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Police Recruits, New Facilities : Re "Laughing in the Face of the Bureaucracy," Feb. 6:

February 11, 1996

Bill Boyarsky has it right. The hysteria of the police brass, the City Council and The Times with their "flavor of the day" mentality is too often laughable. But it is hard to find humor in the damage they routinely inflict on both aspiring and developing careers within the Police Department.

There is no need to squander tax dollars on a new panel of outside psychologists to review how the LAPD weeds out applicants. But, there is a need for our city leaders and bureaucrats to start thinking and behaving like mature, rational human beings. It is essential that recruitment and promotions of police officers be returned to a system of merit that locates those with the greatest potential and promotes those who are most competent to perform the total job.

I can remember when the focus of a background investigation sought to weed out those who had little regard for the law or demonstrated life patterns of irresponsible, antisocial conduct. Now we compromise those standards in order to fulfill false quotas by accepting police recruits who have only occasionally taken a snort or two or cocaine, or only passed a few bad checks, or have ignored only half of their creditors, while we banish a young man who has committed himself to preparing for a career in law enforcement through education, volunteer service and diligent attention to duty because he had the integrity to admit having once told a tasteless joke.

STEPHEN DOWNING

LAPD Deputy Chief, Retired

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Since the acorn never falls far from the tree, I am happy that Randy Mehringer was disqualified from the LAPD for telling racially insensitive "jokes." His father, 28-year LAPD veteran Bud Mehringer, claimed (Feb. 4) that "there seems to be a problem somewhere if the criteria for selecting a police officer is never having told a joke about a protected class." He then claimed that, in order to find a qualified labor pool for the LAPD, one would have to "go to Venus or Mars, because you're not going to find them on this planet."

Who is Mehringer hanging around with? He thinks that everybody tells racially insensitive jokes? And in order to find somebody that doesn't tell racially insensitive jokes, "We have to go to Venus or Mars"?

How about Venice or Mars, Bud! (I live in Venice.) I don't know anybody who tells racially insensitive jokes, or refers to African Americans as a "protected class."

THOM LOONEY

Venice

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Your article on the condition of Parker Center (Feb. 3) only confirms what we already know all too well: That the police no longer have the tools and the resources to do their job effectively.

In 1956, my Cub Scout group toured the new Police Administration Building downtown. I and all the other 10-year-olds were overwhelmed by how beautiful, spacious and "modern" the building was. Also, it seemed to us that everyone who worked there was polite and cheerful.

It's hard to believe that we're talking about the same building.

BRADLEY GOLD

Los Angeles

There was no weeping in the summer of 1955 when the Los Angeles Police Department moved into the sparking new Police Administration Building (now Parker Center). Police headquarters moved from antiquated, crowded facilities on the ground floor of City Hall. The central division moved from an ancient, rat-infested station at First and Hill streets.

At last, LAPD had a modern home; and now, almost 41 years later, it seeks a new home again.

CLIFF DEKTAR

North Hollywood

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Re your editorial on voters' trust on bonds, Feb. 5: Before we are asked to believe all these easy promises of better management and project delivery if only we'll vote a bond issue for new police facilities, I'd like to see some concrete action on the previous and unfulfilled bond issues.

Talk is cheap. Bonds are expensive. Show us, the voters, you have the capability to do the jobs you're paid to do--then come to us for more money.

PAUL LaPIDES

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