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Police Commission Inspector General

November 29, 1998

Mike Feuer's commentary ("Cut Ambiguity of Inspector General's Role," Nov. 19) reminds us that the role of the Police Commission is as a watchdog. Feuer points out that when an ordinance or charter amendment--or the Christopher Commission report--is unclear about accountability and responsibility, parties may differ on what the proper relationship should be.

This issue is not about whether Chief Bernard Parks is doing a good job. Surely no chief has ever been a firmer disciplinarian. But he is dependent on the information provided by internal affairs investigators, department advocates and officers in the division.

The Police Commission has a responsibility to oversee the whole process and needs the investigative capability of an inspector general. During my years on the commission, we had to turn to outside observers to determine how reforms were being implemented and had little opportunity to review the disciplinary system from the inception. Only when the public knows that the commission is fulfilling its role of watchdog will confidence in the department be assured.



I was appalled by the tortured arguments used in the Nov. 16 commentary by Frank del Olmo on Latinos and the LAPD, to attempt to discredit Edith R. Perez, president of the Police Commission. Del Olmo finds it troubling that Latinos who are not raised in Los Angeles do not know the history of L.A. Latinos, and that therefore, somehow, Perez is unfit to serve the people of this city because she is a native of Northern California.

There are thousands of native Angeleno Latinos who do not know their local history, which is the result of our failure to teach and learn our history--not the result of being raised elsewhere. I was raised in Los Angeles and I did not know about the so-called "Bloody Christmas" incident. Perez is an accomplished professional and has been a valuable servant to the residents of our city. While Del Olmo has every right to disapprove of Perez's performance on the Police Commission, nativist attitudes do little to promote a substantive discussion on matters of policy.

ARTURO VARGAS, Exec. Dir., National Assn. of Latino Elected Officials, Educational Fund

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