Sunday, August 09, 2015

LAPD cleaned up

LAPD had a reputation of being one of the nation's worst.  This book, Blue, by Joe Domanick claims the PD has straightened up.  He gives much of the credit to former NYPD Chief  William Bratton (who left LAPD in 2009).  There are a number interesting points.  One regards the O.J. Simpson trial.
"Domanick gets everything right. His brief portrait of the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, for example, is a valuable corrective. O.J.’s lawyer Johnnie Cochran was no racial show boater, though the national media treated him like some sort of West Coast Al Sharpton. Cochran was a brilliant and highly respected local attorney who made his reputation trying police-abuse cases. “He knew what black jurors knew deep in their bones,” Domanick writes, “that racism, planting evidence, shading the truth and lying in court had been part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s modus operandi throughout its history.” The trial was always about the dysfunctional L.A.P.D., never O.J."

Bratton cleaned house, got serious about 'community policing,' disciplined, trained and provided positive leadership.Somewhat surprisingly,  Bratton did this without abandoning aggressive stop and frisk and broken windows policing.  He just made sure that it was done fairly and without bias.  There's a saying that "it all starts at the top."   Personally, I thought LAPD was too big and too corrupt to ever clean itself up.  I'm glad I was wrong.

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