Chief Charlie Beck’s Response to Settlement of West Traffic Officers” Lawsuits NR13527AS

December 10, 2013

Los Angeles:  Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved a settlement on two lawsuits filed by eleven current and former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) West Traffic Division (WTD) officers.  The settlement for the amount of $5.9 million among the eleven officers and their attorneys follows the payment of $2 million to two WTD officers that had prevailed at the earlier trial on similar allegations.  

"It is unfortunate that this case cost the city hard-earned taxpayers money.  The goal has always been to improve the productivity and accountability of our officers in order to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.  “We do not agree with the original jury’s findings, unfortunately the large jury award in the earlier court case made settling this case the most prudent business decision.”

The WTD case challenged the Department’s efforts to ensure productivity among traffic enforcement motorcycle officers assigned to WTD.  The primary duty assignment of motorcycle officers assigned to traffic enforcement is facilitating the safe movement of traffic and reducing serious injury and fatal traffic collisions.  Their primary tools are giving warnings and issuing citations for traffic violations that contribute to serious injuries and deaths.

In an effort to reduce serious injuries and deaths, WTD made the decision to set goals for reductions of these violations.  This was not a quota system under the law.  Specifically, the WTD traffic enforcement officers should spend 80% of their time enforcing Vehicle Code violations that could lead to serious injury or death.  The jury in the first lawsuit interpreted this as an unlawful quota and determined that the officers were retaliated against for not meeting the productivity goals.  This case involving the eleven WTD officers now being settled was filed after the jury award of $2 million in the first case.

The Department has taken steps to ensure that all divisions are using appropriate measures to evaluate officers’ productivity.   The Department is committed to maintaining a workplace free from retaliation and all other types of unlawful discrimination and we will continue to strive for that goal.  

For further information please contact LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.