FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

LAPD Chief Vows to Fight for Job

April 10, 2002  | 

Police Chief Bernard Parks vowed to take his fight to the Los Angeles City Council after a civilian panel decided not to grant him a second five-year term.

The Police Commission's decision could be overridden by the City Council if at least 10 of its 15 members back Parks. If the decision is not overturned, Parks said he would remain on the job until his term is up on Aug. 12.

Commission President Rick Caruso said Parks has failed to deal with low morale, understaffing, and other problems that have plagued the Los Angeles Police Department.

In announcing the commission's decision, Caruso declared the department was suffering "a profound loss of confidence."

Parks, 58, said he was the victim of politics. He criticized Mayor James Hahn for publicly opposing his reappointment in January, weeks before the commission took up the matter.

"I believe the facts are crystal clear: For the past five years, I have tirelessly filled the leadership void," he told a news conference outside police headquarters as more than 100 uniformed officers looked on.

The mayor, who is white, was elected last year with significant support from the black community. Many black leaders denounced him for opposing the reappointment of Parks, the city's second black police chief.

"This is not a win for anyone," Hahn said at City Hall. "This is a decision that the Police Commission had to make in the best interest of the department and the city."

Caruso said the decision wasn't influenced by the mayor or the city's police union, which also opposed Parks.

He said the chief has failed to be flexible in handling discipline and morale in the short-handed department, adding that the commission was looking for — and did not get — "a sincere acceptance of responsibility for what needs to be corrected."

The chief's only backer on the panel was Commissioner David Cunningham III.

"While I understand the criticisms that guided the majority of my fellow commissioners, I believe that Chief Parks could have remedied those concerns in a second term," Cunningham said.

The City Council has 10 days to decide whether to override the action.

Parks was selected as chief by former Mayor Richard Riordan and enjoyed broad support in the City Council. The 37-year police veteran earned praise from many civil rights leaders for increasing officer discipline.

When he was appointed, there were hopes that Parks, who had worked in the internal affairs division, could restore a department tarnished by the Rodney King beating, the 1992 riots, and the investigation surrounding the slayings of O.J. Simpson's wife and her friend.

But Parks quickly ran into trouble with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which had opposed his appointment.

The 8,300-member union issued a no-confidence vote in January, and claimed his approach to discipline was harsh, lowered morale and drove officers away. The force is about 1,100 officers below its mandated strength of 10,000. Councilman Nate Holden called such criticism hypocritical.

"When you start to discipline police officers, of course morale is going to go down," he said. Parks' case for reappointment was hurt by recent statistics showing a rise in violent crime. The city's murder rate for January through March is up 52 percent over the same period last year and almost 80 percent over two years ago.

Request more info about this product / service / company

Be the first to comment on this story

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

TASER Wins Bid to Outfit 22,000 London Police Officers with Body Cameras
Led by the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the Metropolitan Police completed...
Havis Offers New Docking Station for Dell Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet
Havis Inc., has announced an addition to its series of docking stations designed and...
New World Systems to Modernize Multi-Jurisdictional Sheriff's Office in Idaho
Emergency response officials in Bonneville County, ID, selected New World Systems to...
TacView Releases 3.10 Tactical Pole Camera
The TacView 3.10 is a pole-mounted, IR/color camera that can help you search areas in full...
Video: Body Cams Help Prove Tennessee Deputy Innocent
A Knox County, TN, deputy's body camera helped prove his innocence after he was accused of...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine