders” to prevent known gang members or habitual criminals from returning to homes in a neighborhood where they are causing repeated problems. Prosecutors can also do case tracking to advocate for strong-as-possible prosecutions and seek restitution and sentencing terms that are an enhancement to public safety.
Council Members noted that the City Council had previously taken a vote of “no confidence” in District Attorney George Gascón, but that the Community Prosecutor program is a longstanding one that predates the existing D.A. and can provide a valuable level of service separate from the more controversial policies of the current D.A.
Lakewood’s neighboring city of Paramount has contracted for a Community Prosecutor for several years with good results. Paramount recently asked if Lakewood would like to partner on sharing the costs and time for their existing Prosecutor. Lakewood city staff and council members carefully researched the matter and interviewed the Prosecutor. Lakewood’s cost share for the remaining 10 months of this fiscal year will be $125,000. The council will make a decision later on whether to continue the program in the next fiscal year.
In other action, the City Council approved the first step in a $2.4 million project to upgrade traffic signals at 12 busy intersections that have seen the most collisions in Lakewood. New traffic signals with more visible lighting and other advanced safety features will be installed in the months ahead. Design work on the project will be the first step. This effort builds on other traffic and pedestrian safety actions the city has taken recently, including hiring an additional Deputy Sheriff for traffic safety patrol and installing enhanced crosswalk signaling devices.