Los Angeles: In a recent news release issued by Los Angeles Police Protective League, Union President Mitzi Grasso continued her personal attacks on the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), via the Chief of Police. These attacks ran the gamut of suggesting that the Los Angeles Police Commission not consider renewing the Chief of Police’s contract based on the Department’s performance in the arena of crime levels, to, in the union’s words, “. . .the state of community-policing under Chief Parks”; the Department’s disciplinary system to personnel shortages and the reasons therefore.
Ironically, while Mitzi Grasso has gone on a nation-wide campaign claiming that LAPD officers’ morale is at an all-time low, these actions serve no purpose other than to, in the eyes of others, diminish the effectiveness of the same Department whose morale, she claims, is at an all-time low.
The League cites high crime and lower arrests to justify their claim of low morale. These claims however, lack credible supporting evidence. At best, they are based on anecdotal information. On this issue of crime, it is premature to view the level of safety of the Los Angeles community or get a true picture of crime, based solely on snapshots of crime in communities. One has to assess crime over a period of time in order to ascertain a true picture. In choosing only to report on crime for the year 2001 period, a grave disservice to the community is done, as a result of one’s failure to put these figures in perspective. The League failed to provide the public with the necessary data used to support their claims. The facts are as follows:
FACT 1: In 1997, the year that Chief of Police Bernard Parks took Office, there were 205,811 Part I Crimes reported. At year-end 2000, that number was reduced to 165,069.
FACT 2: In 1997, there were 205,811 reported Part I crimes and 41,889 related arrests. In the Year 2000, there were 165,069 reported part I crimes and a corresponding 32,551 arrests. Based on these figures, the ratio of arrests to crimes in 1997 was .20 while the ratio in 2000 was also .20.
FACT 3: At year-end 2000, reported violent crimes in the City of Los Angeles totaled 35,467; NOT 50,132 as wrongly reported by the League in their news release. At year-end 1997, reported violent crimes in the City of Los Angeles totaled 56,976; NOT 41,315 as under-reported by the League. Clearly, at the end of year 2000, there was a decrease in reported violent crimes in the City than in year 1997.
In citing the number of resignations by sworn employees, the League conveniently neglected to cite the reasons for the resignation (i.e., officers resigning in lieu terminations or pending other disciplinary action, family illnesses, other career plans, physical and/or emotional limitations, other law enforcement agencies, or other personal reasons). Even when an officer elects to go to another law enforcement, one has to closely review the reasons for leaving, instead of prematurely assuming that the reasons are linked to morale.
The League reported that 447 sworn personnel have left the Department since the beginning of the year 2001. These numbers presented by the LAPPL are absolutely erroneous and one must wonder as to the reason for these inflated statistics bantered by the LAPPL. The fact is that for the period of January 2001 to July 1, 2001, 203 sworn employees left the Department for various reasons. The reasons and corresponding numbers are as follows:
Disability Pensions – 4
Other Law Enforcement Agencies – 72
Personal Reasons (which include resignations in lieu of termination or other disciplinary actions) – 44
Service Retirements – 33 (Note: Tenure ranged from 21 to 35 years of service)
Medical Reasons/Family Illness – 7
Terminations – 7
Recruits in the Academy – 13
Other Career Changes – 3
If the League truly believes that a decision to renew the Chief’s contract should be made based on his performance, then performance should be judged based on his total tenure in Office and not on a capriciously selected period of time. Since taking office in 1997 to the present, the many accomplishments by the Department include, but are not limited to the following:
Part I crimes decreased from 236,797 to 179,999 at year ending 2000. As of July 14, 2001, the number of reported Part I crimes is 91,050. At this pace, by year-end, we will be more than fifty percent less than where we were in 1996.
Department implemented its management accountability process known as FASTRAC to focus on making all LAPD operational, management, administrative, crime prevention and reduction systems more effective.
In association with the Los Angeles Unified School District, approved the Citywide establishment of the Safe House Program. Since this approval, the program has evolved into a successful, national program publicized by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, through its McGruff “Take a Bite out of Crime” Program.
The establishment of a new non-emergency number (1-877-ASK-LAPD) to provide an attractive alternative to calling 9-1-1 for non-emergency business, thereby reducing the number of non-emergency calls to the 9-1-1 emergency system.
Implemented the Family Violence Detail (FVD). The detail investigates all cases of domestic violence, physical elder abuse, and child abuse not handled by Juvenile Division. The purpose of the FVD is to treat family violence holistically, and ensure the investigation addresses all aspects of violence in the family.
LAPD officers, because of dedicated training and their commitment to public service, kept the City safe during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
In 1998, the LAPD’s Criminalistics Laboratory successfully achieved national accreditation by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Board. As one of only 200 accredited crime laboratories, this accreditation demonstrated to the world that the LAPD’s laboratory has met the level of quality deemed necessary to properly collect and analyze and evaluate physical evidence.
A complete listing of the many significant accomplishments of the Department is available for media and can be attained from the Department’s Media Relations Section.
Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer in Charge, Media Relations Section, noted, “In reviewing the League’s press release, it was interesting to see the LAPPL tout the fact that the League represents more than 9,000 dedicated sworn members of the Los Angeles Police Department. These are the same sworn members that the LAPPL has, in the past, stated are so demoralized that they refuse to do police work; instead they just drive around in their police cars and wave. Of course, the Department has always refuted this representation by the League and others, and remains steadfast in its position that 99 percent of ALL Department employees [both sworn and non-sworn] are dedicated, hard working and truly committed to serving the people of this community.”
For further information regarding this release, contact Media Relations Section at 213-485-3586.