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League weighs in on results of May Day Board of Rights

By Paul M. Weber on 07/03/2009 @ 05:41 PM

The LAPPL is relieved at the outcome of the recent Board of Rights hearings, and that no officers will be unjustly fired for their actions at the May Day 2007 MacArthur Park gathering.

In the wake of the May Day events, we immediately said there should be no rush to judgment and urged the media and public to allow the Department to fully investigate what happened that day. Now, the Board of Rights hearings have proven again why this approach is vital when evaluating and reporting on police responses to controversial situations. Removed from the political and media spotlight, these boards (which always include a civilian member) can objectively review the facts and render opinions of officers’ actions based on actual Department policy and the orders given by commanding officers.

The League went on record soon after the incident pointing out the lack of continuous and updated training that partially contributed to the situation, and indeed, the Department’s 2007 May Day report *, presented to the Police Commission, acknowledged that the events that transpired were primarily a result of breakdowns in command structure, planning and communications, as well as training deficiencies. We have consistently said that training is the backbone of good police work ­– ensuring that officers know not only what to do, but can properly implement the Department’s policies, procedures and expectations in any situation.

As a result of the 2007 report, revealing the Department's disastrous cost-based decision to abandon introductory training for new Metropolitan Division officers and to not train all officers for large tactical missions, the Department reinstated training as a fundamental priority.

We would like to point out that that there were many positive actions by officers on that day, which will probably be lost in the media’s focus on the outcome of a few personnel hearings. The Department itself has acknowledged the many examples of professionalism and restraint exhibited by LAPD officers on May 1, 2007, and we wish to commend those officers for a job well done.

* Read League Press Release from September 16, 2008 regarding Department's May Day report.

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Empty prisons in Michigan, empty coffers in Sacramento

By Paul M. Weber on 06/30/2009 @ 02:07 PM

jail release

Gov. Schwarzenegger got an interesting offer Monday from Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. But the California budget crisis may stand in the way of accepting it.

Granholm formally offered space in empty Michigan prisons to house some of the inmates California is running out of room for, according to an AP story. Michigan plans to close two prisons by the end of September. If California accepts the offer, it would save the jobs of about half of the 1,000 prison guards Michigan plans to lay off by Oct. 1.

Unfortunately, there’s no sign of a deal to close California’s $24.3 billion deficit. The state controller says he will have to start issuing IOUs unless lawmakers balance the budget by the end of the fiscal year on Tuesday. The state's deficit is roughly a quarter of the state's general fund and has been widening this year as tax revenue has plunged. Some $3 billion worth of IOUs will be issued in July unless a compromise on closing the deficit is reached quickly.

Will Michigan accept IOUs from California to house prisoners from the Golden State in lieu of setting a number of them free? Stay tuned…

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The Michael Jackson connection

By Kristi Sandoval on 06/27/2009 @ 12:47 AM

From the moment the 9-1-1 call came in at 12:21 p.m. on Thursday, LAPD officers have been front and center in the breaking news story of Michael Jackson’s death. LAPD officers have received continuous and worldwide positive attention in their response and on-going handling of the event. Nobody has more experience handling high-profile deaths of this nature than LAPD officers. The expertise and professionalism displayed by the officers to the world further enhances the prestige of LAPD as a world-class law enforcement agency.

From the Homby Hills mansion to Jackson’s star on Hollywood Boulevard, LAPD officers have been seen handling the investigation and crowd control in close cooperation with the LAFD, L.A. County Sheriffs and other agencies. A great team effort, albeit a tragic situation for the Jackson family and fans.

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Four more years!

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 06/26/2009 @ 12:40 PM

villarigosa

We don’t always see eye-to-eye with the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, but this week we wholeheartedly agree with a Times Editorial applauding Mayor Villaraigosa’s decision to stick with Los Angeles and forego a run for governor.

The League understands the decision not to run for governor and to focus on the issues facing Los Angeles. Since he was elected in 2005, Mayor Villaraigosa has always put Los Angeles first. Even in tough economic times, the Mayor has made public safety his No. 1 priority. As a result, crime is at its lowest level in decades and the public understands that lowering the crime rate is a prerequisite for economic recovery in our city.

We look forward to working with the Department and the entire city government over the next four years. And it is reassuring to know that Mayor Villaraigosa will be in L.A., focused on the critical issues our city faces.

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The bright spot in the L.A. Times poll

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 06/25/2009 @ 10:16 AM

Voter approval of LAPD is stronger than at any point in the last two decades, according to a Los Angeles Times poll of 1,500 registered voters in Los Angeles.

LAT chart

The widespread voter approval of LAPD is gratifying and not surprising. The high degree of public support for LAPD officers is a testament to the dedicated men and women who work day in and day out to establish relationships with residents on our streets and in our neighborhoods. We appreciate that residents are recognizing the more than 9,800 men and women of the LAPD for their professionalism and devotion to duty.

The Times poll results come at a good time. It further validates the League's efforts to promote full funding for law enforcement in all of our neighborhoods. Over the past four years, the City of Los Angeles has enjoyed unprecedented crime decreases not seen in decades, due to the hard work of the men and women of the LAPD. At the same time, by any objective measure, Los Angeles continues to be under-policed for its population and geographic size. Thus, reducing law enforcement presence in the city is not an option and could further erode the city's fragile economy by reversing the current crime-rate reduction trend.

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Public safety: No. 1 priority with L.A. voters

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 06/24/2009 @ 02:59 PM

The League this month conducted its own survey as part of our Public Safety First campaign. Launched June 6, the campaign began with an initial email sent to 400,000 registered voters. Voters who responded to our first email were invited to participate in our survey.

PSF Survey

On the survey question of how important is it that public safety be maintained as the top priority in the new City budget, 94 percent of respondents answered "very important" and 4 percent answered "somewhat important." In response to the question of how important a role have LAPD officers played in the reduction in the City's crime rate over the past four years, 86 percent answered "very important" and 10 percent answered "somewhat important."

When voters were asked in our survey how they would rate their level of satisfaction with the way City Hall is setting priorities in the City budget, 62 percent answered either "highly dissatisfied" or "somewhat dissatisfied."

It is clear that LA voters recognize that the City is facing a budget crisis. Yet they want City government to maintain full funding of public safety to continue the crime reduction we have worked so hard to achieve. They understand that lowering the crime rate is a prerequisite for economic recovery in our City.

The results of the LAPPL survey strongly indicated that the public opposes reducing law enforcement resources in Los Angeles, including the number of officers policing the City and the civilian support staff who back them. Residents already feeling economically vulnerable must not be made more vulnerable to crime by reducing the City's commitment to law enforcement and public safety.

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Have you signed the online petition?

By Public Safety First on 06/18/2009 @ 11:14 AM

If you haven’t already done so, please go to the League’s website and sign the online petition supporting full funding of LAPD to protect our salaries, benefits and pensions. Thousands of residents have already responded to our petition drive. Now we need all LAPPL members to join them. We can’t expect residents to support our goals unless we are ALL on the record for what we believe. We also need more members to sign up at our website for email updates from the League. Remember, we cannot use Department email for League news so everyone needs to registered with a current personal email address that they check often. Also, let us know when you change your email address so you don’t miss important communications, especially during this time of MOU negotiations.

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Lakers win the championship and LAPPL scores a victory

By NewsWatch on 06/17/2009 @ 11:14 AM

The League’s political savvy and clout got put to a test this week when the Lakers won their 15th NBA championship. Your board became concerned when we heard talk at City Hall that the city foot the bill for city services relating to a parade and rally. As the fifth game was getting underway in Orlando Sunday night, we issued a media statement calling for city funds not to be expended for post-championship celebrating, and suggested the money come from the Lakers and other private sector sources. Following the big Lakers win Sunday night, Mayor Villaraigosa suggested the cost of the celebration be split between the Lakers organization and the city with the city’s share said to be $1 million.

The League took a leadership role in the debate and public sentiment was clearly on our side. Numerous elected officials publicly announced support for our position. By mid-day Monday, the Mayor was lining up private funding to pay for 100 percent of the cost of the parade and rally. We issued another media statement thanking the Mayor and other city officials for doing the right thing by not using city funds for the parade and rally. Local and national media cited the LAPPL’s stance on the issue as pivotal in ensuring precious city funds were preserved to help maintain city services and city jobs.

Postscript: The deployment for Wednesday’s parade and rally was one of the largest in the Department’s history. More than 1,800 officers were on duty to ensure a highly successful celebration an estimated 250,000 residents could enjoy with a high degree of safety and security. For the most part, everything went smoothly with plenty of enjoyment for fans and families.

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