Speed urged on complaints against police

first_img Lillo said that after years of spikes and drops as the LAPD enforced the new rules, the range of 5,000 to 6,000 complaints seems “more normal.” In recent years, about two-thirds of the complaints have come from the public and one-third from within the department. LAPD officials tried to put the numbers into perspective, noting that officers make hundreds of thousands of arrests and citations each year while interacting with people in countless scenarios. The commissioners continued to press for more information, though, particularly about how officers are disciplined when complaints are found to be valid. Of 1,288 sustained complaints in 2005, 134 resulted in no penalty to the employee. The rules are intentionally subjective to allow supervisors to avoid imposing a penalty if the misconduct is very minor, Lillo said. Commission President John Mack pushed for more objective guidelines. “What may be minor in the mind of one person may be major in the mind of someone else,” he said. The number of employees disciplined last year, 421, was down from 784 in 2004 and 645 in 2003. Lillo said the numbers for previous years were artificially high because the LAPD was clearing out a backlog of complaints. Two City Council members, including Bernard Parks, who was LAPD chief when the complaint system was strengthened, sent a letter to the commission late last week encouraging a thorough review. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles Police Department officials defended their system for handling complaints against LAPD personnel after members of a city commission, meeting Tuesday, called for speedier action. In response to police commissioners’ concerns about a recent report showing an increasing number of complaints, Cmdr. Eric Lillo, who heads the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Group, presented data showing the annual number of complaints has fluctuated over the years and now appears to be at a level he considers normal. The department, meeting its requirement a the federal court consent decree overseeing the agency, probes each complaint within several months, Lillo said. Commissioner Shelley Freeman said the goal should be for even speedier action. “Four or five months seems like a long time.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The LAPD is still investigating 57 complaints from 2004 and nine from 2003, according to data released Tuesday. Lillo said most of the older complaints concern “complicated criminal investigations, perhaps involving the FBI or undercover investigative teams.” The LAPD changed its rules in the late 1990s to make it easier for members of the public to lodge complaints against officers and other police employees. As the department adjusted to the new system, the number of complaints investigated boomed from 1,166 in 2000 to 9,053 in 2002. There were 6,520 complaints initiated against police and other department staff last year, up from 6,471 in 2004 and 5,276 in 2003. last_img