The Los Angeles Police Department enters an important stage tomorrow in its reform after the Rampart corruption scandal, beginning two years in which it must show “substantial compliance” with scores of federally mandated changes, reports the Los Angeles Times. U.S. District Judge Garry Feess is expected to look at the “totality of the circumstances” in deciding whether to end or extend the consent decree, said Michael Cherkasky, assigned by the judge to monitor progress. Even if there are failures over the next two years, the LAPD could still meet the overall goal if the sum and substance of broad-based, meaningful reform were achieved.
At a news conference today, Mayor James Hahn and Police Chief William Bratton will discuss compliance issues and what they hope will be the last two years of federal oversight. Federal officials forced the department to enter into the reforms after the U.S. Department of Justice found a pattern of violations of the civil rights of residents. The court mandate followed the Rampart corruption scandal, in which a former officer told authorities that he and other officers had routinely falsified evidence, framed suspects, and covered up unjustifiable shootings. Under the decree, imposed in 2001, the LAPD has until June 15, 2006, to have shown two years of substantial compliance with the reforms concerning response to civilian complaints, collection of data, investigation into use-of-force incidents involving officers, and supervision of undercover officers.