We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
Gather around folks. Have I got a story to tell you.
As we continue to take a closer look at the candidates eligible for Commander within the Los Angeles Police Department, we call your attention to one Captain Jeffrey Bert of the Strategic Planning Group but formally of Northeast Division.
Captain Bert is no stranger to regular readers of my blog. When last we spoke of Bert, we told you about how he was the genius in charge during the three nights of protests decrying a Ferguson grand jury’s decision to not indict the officer involved in the killing of Michael Brown. We reminded you that this was the same Captain Bert in charge of Northeast Division where the Los Angeles Times noted “the highest misclassification rate was found in the LAPD’s Central Bureau — which includes downtown, northeast and east L.A. — and where 13% of minor assaults were incorrectly categorized.” We told you about how Captain Bert was named in a civil lawsuit filed by a 34-year veteran of the Department for discrimination, harassment and retaliation and that according to the Los Angeles Times, “a department review found Northeast Division’s staffing levels were skewed many days by the use of so-called ghost cars — a scheme in which officers are shown to be in the field when they are actually behind a desk or working non-patrol duty.”
Well Captain Bert was recently assigned to one of the Department’s HIB (Hiding in the Building) divisions better known as the Strategic Planning Group. From what we’re told, folks on the 10th floor are fans of fiction and like the way Bert writes. As we have stated before, we know all too well about Bert’s “creative writing skills.”
But today I want to draw your attention back to Northeast Division whence Bert came from before arriving at LAPD Headquarters with the gleam of Commander in his eyes.
In my best impression of Estelle Getty’s character Sophia from the Golden Girls—picture it. Industry Hills, California. April 17, 2015.
The setting was the 7th Annual LAPD Northeast Division Charity Golf Tournament at the Pacific Palms Resort.
At $150 per player and approximately 150 players, the golf tournament is an annual Business Law Enforcement Northeast Division (BLEND) fundraiser that among other things benefits youth programs, the Northeast boxing programs and the Northeast Area Community Police Station.
But here’s where ish got more than a little cray cray.
I’m told a female P2 Officer had a little too much to drink on the golf course and that she wasn’t the only one.
The story goes that this officer had so much to drink that while riding around on a golf cart on this public golf course during this charity event, she lifted up her shirt in broad daylight in front of everyone—including three Captains—and exposed her breasts.
But it gets worse.
One of the Captains I’m told was also inebriated and when this female officer exposed her breasts, he decided he’d one up her and show his too.
Yes, they had a breast face off on the golf course for all to see—but strangely for none to report as misconduct—which it was.
Now this female P2 Officer according to many who know her in the Department has a serious drinking problem. She’s referred to as the “Problem Child” of Northeast Division.
Well folks this is 2016 and you can’t get drunk and show your breasts on a public golf course at a LAPD charity event and not expect someone to take a video or photo—and that’s exactly what one of her colleagues did. She is after all known as the “Problem Child.”
Now all of this happened in the presence of three duly sworn Captains of the LAPD and one of them was—you guessed it–Captain Jeffrey Bert. However, not one of the Captains there reported the incident as misconduct.
We’re not done yet.
Back at home at Northeast Division a Lieutenant allegedly hears about the golf course shenanigans and starts sending the female officer sexually explicit messages—why I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.
Now remember that I told you this female officer already has a reputation for being the division’s drunk—well to be fair to her one of them, but according to her colleagues she also has another reputation for being—let’s say friendly.
One thing leads to another I’m told and claims of sexual harassment are made to the female officer’s boss who is believed to have used his super duper creative writing skills and writes the complaint up as a “paper penalty,” recommending a simple reprimand. However, the Department disagreed with Captain Creative Writing and recommended a five-day suspension. In the end, reprimand, suspension or no punishment at all will be the decision of Chief Beck.
In the meantime the Lieutenant has gone on to promote. As of today I’m told both the Lieutenant and the female officer are still at Northeast. The male Captain who allegedly flashed the “Problem Child” back on the golf course benefited from the Department’s Vatican Shuffle and was promoted to a Captain 3 and quietly transferred to oversee the jails. Imagine that.
There was finally an official complaint made about the initial misconduct about two weeks after Boobiegate by an unknown person and only AFTER the photo of the female officer in question made its way around the Division and God knows where else.
Four months after that, the wife of one of the Captains, who is a civilian employee of the Department, also allegedly came forward to make a complaint. Wifey’s husband is also a Captain 3.
Currently, Boobiegate the investigation is in the hands of Internal Affairs under the care of Sergeant Nin and the Department has until May to dole out the punishment—if there will be any because as you know Captain Jeffrey Bert is on the list to possibly be promoted to Commander by Chief Beck.
Now if pressed on this issue Chief Beck and newly designated Public Information Officer and Acting Commanding Officer of Media Relations and Community Affairs Group (MRCAG) Captain I Andy Neiman will probably claim this to be a personnel issue and as we all know personnel issues can’t be discussed publicly. But that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. It just means that unlike with the officer who killed Brendon Glenn in Venice or Boxergate and Deputy Chief Mike Downing—which some would say were also a personnel issues—Beck won’t speak on this one because Bert is after all his boy.
But consider this. Even if you ignore all of his past transgressions (which you should not), if Captain Jeffrey Bert can’t be relied upon to report even the most blatant misconduct like a female officer drunk in public showing her breasts at a Department event (or the Captain who showed his)—how can he be trusted as a Commander to do the right things at all times? We didn’t take an oath of integrity in all that we do—he did.
INTEGRITY IN ALL WE SAY AND DO
Integrity is our standard. We are proud of our profession and will conduct ourselves in a manner that merits the respect of all people. We will demonstrate honest, ethical behavior in all our interactions. Our actions will match our words. We must have the courage to stand up for our beliefs and do what is right. Throughout the ranks, the Los Angeles Police Department has a long history of integrity and freedom from corruption. Upholding this proud tradition is a challenge we must all continue to meet.
A promotion cannot be the reward for commanding officers that engage in misconduct themselves. Any officer with a drinking problem does not need to be on the job working—they should be getting the help they need.
The Inspector General and Police Commission need to represent the people who they are supposed to represent as the watchdogs of the Department and insert themselves in the promotions process of the LAPD because the people on this list today are the future leaders of the Los Angeles Department tomorrow.