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Too Little Leadership, Too Many Parrots in LAPD

March 20, 1994

* Chip Johnson's interview with former police officer Charlie Meter (Valley Interview, Feb. 15) was right on target.

While I never knew Charlie, I served on similar assignments from 1961 through 1986.

During the Ed Davis regime, the Los Angeles Police Department bought into the management and business-textbook method of management for management's sake.

Leadership does not grow in an organization staffed with parrots of the party line concerned with little more than their own aggrandizement. Nice things do not happen in the careers of those who fail to see the emperor's new clothes.

Charlie was right on. Managers in the LAPD are a dime a dozen. Leadership is sorely lacking. I have the distinction and pride of being one of the "cowboys" Charlie refers to in his comments about the perception management has of disagreement from sergeants and below.

I had the displeasure of working for my share of "managers," and wouldn't give that same dime for their callous attitude toward rank-and-file, their inability to make an efficient decision in the face of overwhelming fact and their parroting of the party line. I could at least look in the mirror each morning and at the faces of my officers knowing that I tried to bring some leadership to my watch. And, oh yes, I caught plenty of hell for it!

The LAPD isn't what it was, and won't be until it stops trying to be everything to everybody, like another social agency.



Miller is a retired Los Angeles police sergeant.

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