February 8, 2011 2:08 pm Published by

As Los Angeles is moving away from their reputation as the nation’s gang capital, LAPD officers are walking away from their jobs due to a new rule forced on the department by a Federal consent decree. This rule is aimed at getting rid of corruption by requiring gang and narcotics officers to submit for scrutiny their personal financial records. This rule has been a long time coming as a result of the notorious Rampart division corruption scandal. During that scandal it was learned that dozens of the officers in the LAPD’s former gang unit were beating suspects, dealing drugs, planting evidence, and lying to cover it up.

A large amount of officers have refused to comply with the rule and as a result gang units have been temporarily disbanded in 6 of the LAPD’s 21 divisions. The gang unit officers are returning to street patrol and gang units are being rebuilt over time with new recruits. Some are worried that the new recruits wont be ready by summer when gang activity tends to rise. But on the other hand, violent crime is at its lowest level in more than 30 years. This could be the appropriate time for a new generation of officers to change the game. Just as gangs have changed in the last decade, so have the LAPD’s tactics. The new units may bring in with them new strategies and a fresh mind-set. The veterans however, have built relationships on the streets. Connie Rice, head of the Advancement Project, said “You know who’s reliable, who’s an addict. People trust you, so they’ll pick up the phone and tell you what’s going on.”

“The officers who care more about the community and its safety than about their own personal rights, they’re not yet in the majority,” Rice said. “I hate to say that, because I admire LAPD. They put their lives on the line every day. But that’s still a pretty self-centered perspective.” She went on to say “What you need is for them to think ‘I hate this rule, but I’m going to do what’s good for the community.’ About half of them get that. And that’s not enough.”

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