I'm pleased to see the message is getting through. The LAPD has not lowered standards; indeed, in many respects the hiring standards have increased.
Three and four decades ago, when now retired police officers Bernard C. Parks and Dennis P. Zine were hired, LAPD did not administer polygraph tests. In those days, we merely took the candidate's word about any prior drug use and hoped their word was good.
Officers Parks and Zine's police academy training was less than half that of today's LAPD recruit. Moreover, officers of their day were not subject to random drug testing like police recruits today.
Forty years ago, the universe of LAPD candidates was also much smaller. Gays, lesbians and minorities were not actively recruited like they are today.
Get two chiefs of police together today, and the first subject discussed will be difficulty in recruiting. Police departments have to be adaptable and flexible in their approach to hiring.
The city's hiring policy for police officers has followed President Reagan's warning, "Trust but verify." Instead of merely trusting the candidate's word, today, we verify it with the polygraph. Our officers get the best training in the world and twice the length. We are keeping the force drug free by testing candidates hair and urine samples.
The LAPD and the city are the better for all of it.
WILLIAM J. BRATTON
Chief of Police