LAPD Chief of Police Requests More Authority with Disciplinary Actions
Currently, when a Los Angeles police officer has a recommendation for being fired, the officer must first be seen by a three-member Board of Rights before anything happens. According to LAPD Chief Michel Moore, the system is flawed and almost always results in favor of the officer. The board will then recommend a punishment that the chief of police can choose to enforce. The chief can also decrease the proposed discipline but cannot increase the severity of the punishment offered up by the board.
Chief Moore believes this process is flawed and that the board is much too tolerant of bad behavior by officers. Moore instead would like to have the entirety of powers regarding when to fire an officer solely at his discretion without interference by the board. Citing other police agencies, Moore pointed out that when police chiefs decide to fire an officer they have the full ability to do so. Only a city manager or a court can overturn their decision.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League disagrees with Chief Moore. The LAPPL is a union that represents the interests of LAPD officers. According to Craig Lally, president of LAPPL, the board is necessary to keep a police chief’s powers in check and the board is working perfectly as it was meant to do. Lally believes that officers will not be given due process when they are accused of misconduct without the oversight the board offers. Lally also pointed to a large number of instances where Moore was able to fire officers, mentioning 18 last year alone.
In addition to a proposal to bypass the board for firings, Moore also wanted to have changes made to the law which doesn’t allow him to speak about the details of individual disciplinary cases. Currently, in the state of California, the law prevents the chief from shedding light on why a decision to discipline an officer was made. Moore believes that he should have the right to explain why he makes the decisions that he does so the public has full knowledge of how and why an action was taken.
What is the Board of Rights?
The Board of Rights is a three-person panel that examines the behavior of LAPD officers to determine penalties. The panel consists of two high-ranking LAPD officers and the third-panel member is a civilian. When officers are accused of misconduct, the board can determine if they will be fired or they can recommend penalties. When an investigation into a report of serious wrongdoing by an officer shows that the officer was in violation of LAPD policy the chief of police is notified. If the chief agrees with the investigation, the officer doesn’t immediately face punishment. The officer must be seen by the Board of Rights where he/she has the ability to challenge the charges. The Board of Rights will make a decision on if an officer will be fired from their job or if they will be penalized. They can also determine what penalty the officer faces if any.
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