Sounds like a fine last chapter, but it is really the just the beginning of a new book. It is imperative not to rest on past reform accomplishments. The release from the consent decree states that what remains to be seen is how the LAPD will continue to reform, especially when a new mayor and new commission come into play.
It says: “The question is: Will the institutions of Los Angeles, under new management, be able to protect and enhance the reforms that have been achieved?” And I believe that to be only half the question. We also need to look deep at how to be better.
Today is the beginning of a critical time period where we have to continue to make serious improvements in order to positively answer that question. The stakes are enormous. They touch us all.
The community policing model embraced by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck needs to be supported, expanded, technologically improved and celebrated by this department and every single business in this great city.
For example, we need the technology of in-car cameras, complemented or supplemented by lapel/on-body cameras soon. I mean within 18 months, not 18 years!
To quote from the Consent Decree Final Report, “This initiative is critical and will protect against biased policing while enhancing officer safety and risk management analysis, and mitigating liability claims.” It will save tens of millions of dollars in court cases, thousands of man hours in both the LAPD and City Attorney’s Office, and serve to further cut crime as “he said, she said” arguments will be a thing of the past.
This commission, supported by this mayor, this chief, this department, this City Council, this L.A. Police Protective League, this community of organized labor, this Police Foundation and you, stands ready to do its job to help the Los Angeles Police Department protect and serve.
As we start on this mission, I ask, “Are YOU Doing All YOU Can?”
Steve Soboroff is president of the Los Angeles Police Commission. Long active in civic affairs, he also is chairman of the Weingart Foundation. He is the former chairman and chief executive of Playa Vista.