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).

 

There are at least three different Los Angeles Police Departments.

The first is the LAPD that the powerful, privileged, and connected experience.

This is the LAPD of the Beck’s and the Hillman’s.  This is the LAPD in which their contacts with the disciplinary system are rare and purely pro forma.  This is the LAPD in which members are mentored from their earliest days on the Department, the LAPD in which patrol is simply a brief and necessary evil before they can move on to bigger and better things like specialized units and administrative positions.  Promotions are swift and certain.  Occasional stops are made in patrol as they promote but the stops are brief and more often theoretical than actual with the privileged being “assigned” to patrol but “loaned” elsewhere.  This is the LAPD in which members who have the least knowledge and experience of police work are tasked with making the biggest, most important, and most critical decisions.

The second LAPD is the corrupt and oppressive organization that most cops, the majority of cops, experience.  Work is a daily grind.  Their careers consist of patrol, patrol, and more patrol.   They work nights, weekends, and holidays.  Their contacts with the disciplinary system are harsh, prolonged, and include a presumption of guilt.  Their chances of working specialized units are low and tend to come late in their careers.  Promotions are few and hard earned.  They have no name recognition in promotional boards, no connections, to make certain that they receive high scores.

The third LAPD is the idealized LAPD.  This is the LAPD of Dragnet and Adam-12.  It is the LAPD where the organization’s motto, mission statement, core values, and management principles are important.  It is the LAPD of equality.  It is the LAPD that is free of corruption.  It is the LAPD in which promotions are based purely upon ability.  In many ways, this last LAPD is an idealized LAPD, a pipe dream of sorts.  Nonetheless, this is the LAPD to which most of the rank-and-file are loyal.  It is the LAPD that many have been striving to bring about for most of their careers, and is the reason why they are speaking out now.

This last LAPD is the one to which the rank and file are loyal.  They may not be able to fully articulate this but it is, nonetheless, true.  And, it is why so many of them become so angry when they feel their LAPD is being hijacked by a corrupt command staff and being used for corrupt ends.   Hence, LAPDgate.

I suspect that this was the LAPD to which Christopher Dorner felt loyal and the LAPD which he was hoping to bring into existence.

Which one do you want running our city?