The Los Angeles Police Department has ended its patrol-car purchasing drought, adding 188 new 2013 model-year patrol vehicles from Chrysler and the Ford Motor Company.
Earlier this year, the LAPD ordered 100 Dodge Charger Pursuit patrol cars, 50 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles, and 38 Ford P.I. sedans. For the first time in four years, the city provided the agency funding to purchase new vehicles. The $6.5 million in funding came from the fiscal year ending June 30.
The new vehicles will replace aging Ford Crown Vics in the agency’s fleet. The Dodge Chargers are expected to be on patrol by the end of July. The Ford P.I. vehicles will be on the street in October, LAPD’s fleet manager, Vartan Yegiyan, told POLICE Magazine.
“While the funding was not available, personnel were diligently testing the new police vehicles in the market from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford,” Yegiyan said. “There is a chance we may get more money for next year.”
In its purchase order for the Chargers, the LAPD acquired rear-wheel-drive marked units powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 engine. The LAPD also bought all-wheel Ford P.I.s powered by a 3.7-liter V-6 power plant.
Choosing a V-6 Charger over the V-8 version wasn’t a difficult decision, because it gives officers sufficient performance while giving the agency good fuel economy, Yegiyan said.
“There is no real advantage for us to have more horsepower or speed because these cars go fast enough to do the job,” Yegiyan added. “They have equivalent performance and speed compared to the Crown Vics.”
The department is now equipping the vehicles to make them patrol-ready. Some of the vehicles will get a vinyl wrap rather than two-tone paint. The agency has also hired an outfitter to add generic hardware, emergency lights, and sirens.
The 40 requests, which were tallied by the union that represents rank-and-file officers, have come in the two months since Dorner sought revenge for his 2009 firing by targeting police officers and their families in a killing rampage that left four dead and others injured.
Dorner’s allegations of a department plagued by racism and special interests left Chief Charlie Beck scrambling to stem a growing chorus of others who condemned Dorner’s violence but said his complaints about the department were accurate. To assuage concerns, Beck vowed to re-examine the cases of other former officers who believed they had been wrongly expelled from the force.
Now, details of how the department plans to make good on Beck’s offer are becoming clear. And, for at least some of the disgruntled ex-officers, they will be disappointing.
In letters to those wishing to have their case reviewed, department officials explain that the city’s charter, which spells out the authority granted to various public officials, prevents the police chief from opening new disciplinary proceedings for an officer fired more than three years ago.
“Therefore the Department does not have the power to reinstate officers whose terminations occurred more than three years ago,” wrote Gerald Chaleff, the LAPD’s special assistant for constitutional policing. “You are being informed of this to forestall any misconceptions about the power of the department.”
The reviews remain one of the unsettled postscripts to the Dorner saga. In February, three years after he was fired for allegedly fabricating a story about his partner inappropriately kicking a handcuffed suspect, Dorner resurfaced in violent fashion, bent on seeking revenge for his ouster.
After killing the daughter of the attorney who defended him at his disciplinary hearing and her fiance, Dorner killed two police officers and wounded three other people as he evaded capture during a massive manhunt. After more than a week on the run, Dorner was chased into a cabin in the mountains near Big Bear, where he died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Dorner had posted online an angry manifesto of sorts in which he claimed that he had been a victim of a racist, corrupt police organization that protects its favored officers at the expense of those trying to report abuses. Those accusations tapped into deep wells of discontent and distrust that officers and minority communities have felt toward the department. Beck sought to reassure doubters that years of reforms had changed the department and buried the “ghosts” of the past. He then offered to review past discipline cases.
Fired officers who wish to have their terminations re-examined must first submit an affidavit or similar declaration within two months of receiving the letter from Chaleff, according to a copy obtained by The Times. The letter was sent in recent weeks to the former officers who have already come forward.
Using “clear and convincing language,” the letter instructs ex-officers to explain “the new evidence or change in circumstances that would justify a re-examination of your termination.”
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said Chaleff will conduct a review for anyone who follows the rules laid out in the letter. “We will do whatever it takes on the cases, including redoing interviews, if necessary,” he wrote in an email.
The department and the Protective League declined to release the names of former officers who have requested reviews.
Gary Ingemunson, a longtime attorney for the League, used the case reviews as an opportunity to revive the League’s perennial criticism that disciplinary hearings, called Boards of Rights, are stacked against officers.
“The Board of Rights system could be fair, but for the last few years the Department has consistently outdone itself in the attempt to completely skew the system against the officer. The Department wants to win. End of story,” Ingemunson wrote in a column in the current issue of the union’s monthly magazine.
One of the problems, Ingemunson and other union lawyers have said, is the makeup of the three-person panels that decide an officer’s fate. Two of judges are senior-level LAPD officers, while the third is a civilian.
According to the critics, that arrangement is unfair because officers are sent to boards whenever the chief wants them fired and the officers on the panel will feel pressure to do as the chief wants.
Smith rejected that idea, saying board members are completely free to decide as they see fit. He pointed to department figures showing that over the last three years, officers sent by the chief to Boards of Rights were fired in only about 60% of the cases.
Smith defended the department’s disciplinary system in general, saying it has been in place for decades and stood up under repeated scrutiny by oversight bodies.
His lawyer says that the former private eye is not a danger to the public or to flee; and that he is suffering from a serious eye condition.
The Hollywood Reporter
by Alex Ben Block June 12, 2012
Former P.I. to the Stars, Anthony Pellicano
Will the pelican finally fly free?
Notorious Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano is currently serving time in a federal penitentiary in Texas for illegal possession of firearms and explosives, unlawful wiretapping and racketeering. But an attorney for Pellicano this week requested his client be granted bail and be released until his appeal can be heard in a filing to Judge Dale Fischer of the U.S. District Court. His request is expected to be a subject of discussion at a hearing July 9 in federal court in Los Angeles.
“Mr. Pellicano has already served approximately 67 months in federal custody which completely satisfies his prison terms for all convictions in this case but the two flawed RICO counts,” writes attorney Steven F. Gruel in his presentation to the court. (Download a PDF of the document here.)
RICO is a legal term for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Pellicano’s attorney says in his filing that since his client was convicted, the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal appeals court have issued opinions that he believes “completely eviscerate the government’s convictions” in the Pellicano case.
Gruel argues that will provide ample grounds for an appeal, so it is reasonable for his client to be granted bond and freed until that can be heard, which could take into 2014.
“Given the recent court rulings,” the filing says, “it would be completely unjust to insist that Mr. Pellicano remain in custody any longer while his appeal is pending.”
The case involving Pellicano was one of the highest profile prosecutions involving major Hollywood players in recent years. Pellicano at the turn of the century was one of the most active private investigators specializing in show business clients, working closely with many top lawyers.
Among the clients Pellicano was alleged to have worked on behalf of were studio heads Brad Grey and Ron Meyer, power broker Michael Ovitz, actors Elizabeth Taylor and Chris Rock, powerful lawyer Bert Fields and billionaire former MGM owner Kirk Kerkorian, among many others
Among those whose phones Pellicano illegally tapped were actor Sylvester Stallone and comedians Gary Shandling and Kevin Nealon.
Things started to unravel in 2002 when Anita Busch, then a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, was harassed and threatened. That created a trail that eventually led authorities to Pellicano, and allegedly to his client Ovitz as well. Ovitz, who was never prosecuted, is still being sued by Busch in a civil case, as are others.
Prominent attorney Terry Christensen was also convicted in the case in 2008 but remains free on bail pending his appeal. Mark Arneson, a former LAPD sergeant who aided Pellicano by accessing confidential government records, was granted bail in 2009.
The filing says that Pellicano prosecutors have not yet filed an answer to briefs in the case filed in 2010. “Such unacceptable foot dragging by the prosecution (with its massive resources),” says the filing, “smacks of blatant vindictiveness that results in irreparable loss of time to Mr. Pellicano.”
Gruel raises numerous other questions about how the case and the trials against Pellicano – who in some cases acted as his own lawyer – were conducted, and says they will raise substantial questions for the appeals court.
Gruel also pleads that Pellicano, now 68, indigent and suffering from an eye condition, is not a danger to the community or likely to flee if granted bail. He points out that during the process that led up to his convictions, which began with his indictment in 2006, Pellicano has been cooperating with authorities. He also notes Pellicano will not repeat his crimes since his investigation firm has been out of business for almost a decade.
The filing also includes a declaration from Pellicano’s cousin Fred Filippi of San Clemente, who says he is prepared to take him into his home if he is released. Filippi says he is also willing to act as a court appointed custodian for Pellicano, would be willing to sign a surety bond (along with other relatives) putting up his home to insure his cousin does not flee, and would go along with an order for Pellicano to wear electronic monitoring equipment.
Gruel also alludes to one reason Pellicano allegedly was treated so harshly. He has never agreed to provide information about his many celebrity clients to the authorities, despite pressure to do so.
“Although it may not publically say so,” says the filing, “the government shares this view that Mr. Pellicano is not a danger. When the prosecutors and agents approached Mr. Pellicano to “flip” him to cooperate, they clearly dangled the keys to his freedom in exchange for his honor. The set of ‘keys’ would not have been repeatedly offered by the prosecution if it truly considered Mr. Pellicano a danger.
“Rather, to suggest that Mr. Pellicano is a ‘danger’, now in light of his advanced age, health and lack of resources would be a further illustration of the prosecution’s frustration with Mr. Pellicano’s steadfast decision to stand tall (and silent); all the while unwilling to cooperate.”
L.A. Now Live: LAPD’s Chief Beck; Marine who criticized Obama
Los Angeles Times
by: Kimi Yoshino
– Tony Perry and Joel Rubin
April 16, 2012
Times reporters Tony Perry and Joel Rubin will join city editor Shelby Grad for a chat about two stories in the news.
The chat will begin at 9 a.m at www.latimes.com/lanow. Questions can be asked live during the chat or by submitting a comment above.
Perry, who reports on the military out of San Diego, has been following the case of Sgt. Gary Stein, the Marine who criticized President Obama on a Facebook page. An Administrative Separation Board at Camp Pendleton has voted 3-0 to recommend that Stein should be dismissed and given an other-than-honorable discharge for making comments “prejudicial to good order and discipline.”
He’ll have the latest on that case.
Rubin will be discussing a story that appears on the front page in today’s paper about LAPD Chief Charlie Beck facing rare criticism from his civilian bosses. Some of those commission members say they are troubled by Beck’s reluctance to punish officers they found had killed or wounded people unjustifiably.
Since Beck took over as chief in late 2009, the commission has ruled on about 90 incidents involving officers who fired weapons or used other deadly force. In almost all of them, Beck concluded the officers used force appropriately and urged the commission to clear them of wrongdoing. The board followed his guidance most of the time.
But in four shootings — in which three people were killed and three others wounded by police gunfire — the commission went against the chief’s recommendations and ruled the officers’ use of lethal force inappropriate, Rubin reported.
Sexual predator targeting San Fernando Valley high school girls
Los Angeles Times
April 4, 2012
Authorities in the northeast San Fernando Valley continued their search Wednesday for a sexual predator they say is targeting high school girls.
Los Angeles police said the man may be responsible for two attempted kidnappings and seven instances of lewd acts over the last 15 months.
He was described as a male Latino or Asian with short, curly black hair that has some gray in it. He has brown eyes and may have some facial hair and is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 160 to 200 pounds.
Investigators from the LAPD’s Mission Division said they have various descriptions of the car he may be driving. It could be a 2000 to 2010 red or white Honda, Nissan or Toyota.
In an email Wednesday to constituents, City Councilman Richard Alarcon asked for the public’s help in finding the predator and “in looking out for your neighbor as the police search” for him.
The most recent incidents occurred March 12 at 9 p.m. in the 1400 block of Van Nuys Boulevard and at 4:10 p.m. March 29 at Beachy Avenue and Bromwich Street, according to authorities.