After eight years heading one of the nation’s largest police agencies, retiring Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck gives TCR a frank assessment of the challenges of being a big-city reform chief, what it takes to change the culture of American policing today, and some key lessons he learned.
The nation’s most populous county is embarking on an overhaul of its juvenile justice system that could, in the long run, all but end the practice of arresting and prosecuting youth under 18, except for the most serious crimes.
The state’s program has stopped bomb threats, suicides, murders, and prevented people from getting continuously bullied or threatened. It isn’t perfect, but it has saved lives and even won support from the ACLU, writes a former LAPD commander.
Less than half the rape suspects reported to police end in an arrest, two researchers found in a study of cases investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department and the LA County Sheriff’s Department during 2008. Detectives told the researchers they made arrest decisions based on perceptions about whether the suspect could be successfully prosecuted.
As Beck prepares to retire after eight years, he leaves behind a police agency that has dramatically changed its image as an “occupying force” in the city’s black and brown neighborhoods, and become a national model for police reform, writes Joe Domanick, author of two books about the LAPD.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says the Chesapeake Apartments, plagued by violent crime for decades, are a serious threat to public safety. He is suing to prompt safety improvements, and he says the owner of the complex should be ordered to live there until the problems are resolved.
A Los Angeles entertainment lawyer has turned the city’s police commission into a force for addressing police abuse. His first goal: reducing the officer-involved shootings that have become the civil rights issue of the 21st century for young African Americans through “de-escalation” strategies.
In an unusual move, the city’s Police Commission dedicated its entire weekly meeting to the issue of officer bias against minorities. No bias complaint has ever been upheld by the LAPD, but residents and community activists, both black and Latino, shared stories of moments they felt profiled by police. “They fear the police,” said one activist.
Tuesday’s session is designed as a “robust discussion” of allegations of biased policing, what incoming officers learn about bias during their time in the academy and how supervisors are trained to guard against it. The LAPD has prepared a 143-page report for the meeting.