Dodger Stadium to see a dramatic increase in LAPD presence, Chief Beck and Mayor Villaraigosa announce
Following an attack in the parking lot of Dodger stadium that left a visiting fan with brain damage, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday announced they would dramatically increase the number of police patrolling the facility.
"You are going to see a sea of blue. And it’s not going to be Dodger blue. It’s going to be LAPD blue," Beck said of the police presence at the team’s next home game April 14. Beck said he would “expend whatever resources necessary to keep fans safe at Dodger stadium. This is going to be a game-changer. People will be awed by the response of the Los Angeles Police Department to this because we will not suffer this as a city again. People have a right to enjoy the American pastime and we are going to assure that right.”
The chief and mayor were joined at a press conference by City Councilmember Ed Reyes, who represents the Elysian Park area that includes the stadium. Reyes on Wednesday pushed through the council a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two men suspected of beating San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow after the two teams met on opening day last week. Along with money ponied up by the two teams and others, the city’s reward brought the total offer to $100,000.
LAPD Deputy Chief Jose Perez said police were inundated with over 80 tips from callers responding to composite sketches of the attackers. As detectives continue to track down leads, Reyes said he hoped reward money would entice people who know the attackers to come forward with their names. “To the cowards who did this: I know you’re watching. We will find you. It would be better for you to turn yourselves in,” Reyes said.
Beck declined to discuss specifics of the plan to beef up security at the stadium, but said in a brief interview that it would be “at the absolute minimum” a doubling of the 30 to 40 uniformed officers who typically work at games. Beck said his staff was still working to determine the number of officers needed to provide more comprehensive patrol coverage inside and outside sprawling facility.
He emphasized that plainclothes officers would be deployed as well. LAPD officers who work at Dodger Stadium are typically off-duty from their normal patrol assignment, so it is unlikely the added deployment will strain staffing at area police stations. The stadium is one of a handful of high-profile locations that has an agreement with the city to use uniformed, off-duty officers for security.
When asked whether the cost of adding additional officers would be passed on to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, Beck said he expected the Dodgers would foot the bill. Villaraigosa declined to say whether he had a formal commitment from McCourt to pay what could quickly become a six-figure cost, depending on how big the response and how many games it lasts. Discussions with McCourt and his staff to reach an agreement are ongoing, Villaraigosa said.
The mayor and Beck said they had told McCourt they disagree with the team’s policy of not allowing off-duty police officers to carry their weapons into the stadium.
With much being made about McCourt’s decision Wednesday to hire Beck’s predecessor William Bratton to assess security measures at the stadium, Beck made clear that Bratton would have no say over how LAPD officers are deployed during games. He said the pair had spoken by phone several times since Bratton was brought on board to discuss the issue.
-- Joel Rubin at LAPD headquarters
Photo: Dodgers fan Eric Amend holds a sign expressing his thoughts during a prayer vigil for Bryan Stow outside the USC Medical Center on Wednesday. Stow, a father of two, was brutally beaten in the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium following the season opener against the Giants. Credit: Mariah Tauger/ Los Angeles Times; LAPD sketch of the suspects. (KTLA News).