All-civilian discipline panels are more lenient with LAPD officers, report finds
A confidential audit report released Monday shows LAPD officers face significantly higher rates of discipline for misconduct than civilians in their ranks.
The data was compiled from over 100,000 discipline records, using the Los Angeles Police Department’s uniform and identification records from 2012 through 2016. The findings reflect an independent review of the Los Angeles Police Department’s discipline process that the LAPD says is a key part of the ongoing review of its culture.
In the most recent year for which the report is available, 1,100 LAPD civilians received a total of 756 disciplinary actions, which means each civilian received five or more discipline actions in the most recent 12 months. That’s far higher than the 8.3 discipline actions per civilian per year that civilian detectives received between 2012 and 2016.
While the LAPD’s civilian population is significantly smaller than the department’s police force, it’s still a significant and growing portion of the LAPD, which has seen an increased use of civilian oversight since the late 1990s. A civilian review commission is currently analyzing the department to determine what changes should be made to make it more civilian-friendly.
“It shows that civilian oversight of LAPD has been working,” said LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith. “By not reviewing discipline records and not using the most recent data, the commission was being more interested in looking backwards than looking forwards.”
The civilian review panel has not determined the exact cause or reasons for the increase in disciplinary actions from 2012 to 2016. The report says that the LAPD is still investigating, but that “a few explanations and mitigating factors may be found.”
The LAPD has struggled with low discipline numbers since 2012, when the civilian review panel was established and began reviewing the discipline process.
While the LAPD has steadily increased the number of civilian review panel members from the 12 positions in its previous civilian review commission to 21 currently, the average number of civilian review panel members per civilian has increased from one to more than three, the report says.
The report states that civilian review panel members have been able to reduce the number of discipline actions for disciplinary infractions from more than 25% in 2012 to less than 5% in 2016.
In 2016, only 5.1% of all discipline actions carried out by civilian review panel members were