LOS ANGELES - We are pleased that several of the recommendations made by the Police Commission's Independent Review Panel closely track the ACLU's calls for reform repeatedly made over the years, but are disappointed in some of the details -- or lack of details -- in the Report. We agree with many of the findings of serious problems, but there is a disjunction between the Panel's findings of grave problems going to heart of the functioning of the police department and the Police Commission, and the Panel's mostly tepid recommendations for change.
We are disappointed that the Panel failed to recommend the creation of a civilian complaint review body, opposed greater independence of the Inspector General's Office, rejected the proposal that all five members of the Police Commission be full-time appointees, and supported the failed method of Mayoral appointment of all Commission members. Too often the Report exhorts the mayor and Commission members to work more closely together, without providing institutional changes to ensure this happens. Nor does the Report address fully the systemic problems in the criminal justice system, including the district attorney's office, the city attorney's office, and a court system that appears in many cases to have lost its devotion to impartiality and justice.
Broad changes called for by the ACLU that the Panel has also recommended include:
' Strengthening civilian oversight
' Changing the culture of the LAPD
' Establishing meaningful community policing
' Allowing whistleblowers to report misconduct to the Inspector General's office under assurance of anonymity
' Revamping the way in which officer involved shootings and use of force are investigated
Mere tinkering won't fix the problems. We urge city leaders to act quickly to ensure that adequate measures are adopted to strengthen civilian oversight of the LAPD, inject accountability into the department, and implement community policing - all of which are necessary to restore essential public confidence in the police.