The Los Angeles Police Department

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The Los Angeles Police Department Police: Breakdowns that allowed corruption are still uncorrected, study finds. The chief concedes that mediocrity became a way of life at all levels of the department. The Los Angeles Police Department failed time and again to take steps that might have headed off the worst corruption scandal in its history, according to a sweeping self-indictment prepared by the department's own leaders. In a letter accompanying the long-awaited Board of Inquiry report into the corruption centered in the department's Rampart Division, Police Chief Bernard C. Parks called the scandal a "life-altering experience for the Los Angeles Police Department" in which corrupt officers took advantage of lax supervision to carry out criminal acts. "We as an organization provided the opportunity," Parks wrote. The 362-page report was given to Mayor Richard Riordan and members of the Police Commission on Tuesday evening and will be released to the public and the rest of the city's elected leaders today. It was provided to The Times on Tuesday by top officials of the LAPD. According to the report, many of the breakdowns that allowed the Rampart police scandal to fester and spread--including failures to check the backgrounds of police recruits, to monitor officer misconduct and to supervise officers in the field--remain uncorrected despite mounting public and political criticism of the LAPD and the city leadership. Those disclosures effectively put the city's entire political leadership on the spot. Most directly, they demonstrate that the LAPD ignored some calls for reform and created an atmosphere ripe for corruption. At the same time, they also suggest that Riordan and City Council members backed policies... ... middle of paper ... ...t of the officers who failed to carry out those procedures, not of the procedures themselves, according to the Board of Inquiry. Although that gives the report a sometimes odd tone, defending a system that it admits failed badly, it also provides for some of the document's most evident soul-searching. One passage in particular warns of the consequences when police let down their guard. "Essentially, many of the problems found by this [Board of Inquiry] boil down to people failing to do their jobs with a high level of consistency and integrity," the report states. "Unfortunately, we found this to be true at all levels of the organization, including top managers, first-line supervisors and line personnel. Clearly, pride in one's work and a commitment to do things correctly the first time seems to have "Clearly," he said, "we have to stop accepting mediocre work."

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the los angeles police department failed to take steps that might have headed off the worst corruption scandal in its history.
  • Argues that the board of inquiry report's 108 recommendations focus on internal remedies, while parks' scathing self-appraisal could bolster both sides of the argument over whether outside review is needed.
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