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LAPD Pride

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/09/2009 @ 05:29 PM

Bratton

Months ago, we congratulated Bill Bratton on his six-year run as chief of police and wished him well. We hate to rain on his parade as he leaves town with four years remaining on a five-year commitment, but we were taken aback by his comments earlier this week as reported by the highly reputable blog, LA Observed.

An excerpt:

Los Angeles magazine hosted one of its periodic breakfast gatherings with newsmakers this morning at The Foundry on Melrose, with LAPD Chief William Bratton invited to give an exit interview to Editor Mary Melton. Bratton said he's confident the bad, old LAPD culture in which the cops felt at war with the city — which he ascribed to the management of former chiefs William Parker and Daryl Gates — has been put to rest in favor of more effective community-based policing. "Most of the Parker-Gates generation is gone," Bratton said, noting that almost all of the top commanders he inherited have moved on or been reassigned

It's fine for the Chief to look back with pride at his tenure. But going way back to the days of Chief Parker and Gates with the rhetoric he used in the Los Angeles magazine interview is uncalled for and, frankly, a cheap shot. Chief Bratton has done some great things for LAPD, as did his predecessors. To completely discount the positives of the Parker and Gates eras is an uncalled-for slap at those officers who worked hard for those chiefs and respected them. Since he didn’t mention it, let us point out that the current command staff selected by Chief Bratton were, for the most part, trained and mentored by Chief Gates. Many of us were around during the “bad, old LAPD culture” and we served the people of Los Angeles with pride and honor, regardless of who the chief was.

We hope Chief Bratton sticks to the high road on the way of out of town, as we wish him the best in his new career and retirement from city policing.

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Heads up: Tax change coming soon

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/08/2009 @ 02:01 PM

TAXES

Attention all League members and, for that matter, everyone earning wages in California: A tax change passed by lawmakers in July as part of their attempt to deal with the budget crisis will impact your take-home pay starting in November. Under ABX4-17, on November 1, state tax withholdings for all wage earners will increase by another 10 percent. This means, for example, if you currently pay $100 in state taxes per pay period, you will soon see $110 withheld from your paycheck. While we didn’t find a great deal of media coverage on the topic, here are a few articles for more information:

“State to hike income tax,” The Signal (Santa Clarita Valley)

“Cash-strapped California adjusts tax withholding requirements - A concern for all California employers and workers,” www.mondaq.com

“Taxes: Paychecks to shrink beginning November 1,” North Coast Times

The state says that the money will be refunded to taxpayers who qualify for a rebate in 2010. According to tax experts, you can file a DE-4 form to change your withholdings and increase exemptions to compensate for the additional withholding amount. The form is available here.

Of course, it is always a good idea to check with a tax advisor to be sure you are withholding the proper amount from your wages.

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Presumption of innocence: A reminder

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/07/2009 @ 01:00 PM

After being charged with conspiracy and perjury for allegedly lying under oath during a drug possession trial in 2008, three LAPD officers have agreed to appear later this week for arraignment.

It happens rarely, but is always painful when a police officer is charged in a criminal case. While we do not disregard the seriousness of these allegations, it is important to remind ourselves and the public that being considered innocent until proven otherwise is a legal right that is a basic tenet of our democracy and should be afforded every citizen.

The officers in this case deserve the benefit of the doubt while they go through the legal process. No one should jump to conclusions before all of the evidence is heard and a judicial determination can be made.

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LAPPL commends District Attorney Cooley’s pursuit of Polanski case

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/02/2009 @ 08:42 PM

Polanski

The LAPPL Board, which represents 9,900 officers who have dedicated their careers to law enforcement, is grateful to District Attorney Steve Cooley for tirelessly pursuing the Roman Polanski case and seeing that he returns to a Los Angeles court to face sentencing. In addition to any prison sentence Polanski is to serve, we hope the district attorney files additional charges for being a fugitive from justice.

The most shocking issue with the Polanski arrest is that so many people have stood up to defend a man guilty of such reprehensible behavior. The facts of this case cannot be forgotten or dismissed. The court transcripts show that he drugged, raped and sodomized his victim, then agreed to plead guilty to "having sex with a minor" in order to reduce his sentence – and right before he was to be sentenced, jetted off to his home on the French Rivera where he lived for 31 years.

The timeline from Cooley’s office shows that he and his predecessors have diligently pursued the case of the People of California v. Roman Polanski.

There is no basis for giving Polanski a pass from any part of the U.S. judicial process. Even the allegation of judicial misconduct in a so-called documentary film has now been recanted by a former prosecutor who appeared in the film.

It doesn’t matter who the criminal is. It doesn’t matter how famous or talented he is. Everyone must be treated the same for the American justice system to work, and you can't be allowed to run from prosecution.

Los Angeles is very fortunate to have a district attorney who is committed to punishing criminals, no matter how much time has passed or who their friends are. We thank him and his dedicated staff of prosecutors for their dedication.

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LAPPL issues statement on status of contract talks

By Paul M. Weber on 10/01/2009 @ 06:17 PM

While reviewing today’s news stories, we were surprised to see a Daily News article in which several city officials commented that the contract negotiations are very close to being completed. City Council President Eric Garcetti was quoted as saying, “I am optimistic this week we can wrap them up…” And apparently the Mayor’s spokesman, Matt Szabo, had a similar expectation when he stated, “We are hopeful and optimistic that it will conclude this week.” While we are working tirelessly to secure a fair contract with the city, the negotiations are still ongoing and we don’t think projecting a date that we will come to an agreement is warranted. In response, we issued the following press release:


LAPPL Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Eric Rose (805) 624-0572 or
Paul Haney (626) 755-4759


LAPPL issues statement on status of contract talks

LOS ANGELES, October 1, 2009 -- In response to news stories prompted by city officials on the status of labor contract talks, Paul M. Weber, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, issued the following statement:

"The Los Angeles Police Protective League and the City of Los Angeles remain in negotiations for a new contract covering more than 9,900 LAPD officers. Public comments made by city officials earlier today on the status of the contract talks are premature and contrary to a confidentiality agreement between the parties. The LAPPL Board of Directors remains committed to ensuring our members receive a fair contract while preserving public safety and the long-term financial viability of the City of Los Angeles. "



About the LAPPL Formed in 1923, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) represents the more than 9,900 dedicated and professional sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPPL serves to advance the interests of LAPD officers through legislative and legal advocacy, political action and education. The LAPPL can be found on the Web at www.LAPD.com

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Hard deadlines and hard decisions

By Scott Rate on 09/21/2009 @ 05:35 PM

Last Friday was supposed to be a hard deadline for the City Council to resolve the City budget crisis. It was also supposed to be a hard deadline for Governor Schwarzenegger to submit a definitive plan to federal judges to reduce state prison overcrowding. No one should be shocked that “Fateful Friday” came and went with neither issue resolved; after all, we are entering into Day 84 without a contract for police officers. To many, this is just another reminder of how slowly government moves, and how problems grow bigger as key decisions and actions are deferred again and again.

After a week of tense negotiations and veto threats, a coalition of City labor unions reached a tentative agreement with City Hall that provides an early retirement option for 2,400 employees and spares six of the City’s civilian employee unions from layoffs or furloughs, at least for now. But the deal must now be approved by the union members in a process that will take three weeks. Even if it is approved, no one knows how many employees might choose to retire or how the City hopes to erase more than two-thirds of this year’s $405 million budget deficit that isn’t potentially addressed by Friday’s tentative deal. Meanwhile, with each passing day, the City budget deficit grows by at least $1 million.

The lack of decisiveness on the part of City officials extends to negotiations for a new MOU for police officers. While the LAPPL has offered specific cost savings in the range of $90 million to $150 million that don’t require officer furloughs or layoffs, the EERC is dragging their feet. The result is we now find ourselves over two months without a contract while the City has forgone millions of dollars in real savings that the League has suggested.

On the state level, the Governor’s prison plan resolves nothing. Instead, it sets up a future confrontation between the Governor and the judges. While in the short run that is preferable to thousands of inmates being released to our neighborhoods, it leaves for another day an understanding of the crime implications of a final resolution of these thorny issues.

As much as everyone would like to know with certainty what we face as a City and as a people in the coming months, odds are “hard” deadlines will continue to come and go without definitive solutions. Indeed, we may find it necessary to ratchet up our campaign to keep governments' priorities straight, and keep public safety first and foremost as crucial decisions are made in these, the most difficult economic times since the Depression.

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L.A. at a crossroads

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 09/18/2009 @ 04:54 PM

Crime Scene

Police officers from the 77th Street Division look over a crime scene after a shooting near the corner of Western Avenue and Century Boulevard, near the two gangs' territories. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. at a crossroads

If anyone needs a reminder of the fragile state of public safety in Los Angeles, they need only read Scott Gold’s excellent piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. Two gangs that call South L.A. home have interrupted a truce with deadly consequences. What seemed like a trivial incident one night in August rapidly escalated into renewed violence that has resulted in six shootings and three homicides. One of the victims was a seventh-grader.

“No one is sure how it’s going to end, and the dispute threatens to undermine the marked progress that has been made here,” writes Gold. “Many residents, civic leaders and city officials believe South L.A. is at a crossroads in part because violent crime has fallen so sharply.”

The increase in police presence and expertise in the two LAPD divisions that cover South L.A. have made all the difference. That is why it is crucial that the experienced officers of the Southeast and 77th divisions continue their excellent work on the front lines. In other words, this is precisely the wrong time for city leaders to risk returning L.A. to the days when the national media portrayed our city as one of the murder capitals of America. That’s precisely what could be the consequences of the police officer furloughs being talked about a City Hall these days.

Thanks, Scott Gold, for the wake-up call for city leaders and anyone else who thinks it’s okay to downsize the LAPD through forced furloughs. It’s not okay. It will put L.A.’s residents and property in harm’s way and put off indefinitely the day when L.A. will be a vibrant economy again.

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LAPPL response to L.A. Times editoral

By Paul M. Weber on 09/16/2009 @ 05:34 PM

In response to a Los Angeles Times Editorial on September 15, 2009 regarding the furlough of police officers (read below), LAPPL President Paul M. Weber has submitted the following response to the LA Times:

September 15, 2009

Letters@latimes.com

Dear Editor:

Re: L.A. police funding must be a priority (Sept. 15, 2009)

We agree with The Times that the city’s overriding best interests are served by continuing to make public safety the top priority in the city budget process. 

Los Angeles has long been under-policed compared with the nation’s other largest cities, based on the number of officers per capita and square mile.  Clearly, we need to expand our police force.  However, it is ill-conceived public policy to furlough trained officers in order to hire new ones. And if experienced officers are furloughed, who is going to train the rookies? 

The city’s police furlough plan would halve the number of officers responding to 911 calls, creating a feedback loop. Without properly staffed patrols, residents and their property would be softer targets, increasing the amount of crimes while greatly delaying police responses to those crimes. 

That’s not a responsible way for government to serve its residents. 

Paul M. Weber
President
Los Angeles Police Protective League

**********************

L.A. police funding must be a priority

Neighborhood security must be sustained, however unfair the channeling of funds might seem in a time of layoffs and pay cuts.

September 15, 2009
Los Angeles Times Editorial

The city of Los Angeles will not be getting the revenue it needs over the coming months to sustain its current level of spending, and it must cut back. That reality has become painful for employees who have devoted themselves to public service and now face mandatory furloughs or even layoffs.

The prospect of losing a city job is especially bitter when one job is pitted against another. Why, for example, should civilian employees suffer disproportionately under a system that may see public safety workers left relatively unscathed?

The hard answer is that although fairness to employees is important -- it recognizes years of service, rewards flexibility in bargaining and secures a stable workforce, all of which are good for the city -- fairness in city labor decisions ultimately must take a back seat to the overriding best interests of the city.

After years of toying with expanding the size of the Los Angeles Police Department, advancing and then retreating when a limited funding stream evaporated or the economy turned sour, Los Angeles has begun to make some headway. It has been an important development. A growing LAPD, together with smart deployment decisions, have helped to keep crime in check and to improve the working relationship between the department and the neighborhoods it serves. A larger number of officers helps the LAPD to move away from the "occupying force"-style of policing that once prevailed in Los Angeles, keeping some communities secure and others geared for confrontation.

Allowing the LAPD to drop in size would be a setback for Los Angeles. If the city can afford to hold steady, until good times return and expansion can begin again, it should.

The police officers union argues that it makes no sense to consider furloughs for officers already serving to save enough money to keep hiring. On the contrary; it makes eminent sense. Even if furloughs keep the city from utilizing the full department today, the hiring will mean that a full force, and not a diminished LAPD, will patrol the streets once better budget times return. Furloughed officers, moreover, can be recalled to duty in an emergency.

Other city departments may have to take deeper cuts to keep the city properly patrolled. It is harsh, but it may still be the best course. It is unfair -- all the more unfair because with better resource management, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa could have planned better for the current crisis and taken steps that would have made sacrifice more bearable, and because police hiring is widely seen as a political benefit to the mayor. That may be, but it is still the right move.

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