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Most Officers in Poll Lack Faith in Chief Williams, Union Says


Despite Chief Willie L. Williams' contention that he has solid support among the Los Angeles Police Department's rank and file, a majority of officers responding to a union poll said they do not have confidence that Williams can effectively lead the department, a Police Protective League official said Friday.

The poll is the latest volley in the continuing battle between the chief and union officials who say the rank and file are angry at Williams because they believe he is uncommunicative and out of touch with their needs.

"This is the kind of feedback that Mr. Williams needs to be given . . . so we can make our Police Department a better Police Department," said Ted Hunt, a director of the union. "We need to build our morale back up. Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up call to [Williams] to pay attention to the rank and file. . . . This is not a 'get Willie Williams thing.' "

A department spokesman said the chief was not available for comment late Friday when The Times received the results of the survey.

The union mailed the poll to all 7,900 members in early August, and 36% responded by the indicated deadline of Aug. 18, Hunt said. Among those who responded, 83% said they did not believe Williams can "effectively lead the department."

Asked about the chief's recent comment in a television interview that 90% of the department's officers support him, 91% of the respondents said they disagreed with his statement.

The survey also polled officers on their feelings about allegations that Williams lied to the Police Commission earlier this year about whether he had accepted free hotel accommodations in Las Vegas.

About 84% of respondents said Williams' "refusal to make the investigation public" damaged his ability to effectively lead the department. Hunt said that besides discontent with Williams' handling of the Las Vegas issue, officers are upset that their ability to take days off to compensate for overtime work has been limited. In July, Williams decided that compensatory overtime would be limited to 40 hours a year, and that overtime beyond that amount would be compensated in cash.


Tensions have been rising in recent months between the league and the chief. Hunt said Williams has refused to meet with the union since May. "He has completely cut off communication with the Police Protective League," Hunt said.

In July, the league published in its newspaper a caricature of Williams as a lying Pinocchio with a growing nose.

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