LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Ahead of a new California law that goes into effect Jan. 1 to ban officers’ participation in law enforcement gangs, the Los Angeles Police Commission will on Tuesday vote to approve its policy of banning gang participation.
What you need to know
- The new California law, enacted through California Assembly Bill 958, requires agencies to maintain a policy prohibiting participation in law enforcement gangs
- The law also cites falsification of police reports, production or destruction of evidence and targeting of individuals for enforcement based on protected characteristics
- In addition, the law covers behavior toward others in the ward, including exclusion, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
- Sixteen percent of 1,608 deputies polled in a recent survey said they have been asked to join such groups, according to survey results
The new California law, passed through California Assembly Bill 958, requires agencies to maintain a policy prohibiting participation in law enforcement gangs.
Legislation defines these gangs as groups of officers who identify themselves by a name and may be associated with an identification symbol, including matching tattoos, and who engage in a pattern of vigilant behavior that intentionally violates the law or the principles of professional policing. including through persistent unlawful detention or the use of excessive force in situations that are unjustified.
The law also cites forgery of police reports, production or destruction of evidence, and targeting of individuals for enforcement based on protected characteristics.
In addition, the law covers behavior toward others in the ward, including exclusion, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
In a letter to the Police Commission, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the department “fully recognizes that participation in any law enforcement gang undermines the department’s mission and core values and damages trust between the department and the communities it serves.”
The department’s director of the Office of Constitutional Policing, Lizabeth Rhodes, told the City News Service that the department did not already have a policy banning the department’s gang participation because “the LAPD did not have a problem with this.”
Assembly Bill 958, which Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law on September 30, quotes the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which for the past 30 years has been the subject of accusations of secret subgroups or gangs of deputies within its ranks, with their members allegedly mistreat both community members and department colleagues.
Various investigations and lawsuits have targeted the claims, prompting the department to establish a recent policy banning behavior that violates the rights of others.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors commissioned the Santa Monica-based think tank RAND to conduct an independent research project to learn more about how subgroups are formed, why they exist, what actions can be taken if they are found to have a significant impact on LASD’s mission and whether they have influenced societal perceptions and trust in the department.
Sixteen percent of 1,608 deputies surveyed in a recent survey said they have been asked to join such groups, according to the survey results. The sheriff’s department has about 10,000 deputies.
RAND published its study, “Understanding Subgroups Within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department,” on September 10th.
The Los Angeles Police Commission will consider the department’s policy of banning gang participation during its meeting at 9:30 Tuesday. People can watch at https://lapd.zoom.us/s/289225944.