The Los Angeles Police Department is struggling to fill vacancies in gang units as a financial disclosure rule meant to fight corruption has been received by many rank-and-file cops as an insult — and a deal-breaker when it comes to working the tough gangland assignments, reports the Los Angeles Times. After years of contentious battles with police union representatives, police officials pushed through a policy in April that requires gang officers to disclose details of their personal finances.
Intended to help supervisors catch cops who are taking bribes or to identify officers in financial straits who might be tempted to stray, the policy has considerable reach: Officers must disclose outside income, real estate, stocks, and other assets. They also have to report the size of bank accounts and debts, including mortgages and credit cards. And the disclosures apply to any financial holdings a cop shares with family members and business partners. When it went into effect, then-Chief William Bratton and other officials insisted that the policy would have little effect on recruiting and retaining gang cops and vowed to block efforts by officers to leave gang units en masse in protest. Erosion in the ranks is apparent. Police officers and gang unit supervisors across the city say the number of officers dedicated to fighting gangs is beginning to drop. Ttop brass now acknowledge that they must do more to confront discontent and distrust.