During 1996, a team of researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) and University of California Los Angeles California (UCLA) approached the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) with a request to conduct a study, of the Department’s workforce, to assess how the Department ". . . was coping with the flood of changes prompted by the Rodney King incident." The six-year study included three surveys [over a four-year period from 1996 to 2000] and several ride-a-longs and interviews of more than 1,000 LAPD employees, from patrol officers and clerks to Chief of Police Bernard Parks and [former chiefs] Willie Williams and Bayan Lewis. On October 23, 2000, the team of researchers from UCLA and USC, who were involved in this joint effort, released a preliminary report on their findings.
The Department is appreciative of the efforts of Professors Wellford Wilms, Warren Schmidt and Alex Norman for their unselfish work in this study. As expressed by the researchers, any blueprint for success in the LAPD must be based on change that is initiated from within the organization. To this end, the Los Angeles Police Department remains committed to making any and all necessary changes for the betterment of the Department and the people of the Los Angeles community.
Of particular concern to the Department is the study’s finding that, according to the officers interviewed, their biggest single complaint with the Department is the disciplinary system. It is important to note that the current disciplinary system was implemented pursuant to the Christopher Commission Recommendations. After its introduction in 1998, modifications to the system were made in 1999 because of concerns expressed by Department personnel. It is the Department’s intention to continue to review the disciplinary system and continuously seek ways of improving the way we do business. However, at the same time, we must ensure we accomplish the intended goal of providing a vehicle for members of the public to voice their concerns or complaints about our performance.
As repeatedly noted by Professors Wilms, Norman and Schmidt, during their press conference on October 23, 2000, the Department offered full cooperation to the researchers and provided them with ". . . access to all aspects of the Department’s operations" during the life of this study. In an effort to increase the validity of the research and its subsequent findings, the Department played a major role in expanding the focus of the surveys, allowing for the collection and availability of increased data to the researchers. Additionally, it was as a result of the Department’s desire for the study to have legitimacy, that we facilitated its expansion from four geographic areas to nine geographic areas.
Chief Bernard Parks stated, " We recognized the importance of this research and wanted to lend our full support. We will take a very close look at the interim report and its findings, during our upcoming annual command staff officers meeting, to determine the necessary changes that would be in the best interest of the Los Angeles Police Department and the communities we serve. "
The completion of this research study and the opportunity for open access afforded to the researchers, is proof that the management of the Los Angeles Police Department is not insular to change or criticisms. Rather, it endorses the fact that the Department supports valid, credible research.
The Los Angeles Police Department values its employees. We recognize that our people are our most important resource. We encourage our employees to submit ideas and we will listen to them.
For further information regarding this press release, contact Media Relations Section at 213- 485-3586.