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Time to speak up!

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 11/13/2009 @ 10:20 AM

Beck

We are pleased to see Chief Beck’s confirmation process going smoothly at City Hall. We expect a unanimous confirmation vote by the Council on November 17 when it returns from the National League of Cities’ annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

We are also pleased to read Chief Beck’s comments regarding the relationship he envisions with the LAPPL. This is what he told the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board shortly after being nominated by Mayor Villaraigosa: "I think the union is a huge ally. I think that a manager that ignores the authority and power of a union, such as some of ours have done in the past, ignores a huge opportunity to mold his workforce. So the union is very important. Do I think we're going to agree on all issues? No."

In the near future, the LAPPL Board of Directors will sit down with Chief Beck for what we expect will be the first in a series of regular partnership meetings. We are committed to doing our part to keep the lines of communication open by listening carefully and being very clear about our goals in representing our members.

We want to hear from the membership on topics you feel should be addressed in our initial meeting with Chief Beck. You can post your ideas as comments to this blog; tweet your ideas to @LAPPL; email us at Leaguemail@lappl.org; or speak with one of your delegates.

The important thing is to let us know your hot button issues for our first sit-down with the new Chief of Police. With so many ways to be heard, we urge you to speak up. We look forward to your participation in our long and mutually productive relationship with Chief Beck.

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A cop's chief!

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 11/06/2009 @ 03:55 PM

We are pleased that Chief-selectee Charlie Beck has not wasted any time in articulating that he is his own person – and not a clone of recently departed Chief Bratton.  While pledging to build on the significant progress of the last six years in reshaping the LAPD, Beck seized the opportunity presented by his appearance before The LA Times editorial board to contrast himself in style and strategy from Bratton.

In comments sure to warm the hearts of LAPD rank and file, Beck told The Times:  “The only way that real change is made is from the bottom up. You can mandate change from the top … but the only way an organization really changes is from the roots up; that’s much more powerful. So what you’ll see is different with me is I’m going to concentrate on the roots of the organization."  Later in the interview, he said, “I think I have a little more of a common touch, much more of a common touch. I think that maybe at the end of the day you’ll think of me more of a cop’s chief rather than a leader-manager.”  [Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com]

A cop’s chief.  The characterization rings true for those of us who know Chief Beck well and for those who are getting to know him better each day. We await his confirmation at City Council by unanimous vote and look forward to working with him on issues important to the membership and the future of public safety in our city.  

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There’s a new Chief in town

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 11/03/2009 @ 03:48 PM

Charles Beck

This is a significant day in the history of our city and our department.

On behalf of the 9,900 dedicated men and women police officers of this great city, the Los Angeles Police Protective League extends our heartfelt congratulations to Charlie Beck on his nomination for Chief of Police.

We commend Mayor Villaraigosa for a making an outstanding selection and look forward to Chief Beck’s swift confirmation by the Los Angeles City Council. His leadership will serve the city well at a most challenging time in its history.

Chief Beck began his highly impressive career as an LAPD Reserve Officer in 1975 before going full time two years later and working his way up to Deputy Chief. Currently the Chief of Detectives, Chief Beck commands all specialized detective divisions including Robbery Homicide, Gang and Narcotics, Vice, Commercial Crimes and Juvenile Division. He has spent much of his career working to reduce gang violence, beginning with early stints in LAPD’s CRASH Unit.

Chief Beck’s deep ties to law enforcement and the LAPD start with his father, George Beck, who retired from the Los Angeles Police Department as a Deputy Chief in 1980. His wife of 25 years is a retired deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. His daughter is currently assigned to the Hollywood Area as a patrol officer and, after his likely confirmation by the city council, he will preside over a Los Angeles Police Academy graduation ceremony in December of 2009 – a class of new officers that will include his son. Who better to understand the concerns of the rank and file than a Chief with two children on the job?

We know Chief Beck well. We know we can work with him in a spirit of cooperation and trust, and look forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work to take the LAPD to new heights of greatness in the years ahead.

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Leaving on a jet plane

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/29/2009 @ 02:05 PM

When Chief Bratton boards a New York-bound plane at LAX on Sunday morning to begin his new career as a private security consultant, he leaves behind three men who are on the short list of finalists being considered as his replacement.

By then, Mayor Villaraigosa will have interviewed Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell and Deputy Chiefs Charlie Beck and Michel Moore, and will be considering his choice for the next LAPD Chief. An announcement could come as early as Monday.

The League is pleased that the Chief selection process has gone smoothly. We are confident we can work with whoever is chosen.

Chief Bratton summed up the situation at a news conference Wednesday: “All three of them are extraordinary individuals, consummate professionals. The city is going to be in good hands under the stewardship of whichever one of them is privileged to be the next Chief.”

Most political pundits and editorial writers approve of the three finalists and the way the selection process has been conducted.

It’s a rare day in L.A. when the Police Commission, the Chief of Police and editorial writers are all on the same page at the same time. The stars seem to be aligning for the new Chief to begin his tenure with broad support across the City … and high expectations for success.

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Choosing the Chief

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/22/2009 @ 11:25 AM

As the Police Commission continues to interview candidates for Chief of Police, speculation swirls over who will replace Chief William Bratton.

The League is confident it can work with all the candidates. The process continues until the Mayor makes his selection from three finalists. The League is not endorsing any candidate nor working behind the scenes favoring one candidate over another. Any rumor to the contrary is absolutely false.

We are ready to welcome the new Chief of Police and look forward to working with him/her during an extremely challenging time in the City and Department’s history.

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Memo to the L.A. Times editorial department

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/19/2009 @ 05:00 PM

The Los Angeles Times newsroom has been hit hard with layoffs. That may explain why the editorial writers are apparently clueless about a 2006 court decision favoring LAPPL’s strong stand in support of police officer privacy. (Copley Press v. Superior Court (2006) 39 Cal 4th 1272; you can read the LA Times coverage of the ruling at: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/sep/01/local/me-police1.)

Sunday’s editorial, “The LAPD’s come a long way” made some good points but this one sentence left us scratching our heads and rushing to the keyboard:

Rather than secure for officers the wages and benefits they deserve, the Los Angeles Police Protective League – sometimes with Bratton’s complicity – has fought to protect individual officers from public scrutiny despite the public nature of their work.

Huh?

First and foremost, we have always worked hard to protect and promote the wages and benefits police officers deserve.

We invite the LA Times editorial department to make a note of our organization’s mission statement: The mission of the Los Angeles Police Protective League is to vigilantly protect, promote, and improve the working conditions, legal rights, compensation and benefits of Los Angeles Police Officers.

That has been and will continue to be one of our core missions – and, for most of 2009, precisely what we focused on in securing a tentative labor contract for our 9,900 members.

Equally important, we fight for the legal rights of LAPD officers. Like all other Americans, police officers have a right to keep their personnel records private. Employee disciplinary proceedings (and litigation matters) have never been in the public domain.

The public has a right to know the names of officers if they are indicted for a crime, and the public has the right to know that internal investigations of police officers are fair and above reproach. But allegations made in administrative disciplinary proceedings, which may or may not be true, should not be available to the media, where officers and other employees would have no legal recourse and could not defend themselves against such reports. This is why we fight so hard for officers’ rights of privacy and, thankfully, the state Supreme Court agrees.

We thought of sending this in a letter to the editor – but the Times seems to never publish our letters. Frankly, with all the cutbacks at the newspaper, our blog just might be getting greater readership these days anyway.

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LA Not So Confidential – Part II

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/15/2009 @ 02:12 PM

Wide shot of storage

We were still reeling from the discovery of highly sensitive records carelessly stored in a back hallway at the Northeast Police Station when we learned of an even more serious breach at the Southwest Division.

Incredibly, the material “stored” in Southwest’s parking structure includes a massive number of documents that should be under lock and key in a high-security facility. The documents include:

  • Detailed overtime information with officers’ names, social security numbers and serial numbers
  • Officers Daily field activities reports
  • Detective logs
  • Completed crime reports with victim and witness information
  • Completed STOP data collected by the Department to comply with the Consent Decree
  • Search warrants
  • “Burn boxes” containing material that is supposed to be destroyed
  • Arrestee booking information
  • Boxes marked “Evidence” and “Analyzed Evidence”

The parking area where the boxes of records are stored is accessible to city employees and even some visitors. A “Do Not Remove” sign and crime scene tape hardly qualify as appropriate security for such sensitive information! The LAPD’s negligent management of this confidential material leaves officers, and now crime victims, exposed.

Each time the LAPPL has brought these types of security breaches to the Department’s attention, we have received unsatisfactory responses and inadequate remedial action.

We demand LAPD meet at least the same standard of protection that government requires of private companies for the storing of information – and for rectifying the situation, when security breaches do occur.

As we said in 2007 when we exposed confidential files in the hallway of Parker Center and again this week, these shocking discoveries are not isolated cases. They represent a Department that has failed to act or put real safeguards in place for the handling and storing of confidential information. This is why protecting officers’ and the public’s privacy will continue to be a top priority of the League.

Document closeups

boxes near exit

Box labels

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L.A. Not So Confidential

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/13/2009 @ 10:30 PM

NE station boxes in hallway

Most recent example of unsecured document storage. This photo is from LAPD's Northeast Station.

A very disturbing photo was recently sent to the LAPPL showing stacks of document boxes in the back hallway near the employee main entrance of Northeast Station. Upon closer examination, our surprise turned to outrage.

The boxes contained confidential personnel complaints against LAPD officers, including names, serial numbers and work locations, in an area fully accessible to all employees! Unfortunately, this shocking discovery is not an isolated case. It is just the latest example of the Department not exercising good judgment and appropriate safeguards in the handling and storing of confidential and sensitive information. This is why protecting officer privacy is a top priority of the League and will continue to be.

We have fought hard in recent years to ensure that the personnel information of officers remains private. The "Kodak moment" at Northeast is another pointed reminder of what we have been saying for several years: Confidential information about officers is not secure. It is only a matter of time before the financial information provided by officers in sensitive assignments will be compromised if we don’t take a strong stand.

Please continue to notify the League whenever you spot breaches in the handling of confidential material by the Department.

Files in hallway of Parker Center in 2007

Files in hallway of Parker Center in 2007

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