The ACLU of Southern California announced its support today for LAPD Chief Bernard Parks' request to bring in a team of FBI agents to help investigate the most serious scandal in the department's history.

'This is a constructive development,' said executive director Ramona Ripston. 'Federal agents will help uncover the depth and breadth of the current scandal.

'However, asking for help with the investigation should not divert our attention from the need to have an independent blue ribbon panel look at the Los Angeles Police Department to determine what changes in policies and practices are necessary to bring about needed reform,' Ripston continued. 'The panel's mandate should include a look at the entire criminal justice system to find out if prosecutors and judges ignored evidence of deep-seated corruption. Until changes are put in place, we cannot be assured that a scandal of this magnitude will not happen again. Public confidence will be restored only when an independent commission recommends systemic changes, with a procedure in place to ensure that changes are actually implemented.'