The threat that LAPD officers would avoid assignment to gang units because of strict new financial disclosure requirements seems to be proving somewhat true, though the evidence the L.A. Times' lead story today musters is mostly anecdotal. It's not that cops are leaving gang details in big numbers, it's that applications to the squads are down, the Times says.
Earlier this year, for instance, supervisors at the Newton Area station in South Los Angeles, where 51 street gangs are active in the nine-square-mile patrol area, received permission from higher-ups to add 14 officers to the station's gang operation. It was welcome news and would have nearly doubled the number of officers dedicated to gang activity. Few officers, however, applied for the job.
Surprised, supervisors resorted to measures they'd never taken before, such as placing notices in cop newsletters.
Put in place under Chief Bratton to help catch cops on the take, the rules require that officers disclose outside income, real estate, investments, bank accounts and debts — theirs and those of some family members and business partners. The Police Protective League fought the rules and predicted cops would flee the affected units, which include the narcotics squads. Existing officers have a two-year grace period.