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LAPD Looks For Strategies To Get Rid Of Bad Cops

The Los Angeles Police Department has been hiring attorneys to better argue termination cases of cops accused of misconduct, as an attempt to fix what many feel has become a broken system.  In the LAPD, firing a cop is not a straightforward proposition, the Los Angeles Times reports. Even in seemingly clear-cut cases of serious misconduct, the department’s often-criticized disciplinary system has led to outcomes in which those involved keep their jobs and continue collecting paychecks. Some are no longer allowed to patrol or interact with the public — relegated to administrative duties instead. LAPD officials estimate there are nearly 70 such officers currently on the payroll. Part of the problem is that at during the termination hearings, LAPD has historically been represented by police with ad hoc legal training, while officers have practicing attorneys. 

But some are already arguing that hiring attorneys is not enough, and there needs to be more structural change to the disciplinary process — including the make up of the boards that determine punishment.  “It’s not about finding ways to level the playing field — the playing field is flawed,” Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez said during a public safety committee meeting last month. “It’s abundantly clear that this system is … being taken advantage of.” Of the 27 boards held in 2023 for officers the chief wanted to fire, the accused officer received lighter discipline in 11 cases, the department said. In two instances, the boards cleared the officers completely of wrongdoing. The rest were successfully terminated.


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