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South Park Turns Out to Meet Each Other and LAPD

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2008, at 11:00AM
Cop Talk Ed Fuentes

It was an eclectic mix of South Park residents who gathered among Loft Appeal furnishings to enjoy pasta from Colori Kitchen and see LAPD Officer Mike Fernandez receive thanks and a certificate from Councilwoman Jan Perry. Fernandez, a Downtown veteran who in 2006 was named "Officer of the Year" by the Central City Police Boosters, is Senior Lead for the South Park area.

Many of the new locals were attending their first neighborhood event. The gathered crowd included residents from the Eastern Columbia building, Milano Lofts, Orpheum Lofts and the Packard Lofts. Many moved into the area just recently, and it seems that speculation on Ralphs opening as epoch is absolutely correct. Though it has been tempting to pass the idea off as a marketing pitch or as cliche, several residents were heard talking about the grocery store's role as a hot spot for singles.

Back at the informal speeches, the South Park district’s safety was credited to Fernandez, an officer who also works community service all year. After thanking Perry for the advice she once offered -- to “think with his heart and do the right thing” -- he took some questions about gangs, traffic, homelessness, and even skateboarders.

There are no easy answers for the renegade skateboarders.

As far as finding people near doorways, Fernandez reminded everyone that while Municipal Code (LAMC) 41.18(d) prohibits sitting, sleeping or lying on any public street or sidewalk, LAPD will not simply arrest people sleeping on sidewalks between the hours of 9pm and 6am –– as long as they are not obstructing foot traffic –– until “further notice.”

That’s sometimes what a “meet and greet” becomes –– a reminder to Downtown pioneer residents that LAPD isn’t a private security force. They work the beat for everyone.

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