She cultivates a policing model that relies on community programs, not crackdowns
Photograph by Maarten de Boer
As a child, Emada Tingirides used to play on Belhaven Avenue in Watts. Now she patrols the housing project on that street and two others nearby. The LAPD sergeant oversees the department’s Community Safety Partnership, an elite 57 officer unit praised for making life not just safer but better for the nearly 10,000 residents it serves.
“There wasn’t a blueprint,” says Tingirides, who is developing the CSP squad’s big-picture policing model, with backing from LAPD chief Charlie Beck. “The average patrol officer’s not going to worry about socioeconomic development. That’s not his mission. But I go about everything with that in mind.”
We joined the 45-year-old mother of two and stepmother of four at work one day in June:
Tingirides at a community meeting in Watts. Photograph by Maarten de Boer.
PUTS ON A 23-POUND GUN BELT
Tingirides changes into her uniform at the LAPD’s Southeast station, two miles away from the Compton Avenue office she shares with a staffer from the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
SCHOOLS COPS ON SAYING “I’M SORRY”
She explains how the CSP works to an assembly of LAPD captains at the station. Today’s lesson: the importance of “being transparent, apologizing for the wrongs of others that came before in this department, and that it takes time to break down barriers. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
KICKS OFF A GRASSROOTS FILM WORKSHOP
At a HomeTown Buffet in Lynwood, Tingirides catches up with the promoter of last year’s free Ken-drick Lamar concert in Nickerson Gardens, one of the public housing projects she polices. They discuss involving residents in turning footage of the event into a documentary.
HATCHES A PLAN WITH THE LAUSD
Tingirides sits down with representatives from the LAUSD and Harmony Project, an after-school music class slated to launch in Watts this fall. “We’re focused on youth programs because they are what is going to break the cycle of dysfunction,” she says. “These kids are going to have a choice: Join [a program] or join a gang.”
RESPONDS TO AN EMERGENCY CALL, THEN BUSTS HER OFFICERS
The LAUSD meeting comes to a halt when an officer calls in: A suspect who may be armed is leading a pursuit through the Jordan Downs housing project. Tingirides speeds to the complex. When officers take two unarmed men into custody for minor infractions, she’s frustrated. “It’s not worth it,” she says of the arrests. “That’s what I’ve been preaching!”
CLIMBS THE LAPD LADDER
The sergeant drives to Burbank to take a practice lieutenant’s exam. Her long-term goal: to become the first African American deputy chief of South Bureau.
DEBRIEFS A FELLOW COP: HER HUSBAND
Tingirides carpools with her spouse of four years, LAPD commander Phillip Tingirides.