The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is an independent entity, established through a voter-approved amendment to the Los Angeles City Charter in 1995, charged with providing civilian oversight of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD or Department). The OIG supports the Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) – a five-member civilian panel that acts as the head of the Department – and the public by providing information and analysis regarding the conduct and performance of the LAPD. The OIG is commonly referred to as the “eyes and ears” of the BOPC.
The mission of the OIG is to: (1) provide strong, independent, and effective oversight of the LAPD; (2) ensure that all LAPD employees act with honesty, dignity, and respect toward the public; and (3) conduct community outreach to educate the public about the OIG, the BOPC, and the LAPD. The position of Inspector General reports directly to the BOPC and is completely outside the chain-of-command of the Chief of Police (COP).
The creation of the OIG was one of the major reform recommendations issued by the Christopher Commission, which examined the LAPD’s operations following the beating of Rodney King by officers in 1991. Among other things, the Christopher Commission recommended placing a civilian with no connection to the Department in a position to monitor, audit, and oversee the Department’s disciplinary system. Since its inception, the OIG’s authorities and responsibilities have expanded beyond simply the review of investigations into complaints of misconduct. The OIG now has the authority to initiate an audit or investigation into any aspect of the LAPD, and it has unfettered access to all Department records, facilities, databases, and personnel in order to complete its work effectively.
In addition to its administrative support team, the OIG operates in four primary focus areas. First, the OIG reviews and analyzes all serious uses of force by LAPD officers, including officer-involved shootings and other uses of force that result in death or hospitalization. Second, the OIG oversees the LAPD’s internal disciplinary process, monitoring various investigations into misconduct and acting as an intake point for complaints against LAPD employees. Third, the OIG conducts reviews and audits into a wide variety of the Department’s operations in order to ensure compliance with policy and the law, identify systemic issues of concern, and recommend corrective actions to the BOPC for its consideration. Finally, the OIG conducts community outreach to ensure that it is acting as an accessible and effective service to the public.
The OIG is staffed by civilian professionals with diverse backgrounds relevant to the oversight of law enforcement. Staff experience includes investigations, audits, legal analysis, prior law enforcement, public policy, data analysis, and other areas of professional relevance. The current Inspector General is Mark P. Smith.
For more information about the OIG, follow the hyperlink above to visit its website.