Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Bill Was Too High for Police 'Party'

October 11, 1987

The police call them sting operations, but in the case of two women paid to dance nude at a mock bachelor party staged by Newport Beach police, it was the public that got stung.

Even most of the jurors, who recently convicted one of the women of prostitution after a three-day trial, had a problem with police propriety and priorities on this one. (Please see Roger Kennedy's letter to the editor elsewhere on this page.)

The problem is that to make a case against the women--aside from the work and expense of their original investigation--Newport Beach police recruited other officers from Santa Ana and Irvine for a total of 19 in all. They also secured two hotel rooms, brought in liquor and staged the large party just to make the arrest.

Then there was the additional cost to the public of more than $15,000 for the trial and other court hearings needed to prosecute the case. All of which raises the question of how much police effort and public funds should reasonably be spent to apprehend and prosecute two women on sex charges who were not even working the street.

Prostitution must certainly be controlled and arrests made. But considering the extent of felony crimes, narcotics activity and officials complaining about budget shortages, the use of 19 police officers to set up a sting operation to net two suspected prostitutes hardly seems to be the most cost-effective use of available public funds.

One dancer still faces final disposition of the prostitution charge against her. The other was convicted and faces a 45-day mandatory jail sentence. But the the Newport Beach Police Department was also on trial, charged with very bad judgment.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|