Keep Chief Out Of Political Debate, Shea Urges

March 8, 2001

Should LAPD Chief Bernard C. Parks be retained by the next Mayor of Los Angeles? Joe Shea, who has feuded with the chief over deployment of Senior Lead Officers and LAPD support for liquor licenses in high crime areas like his central Hollywood neighborhood, says he may or may not keep Parks — but that won’t depend on Parks’ political support, he said.
"Frankly, I think it’s very dangerous to start basing the chief’s tenure on who he may have offended when he took steps to improve performance and discipline," Shea said Thursday.
"I got a call last week from someone at an LAPD service center who said he’d talked with police officers and got their backing for a plan to hold a series of town meetings around the city that would be used to discredit Chief Parks and amplify calls for his resignation," Shea said.
"That kind of activity is fundamentally destructive of any organization where inbsubordination can disrupt the chain of command, and it can endanger lives. Yet by politicizing the issue of whether Chief Parks will be retained, we invite just that kind of problem.
"Suddenly there is an incentive to undermine the chief, to make him look ineffective and damage the credibility and vitality of his office. That’s why politics and police don’t mix, and why the so-called ‘leading’ candidates ought to leave specific personnel issues out of their press releases and concentrate on telling us what they will do for the city they have almost brought to ruin," said Shea, a pro-secession candidate for Mayor and editor of the online daily newspaper The American Reporter.
The next mayor ought to be able to make the key personnel decision on the chief’s future in an atmosphere free from the high-intensity political combat fueled by a $12 million pool of campaign contributions from special interests, Shea added.
In other campaign news, Shea revealed that seven defendants in a multimillion pyramid fraud Shgea exposed in The American Reporter have now pleaded guilty. in Los Angeles Superior Court and are awaiting sentencing. Shea won First Prize for Best Internet News Story for the expose at the 2000 Southern California Journalism Awards last summer. The case was investigated by LAPD’s Financial Crimes section and Det. Michael Yang.