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Tuesday
Jan102017

L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles Police Department, discipline for misconduct?: "A proposal to give civilians more say in LAPD's disciplinary system could end up more lenient on officers" ....

* Los Angeles Times:  "A proposal to give civilians more say in LAPD's disciplinary system could end up more lenient on officers" - From the LAT:

A proposal that would give civilians a greater role in the discipline of Los Angeles police officers accused of serious misconduct could also lead to more leniency for officers facing termination or lengthy suspensions.

A new analysis prepared for the City Council showed that civilian members of the boards that weigh major LAPD discipline cases are “consistently more lenient” than their sworn counterparts, frequently voting to acquit officers or dole out lesser punishments. 

The findings come as Mayor Eric Garcetti and key council members are pushing a ballot measure that, if approved by voters in May, would allow an LAPD officer facing discipline to have the case heard by an all-civilian panel. Under the current system, the boards are made up of two high-ranking officers and only one civilian. The move would mark perhaps the most significant change to the LAPD’s often-criticized disciplinary system in decades — one that has long been sought by the union representing rank-and-file officers.

Some community activists said the report’s findings raise questions about whether allowing more civilians to hear LAPD disciplinary cases would improve accountability. Karren Lane, vice president of policy for the South L.A.-based Community Coalition, said Garcetti and the council need “to ask harder questions” about the proposed ballot measure. Although Lane agrees that the LAPD’s disciplinary system needs reform, she said the focus should be on greater transparency so that the public knows how disciplinary decisions are made.

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“We just highly question whether this is the union’s attempt to take power away from Chief Beck and not so much about reforming the disciplinary process in a way that’s more fair and transparent,” Lane said .................