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A Character Witness for Embattled LAPD

June 01, 1997

Re "Some Face Police Brutality at Home" by Robin Abcarian May 21): I am an attorney arbitrator and mediator. As part of my practice, I serve occasionally as the civilian member of a three-person board of rights panel for the Los Angeles Police Commission. I also hear police discipline cases in a variety of other cities and jurisdictions.

When an officer is disciplined within the Police Department, he or she is entitled to appeal to a board of rights, which consists of two high-ranking sworn department personnel and one civilian such as myself. All of the cases I have heard involved allegations of off-duty misbehavior for which the officer was disciplined by suspension or discharge from duty.

I have no way of knowing if reported cases of police domestic violence have been ignored by the LAPD. What I have seen is the department responding zealously, much more zealously than other cities and agencies, to reports of domestic violence and even an allegedly unsolicited sexual advance from an officer to an acquaintance.

Abcarian intimates in paragraph 6 that the department does or could have influence on the filing of criminal charges on cases of police domestic violence. Again, I have no way of knowing if any illegal, improper liaisons have occurred between the department and prosecuting agencies. However, from my vantage point, the department has been scrupulous in responding to allegations of domestic violence or sexual impropriety even in situations in which the actions alleged, if true, would not result in criminal prosecution.

KAREN G. ANDRES

Los Angeles

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