League of Women Voters of California
Police Officer Discipline
City of Los Angeles
Index of all Measures
|Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments ||
Shall Section 1070 of the Charter be amended to bring about the following , among other, changes or clarifications in the police officer disciplinary procedure: officers (not the City) will provide for their representation in administrative proceedings, subpoenas will be available during disciplinary investigations, the double jeopardy defense to disciplinary charges will be removed, and officers will pay for hearing transcripts except where the Department obtained the transcript?
THE SITUATION: The Los Angeles City Charter provides for a police discipline system that protects both the rights of police officers and the public. The Los Angeles Police Department has proposed the following changes as a way of improving the existing system.
THE PROPOSAL: This proposed Charter amendment would make changes to disciplinary procedures within the Police Department and to the related powers and duties of the Police Commission and the Chief of Police.
This measure modifies existing Charter section 1070 entitled "Rights and Due Process Procedures" for the Police Department. The proposed amendment would include the following changes:
Voters of the City of Los Angeles approved Charter changes in 1934 (effective in 1935) that created virtually identical systems of discipline for police officers in the Police Department and firefighters in the Fire Department. In 1992, voters modified the Police Department's disciplinary system, changing the composition of a Board of Rights from three command offices to two command officers and one civilian, extending the period of time given to the Department to bring charges for misconduct, and allowing demotions in rank as a disciplinary penalty. In 1995, voters approved a Charter amendment that, among other things, gave the Chief of Police the authority to reinstate an officer who had been temporarily relieved from duty, authorized individual Police Commission members to subpoena a witness or evidence, and provided the Chief with two additional options (demotion, or suspension and demotion) for disciplining officers who fail to appear at a Board of Rights hearing with no reasonable excuse. When a new Charter was approved by voters in 1999, the fundamentals of the police officer disciplinary system were left intact.
Under the proposed Charter amendment:
|Arguments For Proposition 1||Arguments Against Proposition 1|
|Section 1070 of the City Charter creates the
structure for holding police officers accountable for misconduct while
protecting them from false charges and retaliation for doing their job
properly. This amendment strengthens the City's ability to hold corrupt
officers accountable for their misconduct without diminishing the
protections afforded to honest hardworking police officers.
When a corrupt officer uses his or her position to violate the law, the integrity of the entire Criminal Justice System is diminished. When a corrupt officer hides behind the safeguards that protect honest officers, it weakens the public's trust in the City's ability to hold officers accountable. This amendment closes the loopholes that have allowed officers to escape accountability for their misconduct.
The amendment brings the Charter into line with the new protections provided for police officers by State law. It transfers the responsibility for representing accused officers to their Police Union just like other employees of the Police Department. The current procedures were developed before a police officer had the right to join or form a Union. The current procedures are outdated and should be changed.
This amendment also clarifies language in several sections to strengthen the protections of confidential personnel records, codifies long-standing procedures, and most importantly, ensures that the disposition of serious misconduct cases remains open to public scrutiny.
Join with us in strengthening the City's ability to hold corrupt cops accountable. VOTE YES ON CHARTER AMENDMENT 1 and let justice prevail.
Richard J. Riordan, Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Bernard C. Parks, Chief of Police, Los Angeles Police Department
Mike Feuer, Councilmember, 5th District
Rocky Delgadillo, Deputy Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Cindy Miscikowski, Councilmember, 11th District; Chair, Public Safety Committee
Mitzie Grasso, President, Los Angeles Police Protective League
Joel Wachs, Councilmember, 2nd District; Member, Public Safety Committee
|No argument against this measure was submitted.|