The Los Angeles Times has reviewed the report, which aggregated the results of focus group sessions with over 500 department employees. Results show that both officers and civilians have wide-ranging concerns about discrimination due to gender, ethnicity and rank in the agency. Their main complaints included unfairness of internal investigations, subjective punishments, leniency towards high-ranking officials and the undue influence of nepotism and public pressure on disciplinary hearings.
LAPD: Widespread discrimination?
However the report reveals that perceptions of bias are not necessarily backed up by the figures. Official statistics would seem to show a rough correlation between the ethnicity, gender and rank of the total number of officers and the number sent to disciplinary panels. Black officers represent 12% of the total, and 14% of those sent to hearings for a long-term suspension or termination. Meanwhile 36% of department officers are white, and they make up 35% of those sent to hearings.
The report has been 20 months in the making, after LAPD Chief Charlie Beck ordered it in response to Dorner’s shooting spree. Dorner was motivated by what he claimed was an unfair dismissal from the department and racial discrimination with it.
LAPD: Punishment guidelines
The rank-and-file were united in their criticism of Dorner’s rampage, but the incident did unleash latent discontent among officers related to punishments handed out during Beck’s tenure as police chief. The report on the results of the survey has taken longer than expected to be published.
A few years ago the department moved away from using specific guidelines to respond to disciplinary issues, instead preferring to emphasize the individuality of each case. Officials have now claimed that they will return to the guidelines in order to improve perceptions of fairness, in response to the results of the survey.
Other common complaints included a sense of alienation from higher ranked officers, with many ordinary cops questioning whether their concerns were being taken seriously.
It remains to be seen whether Beck can effectively manage the discontent expressed by his officers, but he is presumably hoping that the return to the previous guidelines will go some way to appeasing the rank and file.