Struggling to lure more officers, the Los Angeles Police Department is joining a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the nation in considering less stringent recruitment rules, reports the city’s Times. Police Chief William J. Bratton said he was drawing up the proposed changes, which would end the LAPD’s zero-tolerance rule toward past marijuana use and make it easier for the department to hire people with bad credit histories.
Bratton’s idea has ignited a debate within the department, with some fearing that lower standards would bring problem officers to the force and create the potential for more misconduct and corruption. Others question whether people who admit to breaking the law in the past can be trusted not to commit crimes in the future. But outside law enforcement experts said it would not be a radical departure from what many other agencies already are doing. Some said the rules would end up making the LAPD look more like the population it serves. Bratton said some of the LAPD’s standards regarding drug use and a candidate’s financial history may be “artificially high.”