"Integrity Check by LAPD Results in Arrest of One of its Own"
Los Angeles – – On Saturday, December 14, 2002, investigators assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division arrested one of their own, 29 year-old Police Officer Richard Piffard, assigned to West Valley Patrol Division.
Several weeks ago, the Department received information from an anonymous source, leading us to believe that Piffard may have been involved in nefarious activity involving the illegal possession of firearms. Based on this information, the Department conducted an integrity check. The check revealed that Piffard failed to book firearms turned over to him, as required. Based on the evidence acquired during the investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department arrested Piffard, a seven-year veteran of the Department, on December 14, 2002 and recovered several firearms from his vehicle. He was arrested in the West Valley Area and booked at Parker Center Metropolitan Jail for the illegal possession of a firearm with a silencer. Shortly thereafter, he posted bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 9, 2003.
Subsequent to Piffard’s arrest, the Department executed search warrants at his residence and workplace storage locker. During the search, evidence was discovered, leading investigators to believe that Piffard was in control of storage space in the Las Vegas Area and that the location may be the site of illegal firearms. Teaming up with investigators from the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, LAPD investigators executed a search at a storage facility, under the control of Piffard, in Las Vegas. As a result of the search, numerous guns were recovered from this location. Weapons recovered included a fully automatic Mach-11 assault rifle, an AK-47 assault rifle, a .22 caliber long rifle with a silence and other assault rifles, all illegal to own. Investigations into Piffard’s activities are on-going.
LAPD Chief of Police William Bratton, responding to this incident, remarked, "It is ironic that at a crucial time when the Department is battling the issue of gun-violence in the City, that we have a police officer illegally being in possession of these dangerous firearms. If there is a silver lining in all this, it is that a member of the community, sensing something was wrong, felt confident bringing the matter to the Department’s attention, knowing that this Department would fully investigate it and take the necessary action." Chief Bratton continued, "It is always sad when a member of this Department [or the law enforcement community, for that matter] chooses to violate the law and engage in illegal activity. But this sadness will never be a deterrent for us aggressively pursuing such individuals and securing the trust and confidence of the community."
This release was prepared by Lieutenant Horace Frank, Officer-in-Charge, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.