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The LAPD Consent Decree: 

What does it mean for you?

Presented at the Winter Conference of the

Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police

January 21, 2001

by Carl J. Milazzo, Esq.

Former AELE staff

I.            Introduction

Location of the LAPD-DoJ consent decree is online at the official LAPD website in PDF (Adobe) format:


II.         The Decree

A.              The decree is 97 pages long, and is in 12 sections. 

1.               Introduction

2.               Management and Supervisory Measures to Promote Civil Rights Integrity

3.               Incidents, Procedures, Documentation, Investigation, and Review

4.               Management of Gang Units

5.               Confidential Informants

6.               Development of Program for Responding to Persons with Mental Illness

7.               Training

8.               Integrity Audits

9.               Operations of the Police Commission and Inspector General

10.            Community Outreach and Public Information

11.            Independent Monitor

12.            Term of Agreement and Housekeeping Provisions

B.              Significant Provisions

1.               Most Important It may not seem like a big deal to agree to a consent decree that contains many generic standards that are already policy, however a violation of a court order can be sanctioned with contempt.  Contrast violating an internal policy with violating a court order.  Many of the provisions seem surprisingly standard.

2.               Reporting numerous reports must be compiled by the LAPD and produced to the Independent Monitor. 

3.               TEAMS II - There is a heavy reliance and repeated reference to the TEAMS II (Training Evaluation and Management System, second generation) computer database. This database is similar to the IA Trak software or IACP Internal Affairs software many departments use.  It is a database to record all uses of force, pursuits, internal investigations and citizen complaints, awards and commendations, civil lawsuits, performance evaluations and training history.  Reportable incidents must include demographic information about the officer and citizen.  This database is the core of the consent decree and all other provisions relate back to the TEAMS II information.

4.               Community Outreach and Public Information the department must hold public meetings by geographical area and publish reports on the website.

5.               Union Recognition DoJ recognized the meet and confer provision of the prevailing collective bargaining agreement, and reserved the right to unilaterally dissolve the agreement and may commence litigation to seek relief.  However, no union was a party to the consent decree or the negotiation.

C.              In Context Previous DoJ Consent Decrees and Evolution

1.               Heavy Union Activity and Local Political Interference All of the DoJ Consent Decrees are notable for the amount of union activity and resulting political interference with responsible management.  A powerful union that leads to sympathetic elected officials who create procedures to stymie terminations or effective discipline can often be found at the root of previous federal intervention.  When the DoJ comes to town, it is often too late.  It is important to be proactive and explain how previous intervention reflects a community or political failure more than a police management failure.

2.               Obvious Patterns of Misconduct Nobody should be surprised by the appearance of the DoJ.  They are truly a last resort, and because of limited resources they will probably target only the worst departments they can find.

3.               Open Access to Department Information as demonstrated by the provisions requiring posting of audits and statistical information on the website and community meetings, it appears that opening up the Department to public view may be intended to serve the purpose of permanent self-perpetuating oversight of department operations and activity.

4.               More Oversight In addition to the Police Chief, there is an Inspector General and Police Commission, there is now an Independent Monitor.  The additional layer of oversight is intended to ensure compliance with the court order.



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