For their unnecessary joy rides over L.A., celebrities have been called “climate criminals.” What, then, should we call the L.A. police?
No matter how you slice it, LAPD's (over)use of its helicopters is bad, but the climate considerations add a new layer to this discussion. Their fleet needs to be downsized if not dismantled outright, not that I expect it to happen.
Wow, what an eye-opening piece!! I'm curious if this reporting would be replicable in other cities -- I'm a journalist based in NYC, and am now very curious about the NYPD's climate impact. (I don't think they use helicopters as much as the LAPD but they certainly have an excessive number of cars/trucks.)
I am a bit more curious about how their fleet
compares to other big city PDs instead of celebrities or individuals. It would provide a much more relevant understanding.
Great article. I think covering the unknown or vastly underdiscussed sources of emissions like these are important, not just because of the immediate CO2 impacts, but also because it pushes me, and I hope others, to consider whether we need some of these things in the first place, which I think police helicopters probably don't need to be, based on your reporting. At least on this scale.
Also I have to give a shoutout to the awesome graphics Emily made.
Looking forward to the second part!
In the summer of '86 I had a job selling reference books door-to-door in San Bernardino (the armpit of LA region) and I my most vivid memories are of smog and police helicopters. I can only imagine what the accumulate climate impact of LAPD (and other jurisdictions nearby) is after all these decades.
The police emissions issue is critical, and worth pursuing. Really good piece. The general policing issue - also very important - is, of course, different. Your article does not report how police flights are being used, for what, when they are authorized, or - perhaps most importantly, their measurable effectiveness. FOI requests would likely tell you the exact purposes, durations, success/failures etc of every flight. You mention police helicopters have not lowered crime rates. How would they? Crime rates are different that arrest, capture, rescue rates. Have you requested these? Have you spoken to police about chopper operations? Let's assume we could successfully ground these flights. What would replace them?