05/23/2006

LAPD vows to complete reforms by end of the year

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES-  The Police Department promises to complete court-ordered reforms by the end of the year, including a long-delayed computer system to help identify rogue officers, a police official told frustrated city leaders.

Gerald Chaleff, the chief of the department's Consent Decree Bureau, made the pledge Monday to a joint meeting of the City Council's Public Safety Committee and the Police Commission.

The meeting was held in response to a judge's decision last week to extend federal oversight of the department by three years. U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess lengthened the monitoring period because the department had not completed all the court-ordered reforms within the original five-year term.

A key step that still must be implemented is the computerized system, called TEAMS II, to identify problem officers.

"There is no excuse for the lack of progress on TEAMS II," Councilman Jack Weiss, the public safety committee's chairman, said at Monday's meeting.

Chaleff said the attorneys who negotiated the consent decree underestimated how hard it would be to implement the system, telling the panel, "You shouldn't have lawyers decide what a computer system is going to look like."

The decree came in a 2001 settlement between the city and the Justice Department after officers were alleged to have routinely planted evidence, framed and beaten suspects, and lied in court.

Police officials have said the city has complied with about 70 percent of the consent decree's 191 reforms. The city is paying an independent monitor $1.6 million a year to oversee the program.

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On the Net:

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