“Insular, self-referential and resistant to change” (*UPDATED)

Eric Leonard, one of the better cop reporters in the county, got his hands on a copy of the Board of Inquiry investigation into the LAPD’s SWAT unit. Here’s a link to the pdf. LA Observed has some other links.

Among those on the board was Pasadena police Chief Barney Melekian, noted for his opposition to gang injunctions, and this blog. Included in the recomendations are proposals to bring more women and minorities onto the team; go to 24-hour 7-days a week scheduling; and rotation of members out of SWAT and into other assignments.

The board implies that SWAT has become an anachronistic arm of LAPD and change is necessary.

Besides Melekian, Merrick Bobb and several prominent members of the local community participated in the board.

Here’s an excerpt from an LADN story on the panel’s formation in 2005:

“Almost as important as the review is that we are looking at a cultural change in the process,” Villaraigosa said. “Chief Bratton and I are committed to changing the department from its days of a closed-door attitude. The LAPD is opening itself up for an outside review. This is the kind of opening that I as mayor want to see continue.”

Among the members of the Board of Inquiry is Merrick Bobb, an attorney who oversaw an inquiry into the Sheriff Department’s use of force policy and is a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Other members include attorney Richard Aborn, who investigated misconduct inside the New York Police Department; William Geller, a consultant on police use of force policies; Lt. Phil Hanson of the Sheriff’s Department; attorney Greg Longworth, a retired NYPD officer considered an expert in deadly force cases; Pasadena Police Chief Bernard Melekian; LAPD Assistant Chief Linda Pierce, who oversees the LAPD Criminal Investigations Bureau; and attorney Eugene Ramirez, a former Deputy District Attorney who has worked with SWAT teams.

Bobb said he was pleased to be part of the group and welcomed the chance to look at SWAT.

“As far as I know, this is the first time a police department has voluntarily opened itself up for this kind of review,” Bobb said.

The panel was formed after the death of Susie Pena, a 19-month-old killed in a standoff between LAPD officers and her father Jose Pena.

BTW, blogger Miss Havisham has posted the contents of an email interview she did with Melekian, now the interim City Manager of Pasadena. Here’s a link.

 *It’s only right to point out that the story was broken originally by Monrovia resident Robert CJ Parry in an opinoin piece that ran in last Sunday’s LA Times. We blogged it last week. In case you missed it here’s a link.


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