While Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore grappled with the LAPD’s latest gang scandal last week, another crisis was brewing on the 10th floor of headquarters. An officer accused Assistant Chief Al Labrada of stalking her using an Apple AirTag — the same style of GPS tracker Mission Division gang officers used for surveillance of suspects without the required search warrants. Labrada is on leave pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, reports the Los Angeles Times. For Moore, the allegations against a member of his command staff renewed questions about management of the nation’s third-largest police department as he winds down his term. It’s the latest in a string of embarrassing scandals, including gang officers accused of theft, illegal stops and searches, senior staff engaged in inappropriate relationships with subordinates and the inadvertent release of photos of undercover officers.
In an interview, Moore acknowledged that the recent controversies had shaken public trust in the department. He said they resulted from “individual failures” and not, as some have argued, are symptoms of deeper problems with the department. “I don’t see a cultural issue there. I don’t see something that the organization is facilitating, because as soon as the actions were identified, we reacted immediately,” Moore said, adding: “I will say that [regarding] recent events involving senior members of this organization, obviously that’s disappointing, when you look at people ... you thought were qualified for taking the reins.” Moore has been defensive about the Mission Division gang scandal, repeatedly insisting at commission meetings and in news interviews that the misconduct identified had been confined to one unit — even as some in his own organization suggested the problem of officers deactivating their body-worn cameras was widespread and could have been caught sooner. That surprised former Police Commissioner Rob Saltzman, who said “it’s unclear how seriously the department took looking at other areas to see if the same problem was occurring.” Saltzman said Moore’s track record on accountability was one reason he favored him in 2009 to succeed William Bratton, over Charlie Beck, who eventually got the job.