Below is a very moving and eyebrow raising letter from a current Los Angeles Police Department officer regarding the leadership and direction of LAPD. It is obviously anonymous and for good reason. I am sharing it in hopes that the powers that be in the media, Mayor’s office, and Police Commission understand that something just ain’t right.
For the record, I posted this letter as is, no changes were made. Thanks!
Recently there have been many articles written in regards to Chief Beck and his tenure as the figurehead of the LAPD. I would first like to apologize to my fellow employees for writing this anonymously. I have not fulfilled my career advancement goals within the department as some of the other critics have. I do not feel safe in my standing within the Department and I do not have Department or political backers to support me if I upset the wrong Command Staff member. I do not have have parents, grandparents, great uncles or any other relative to sponsor my career, call in favors for preferable assignments, or use there influence at promotional orals.
It has been recently documented that under Chief Beck’s watch there have been instances of favoritism. We have seen the Hillman story and we have heard the Chief’s explanation for why he did not order Hillman to stand before a Board of Rights. On this subject I will just say that as an employee with the Los Angeles Police Department I can near as possible to one hundred percent guarantee that if I was Hillman, if my name was to magically replace his name on that type of a complaint, I would not only be ordered to stand in front of a Board, I would have been sent home without pay, my name would have been drug through the media ‘mud,’ and I would have to watch the Chief, standing next to the loudest Civil Activists he could find, use my name as an example of how the LAPD has a ‘Zero’ tolerance for racism and hatred. And he would be right.
Working for this Department, one of the hardest things to do is to overcome the ‘sins of our Fathers.’ The distrust of the police from the communities we try our heartfelt best to serve has been in many cases rightfully earned by previous staff policies and the policing tactics of the LAPD from the 80’s and 90’s. The average person could never know how hard it is to earn the publics trust when most all police encounters happen either in responding to emotional emergency calls, follow-up investigations, or enforcing traffic laws. When an officer, whether On Duty or Off, uses the language that Hillman has been accused of using, in the manner in which he allegedly used it, watching the Chief offering the limp excuse that was presented to the public for me is totally unacceptable. It sets the LAPD back decades. Hard decades. Decades full of riots and Civil Complaints, Federal Consent Decrees and corrupt Police Scandals that shock the conscious. Thanks for making my job easier Chief.
There are new outrageous scandals of the Chief interfering with Boards of Rights to save his family from public critique and scrutiny. That the Sergeant in question has pictures of the Chief’s daughter and text messages from the Chief consenting the relationship. There are stories of his daughter receiving preferential treatment with her appointment to Metropolitan Division. The stories include her being ‘loaned’ to Metro because she could not qualify for a shooting medal. The story of her being specially tested for her PFQ by the Chief’s drivers instead of the Metro staff who tested every other applicant. The story of the Chief’s daughter selling her private horse to the LAPD (making it a Department horse- which the City now pays for) and then being the only Department employee with access to ride the horse. None of these stories have surfaced in the major local media outlets. Maybe they never will. Maybe they are just stories. But these are stories widely told and believed by the people that believe our Chief judges them with a ‘Tarnished the Badge’ standard.
What about the next story to drop. Do we talk about Sergeant Ennox who with four years on the job tested for Sergeant and received a near perfect score? Do we mention that she is Chief Passingers god-daughter. How after probation she was moved to his office. To obtain field time she was sent to Southeast Division where she was assigned morning Watch. Where she had preferential scheduling to work only Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Where on the front desk she did not have to take reports that would risk court time or having to do work responsibilities Monday through Thursday. Why? She flew to Northern California to finish her degree. If my god father called the Southeast Captain would I receive preferential scheduling, the ability to refuse to do certain police work because it could lead to standard police activities such as court or other weekly commitments? After Southeast Patrol could my god father get me transferred to Hollywood Vice? With almost zero patrol time? And when my welcome at vice was at its end could I be transferred to Southwest Division where the last three DP’s as an officer I worked in tandem with a Sergeant. Having a tenured Sergeant showing me how to perform the job. I was unaware the LAPD had a Sergeant internship. I wonder how many other men and women waiting on the Sergeant list were awarded an internship. How much work was she allowed to do? Did she interview witnesses or suspects during UOF investigations? Did she interview complainants for 1.28’s? I am sure that my god father could just make a few calls and directly guide my career and educational needs. Could your relatives not do the same?
In any private company or even in a government juggernaut like the LAPD a certain amount of back door dealing, favoritism, and cronyism is going to take place. It just seems to me that the blatant abuse of power from this current Chief and his staff is a complete slap in the face of every man and woman who has ever worn the badge. Did the Men and Women of the LAPD always see eye to eye with Chief Bratton? No. But I just can not for the life of me think of any instance under Bratton where such blatant favoritism, double-standard discipline, and Command Staff manipulation happened. Can you?
Did Chief Bratton have Police officers purposely vandalizing or breaking antennas or other Coty property? Were his employees speaking up about abuses and being ordered to disregard investigations because it made him look bad? Were Board of Rights investigations being manipulated in fear of his public image? Did his upper Command Staff use their influence to elevate their loved ones up the Department ladder? Did he hold the rank and file to a totally different standard than his family and friends? No. Chief Bratton was a politically driven Chief who used his influence to move the Department forward, not just his inner circle. Does the Los Angeles Police Department have strong leaders, leaders of character and of integrity. Hell yes we do! But under this Chief’s command these employees are disenfranchised by seeing the double standard of this Chief’s complaint system. These employees are put off by watching inexperienced or unqualified family and friends of this Chief get special details and promotions. These employees are sick and tired of watching Charlie tell us how much he cares for us, and then watch as he blatantly flaunts our hard fought reputation of being the greatest law enforcement agency in the world.
To the Mayor and to the Police Commission, if one or two voices complain about something it might seem like a few disgruntles speaking out of turn. But I have a wild suspicion that the more we tiny voices speak out the more the proclamations of dissent will ring out! There is so much blatant favoritism within the Department now it is sickening!! Our lower Command Staff will not speak out. Out Lieutenants will not speak out. Our Sergeants will not speak out. Only the few who do not fear reprisal have voiced their opinion. Hear me though, the rank and file are fed up!
We are tired of standing by as these abuses of power from our Chief, Deputy Chiefs and the Command Staff mount up. Take a look at some of the Command Staffs’ family members within the Department. Beck’s, Passinger’s, Gannon… The list goes on and on for preferential treatment. Mr. Mayor you have taken the first step to stop nepotism and cronyism within the LAFD. Please look within our ranks as well. Our Command Staff are killing our morale. Why work hard when the Chief’s kids get their assignment handed to them? Why study hard when Passinger’s god-daughter gets handed her stripes?
Those of us without sponsors will soon realize that we do not have to take a second term. We do not have to watch the parody of Command Staff adjudications and ‘cronyisms’ tear the morale of the rank and file to the core. We do not have to watch as daddy’s little girl or our Deputy Chief’s god-daughter take our coveted jobs or our promotions. We can have a voice in the direction of the new LAPD and we can move on and fulfill our Mission of Serving and Protecting the citizens of Los Angeles with integrity and pride.