Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jan 2008
Source: Los Angeles City Beat (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Southland Publishing
Note: Also prints Los Angeles Valley Beat, often with similar 
content, and the same contact information.
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


OK, we aren't big fans of needless paperwork and don't care to share 
too much information about our personal finances. But, come on, who 
does the police union expect to fall for their empty threats that 600 
well-paid drug cops will bail from their jobs if forced to comply 
with new financial disclosure rules aimed at heading off a repeat of 
the Rampart scandal?

In a radio commercial, Tim Sands, president of the Los Angeles Police 
Protective League, says drug cops face possible "identity theft" if 
they must turn over detailed tax returns, bank account information 
and other details of their financial holdings every two years. The 
new rules, approved last month by the police commission, are called 
for in the ongoing federal consent decree, which gave federal judge 
Gary Feess the power to oversee how the department is run in the 
aftermath of the Rampart scandal that rocked the department a decade ago.

Feess has yet to sign off on the model backed by the commission, but 
it's high time to call the police union's bluff and make the drug 
detectives, who handle thousands of dollars of money and drugs every 
year, abide by these basic accounting rules. We want only the 
cleverest cops to get away with hiding a mint of cash in offshore 
accounts. These proposed rules will deter most pedestrian schemes, 
or, at least, hamper the likes of another Rafael Perez from taking 
down the department.

And don't get us wrong. We respect and adore the majority of 
thousands of men and women on the force. These guidelines are not 
meant to insult them, but are a small step to ensure sound and 
ethical behavior by the less morally inclined.

While we're at it, can we come to some agreement on the proper use of 
the term "identity theft?" It's used far too often for what are more 
black-and-white credit card thefts. Let's reserve it for, say, Roger 
Mahony, the corrupt pedophile protector masquerading as a god-fearing 
cardinal or for someone who fully takes on the identity of another 
person. Those are serious cases. But stealing credit information 
online or tapping into someone's bank account amounts to 
old-fashioned electronic fraud. Being a victim of such systemic crime 
is bad news enough and can reach damages in the thousands of dollars. 
But no need to exaggerate things by trying to claim an online thief 
has stolen anything but your dough.

So Mr. Sands, calm down, and prepare to fill out some meddlesome reports.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom