Pubdate: Mon, 18 Dec 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-7679
Author: Editorial


The Clinton Justice Department pushed, pulled and prodded Los Angeles
into agreeing to a federal consent decree mandating reform in the
aftermath of the Police Department's Rampart Division scandal. But
President-elect George W. Bush has repeatedly stated his opposition to
such decrees, saying that he believes police matters are best handled

The coming change in Washington puts a premium on an
increased local commitment to police reform. If city leaders keep the
pressure on to make sure that the decree is enforced, the people of
Los Angeles will be best assured that police scandal cannot recur.

That's why it was gratifying to see the Police Commission display
unity last week when it adopted the first few of several
recommendations from its Rampart Independent Review Panel. Of
particular importance was the commission's unanimous decision to allow
its inspector general access to the deliberations of officer-involved
shooting review boards.

Such resolve should continue next month when
the Police Commission takes up several more of the review panel's

Late last week, a search to fill the post of
independent federal monitor of the LAPD officially began. The monitor
will assume a five-year job, determining whether a number of police
reforms agreed to by city leaders and the Justice Department are
carried out. All this grows out of the Rampart scandal, in which
officers, among other things, faked crime scenes, falsified reports,
planted weapons on suspects and perjured themselves.

The monitor will have a tough job, one that includes working with a
traditionally insular LAPD to make sure that the department has in
place within two years a sophisticated computerized system for tracking
the conduct of police officers. Also, the monitor will report on whether the
LAPD properly pursues new reforms, including rules on how police work
with confidential informants.

It can be done as long as local leadership lives up to its responsibilities
to keep the LAPD reform process on track.
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MAP posted-by: Derek