Judge extends federal consent decree for three years
A federal judge today extended his oversight of the Los Angeles Police Department for three years, saying the agency has made great strides preventing corruption and abuse since the Rampart scandal but that more work needs to be done. Judge Gary Feess extended a federal consent decree giving him oversight over the department until June 15, 2009 — three years after it was originally set to expire. “The department has made progress in ways that have never been done before,” Feess said during a hearing at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. “I do not believe in my working life there will ever be as important a case to this department or to this community. If we achieve all of the provisions in this consent decree, we will have a better police department and a better community. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals “I suspect that will happen, but it’s not finished yet.” The LAPD has complied with about 70 percent of the decree’s provisions, but several others — including a risk management computer system designed to track complaints and root out problem officers, have not been implemented. The system, known as TEAMS II, is expected to be rolled out in the fall. Feess rejected a motion from the city requesting that he lift provisions of the consent decree covering the areas with which the LAPD has complied. “We’re fully committed to reforming the Los Angeles Police Department,” LAPD Assistant Chief George Gascon said. “We will work with the federal monitor and do whatever is necessary. The request was really asking for recognition for all the good work that we’ve done. That recognition has been given orally, if not officially.” The LAPD entered the consent decree in 2001 after a police officer convicted of stealing evidence implicated dozens of other officers at the Rampart Division in a corruption scandal in the late 1990s. The Department of Justice accused the LAPD of widespread corruption and abuse, and the department agreed to the consent degree to avoid a lawsuit. The LAPD spends millions of dollars each year on audits to comply with the consent decree, but department officials said they would have continued with the audits if Feess had lifted the decree. “The most important message is that the Los Angeles Police Commission, the Los Angeles Police Department and the city of Los Angeles are fully and firmly committed to compliance of the consent decree, both the spirit and the letter of the decree,” Police Commission President John Mack said. “For many years, we had an LAPD that was brutal, that was racist, that wasn’t treating all citizens with respect. With a lot of hard work by the people of this department, we’ve changed that. We should all be celebrating the progress that we’ve made.”— Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!