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Home  >  Topics  >  Patrol Issues

December 20, 2007
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LAPD officers may quit over disclosure demand

Rachel Uranga
Daily Breeze
Related: P1 News Report LAPD to scrutinize officers' finances

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Some 500 Los Angeles Police Department gang and narcotic officers are threatening to retire or change jobs if the city follows through on a plan that would force them to reveal their personal finances, union officials say.

A financial disclosure proposal set to be considered Thursday by the five-member civilian police commission would be the last major hurdle to comply with a 7-year-old federal consent decree meant to root out police corruption.

Under the proposal, all gang and narcotics officers with the rank of lieutenant or below would be required to provide a detailed list of their finances, including all their properties, past due credit card debts, outside income, stocks, bonds and checking accounts.

"No other law enforcement agency in the country forces its officers to share this kind of information," police union President Tim Sands said in a prepared statement.

"This financial disclosure plan is an unnecessary and ill- conceived intrusion into the private lives of LAPD officers, their spouses and their children."

The decree, which arose out of the Rampart corruption scandal implicating several officers on a gang detail of framing and beating suspects, has been a top priority for LAPD Chief William Bratton, a former consent decree monitor.

Bratton was vacationing Tuesday, but First Assistant Chief Sharon Papa said she could not comment on a matter that would be considered by the police commission in closed session.

Under the proposal, financial disclosure would be phased in over two years. Incumbent officers would not have to report for two years but all newly assigned officers must divulge their finances within 10 days of their assignment.

Though decree reforms have been departmentwide, it's the gang units that have seen some of the most intense scrutiny.

Many in the unit are already resentful of the amount of paperwork required of the heavily scrutinized officers, he said.

The reform is only one of dozens forced by the federal consent decree that radically shifted the way the LAPD conducted day-to-day police work after the Department of Justice found "a pattern or practice of excessive force, false arrests, and illegal searches and seizures."

Under the decree negotiated by then Mayor James Hahn to head off a Justice Department lawsuit, the LAPD has implemented TEAMS II, a complicated tracking system that aims to root out troubled officers.

It also prohibited the use of secret informants, demanded gang officers be uniformed, created an integrity section and instituted a massive audit division.

But the police union and others doubt whether the financial disclosure proposal will reveal bad officers who hide money in trust funds with family members, in property and elsewhere.

"I am puzzled by this," said Robert Stern, the president of the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies.

"Usually, (financial disclosure) is meant to prevent conflicts, not corruption. I always say that the ones who want to be corrupt will be corrupt and won't disclose."

Copyright 2007 Daily Breeze

Full story: LAPD officers may quit over disclosure demand






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