Re "U.S. Probes Allegations of Racism by Torrance Police," Jan. 16:
We believe this justifiably requires a response. This article would lead readers to believe that the Torrance Police Department is out of control. It is not representative of the community service provided by the department. Responsible journalism dictates that we provide facts which substantiate that the Torrance Police Department is clearly "making a difference." A high level of service to the community is provided along with a degree of professionalism which is clearly not evidenced in this article.
The information provided in the article is largely dated. Many of the allegations referred to have been refuted in a complete and detailed investigation. The article inferred that the Department of Justice investigation had just begun, when in fact, the city is well along in the proceedings. The article also referred to the Department of Justice expanding the investigation. The city attorney's office has received no information regarding this expansion or any anticipated expansion of the investigation.
The claim brought against the city alleging a hostile work environment was made by two dismissed probationary officers. The federal court has adjudicated the case of the two dismissed probationary officers and ruled in favor of the city. One segment was closed by stipulated judgment and the other by summary judgment. This information was omitted from the article. Feb. 28 will end the legal discovery of this case.
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not comment on your use of the emotionally charged term of "racism" to describe our law enforcement efforts. The term has been used to abdicate parental responsibility, identify conflict between a football coach and his quarterback, undermine a celebrated murder trial, and now in an attempt to erode our Police Department's efforts to protect a standard, a quality of life and pursue reasonably suspicious criminal activity. One only has to look at the community to see the relatively gang-free and graffiti-free streets and prosperous business and residential activity flourishing. The community demands that service--we provide it.
It is the policy of the Torrance Police Department when dealing with the media to cooperate openly. This certainly was the case when the writer of this article sought this information; the department provided ride-alongs, interviews and statistical information.
JOSEPH C. DE LADURANTEY
Chief of Police, Torrance