Concerned about the fate of police reform, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Laura Chick said Tuesday that she will ask her colleagues today to hold a hearing on whether the LAPD's civilian watchdog position is operating as envisioned by the 1991 Christopher Commission.
Chick, chairwoman of the city's Public Safety Committee, said she wants reassurances from the Police Department and the police commission that the "roles, responsibilities and authorities" of the inspector general have not been diminished. The hearing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7.
Chick's request for a special hearing comes in response to a memo from commission President Edith Perez that sets out to restrict the inspector general's review of LAPD's discipline to "adjudicated complaints." Such a restriction is contrary to the recommendation of creating a strong inspector general position, which was made by the blue-ribbon Christopher Commission after the beating of Rodney G. King.
Perez's action also defines the role of the inspector general more narrowly than was approved by voters in April 1995.
Several police commissioners have said they have no intention of restricting the authority of the inspector general. But concern over inspector Katherine Mader's job was raised among police reformers who fear that one of the commission's most powerful oversight tools is being undermined by Perez.