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The Commission Decision

... time to begin a shared new chapter

Bill Murray - 4/9/02

Police Commission rejects the Chief's bid for reappointment

The LAPD Board of Police Commissioners, the five person civilian group charged with oversight of the Department, voted four to one to deny the Chief's request for a new five year term.

Here is the entire text explaining their decision, which was delivered by Commission President Rick Caruso at Parker Center today:

Los Angeles Police Commission Statement
April 9, 2002

The Police Commission made a commitment to the Chief of this City that the reappointment process would be fair, honest, thorough and guided by the interest of this great City as a whole. We have listened carefully and candidly to those passionately committed to making this City better for people living throughout Los Angeles with differing views and opinions, yet who are all united in a deep desire to do the best possible for our City. We have worked within the limits of our City Charter that was recently adopted by the citizens of Los Angeles.

I am proud of the hard work and dedication of my fellow commissioners. This process has been difficult due to the volume of material, genuine care and concern that we feel for this City, separating fact from fiction and avoidance of unproductive political rhetoric. Today, we stand here with a decision that may not be liked by all, but will hopefully be accepted by the residents because it is arrived at by relying on facts, on those things which can be measured, can be gauged, can be assessed and weighed, which are beyond dispute, along with this Commission's experience in working with Chief Parks.

Looking at the facts we can see, under Chief Parks, if crime has risen or fallen. We can know what kinds of crimes are increasing or decreasing. We can see how Los Angeles compares to other similar cities across America. Is there a trend showing that our City is safer in recent years? Are neighborhoods throughout all of Los Angeles less victimized by violent crime? Is the Department healthy, in top shape under his leadership?

And so over the course of the last few months, we have carefully and deliberately looked at and examined Chief Parks' record based upon merit as he asked to be judged. Chief Parks has done any noteworthy things as Chief and during his long career with LAPD. He has made the Department more diverse; has launched the computerized crime response system known as FASTRAC and has demanded a more disciplined Department. In Chief Parks record, there are also many areas where his actions do not measure up, where his leadership has fallen short.

Although his prior evaluation has noted the need for areas of improvement as a leader in dealing with the Commission, the need to be more flexible in considering alternative methods of addressing problems, and acknowledging that officer morale is his responsibility, we have seen no improvement nor a measurable effort to give this Commission confidence that the Chief will make a sincere commitment to change in these critical areas. And although the Chief should be complimented on instituting a discipline system that demands respect for all residents, he has failed to respond appropriately and quickly to revise the system to provide a sense of fairness and equity in dealing with the officers. It is that type inflexibility and denial of a systemic problem within the Department that in part has caused poor morale and attrition of officers.

Violent crime has continued to rise, while according to FBI statistics, cities such as New York and Chicago are experiencing a drop in violent crime. In the first three months of this year, homicides in Los Angeles are up over 30%. In fact, since 1999, violent crime is up and continues to rise; a trend this Commission can not and should not ignore.

The rise in crime needs to be juxtaposed against another fact. LAPD is over 1100 officers short. As crime rises, LAPD's ability to fight crime is diminished. LAPD statistics show that although crime is up, arrests are down. The Department is suffering a profound loss of confidence. Today, the Los Angeles Police Department is a department in crises, a Department losing officers at an alarming rate, while other neighborhood police agencies, such as LA County Sheriff's Department, have increased the number of officers. Veteran officers are abandoning the LAPD in record numbers as our academy struggles to fill classes. Trust and confidence between those in uniform and their Chief has been mortally wounded. The Department, similar to all organizations, needs a leader who is demanding, but fair; accepts responsibility and seeks solutions; who is capable of energizing and motivating the men and women in the field and who can communicate and relate to his subordinates. This organization is near the point where it finds itself no longer having the capacity to perform at its required potential. In order to effectively fight crime, the LAPD needs larger, stronger and more motivated force. The residents of this City spend over $1 billion per year to ensure their safety. The residents are paying for and deserve the best law enforcement agency in the country.

The facts have led us where we are today. The Chief's evaluation for the period starting June 1999 reaffirms our concerns. A subsequent review, cited by the Chief, lays out dramatic improvement on the Chief's part, however, this review was never approved by the prior commission.

Many things have been said about Chief Parks, pro and con. Yet in the end, every man is the guardian of his own honor while on the job by virtue of what he does. Words-positive or negative-are of little consequences, of little value, when seen against the clarifying light of actions. In the end, our ideals are only as good as what we do, our actions. To Chief Parks, who has given 37 years to the Police Department, we offer a deep and abiding thank you, an appreciation for a past that belongs to an honored tradition. Today we continue moving forward. There will not be backsliding from the reforms and advances made to date. Today we begin a shared new chapter in our City's history, not to turn back to old policies, but to continue moving forward to building a greater Los Angeles Police Department.

As this Commission said at the outset, when all of us started on this shared mission many months ago, our task is to be fair and to truly look at the facts and to reach a true and just decision. And this we have done.

With regrets, the Commission by a vote of four to one, must deny the Chief's request for a new five year term.


Note: This list will not be shared with any other group, nor will it be used for purposes other than promoting Los Angeles Community Policing.

Yours in service,

Bill Murray
Bobbie Logan

Thank you for supporting your LAPD Officers.


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Los Angeles Community Policing