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Municipal Reform: Federal Inspector General Needed?

September 06, 1998

As an 18-year LAPD officer and 32-year L.A. resident, I am convinced that a federal inspector general is needed in this city ("Keeping the Thin Blue Line in Line," by Matt Lait, Aug. 9). We have endured the casual corruption that now permeates all levels of local government, including the prosecutorial unit that Katherine Mader worked for until her current assignment.

Mader's work to keep the LAPD clean tends to deflect attention from corruption that exists elsewhere. With the routine prosecutions and dismissals of police officers, one must wonder why Mader and other district attorneys do not pursue city politicians or senior LAPD managers.

Until a federal IG is appointed to investigate and prosecute wrong doing throughout our county, police officers will continue to represent the bones tossed to a public hungry for real municipal reform--changes that may never come.

Clark W. Baker

Los Angeles

*

In August 1989, I saw my husband, Jerry Weber, shot and killed in an ATM holdup in West Los Angeles.

Four months later, police came to my house with photographs for me to identify. One, larger than the others, bore little resemblance to the man I had seen kill my husband. But I was told the police had information I wasn't privy to and that I should "trust" them. So I signed a statement saying the person in the photo had "certain characteristics" in common with the perpetrator.

The man in the photo was arrested and arraigned. Efforts on my part to cause the authorities to reconsider my doubts failed. But several months later, I received a call from Katherine Mader, to whom I restated my concerns. She agreed, saying, "I think the wrong man was arrested." Thanks to Mader, a lineup was held and the innocent suspect was released.

We should be thankful we have the Maders of this world. My daughters and I will always regret that the murderer wasn't caught, but not nearly as much as we'd have suffered by having helped incarcerate an innocent man.

Sally Weber

Encino

*

It's sad to see The Times go the tabloid route in the opening sentence of the cover story on Katherine Mader: "Is there anyone on the Los Angeles Police Department Katherine Mader hasn't pissed off?" That coarse expression is becoming quite common in everyday conversation, but it is still offensive and unacceptable to many people.

I've wondered at the appearance of such blunders as "snuck," but I never thought I'd ever see anything so vulgar and tasteless in The Times.

Charles F. Queenan

Encino

*

What happened to the words "angered," "infuriated" or "enraged"? Was the word that was used crucial to the story?

Please don't contribute to the coarsening of America. From Jerry Springer, we expect nothing, from The Times, a great deal.

Harvey B. Schechter

Sherman Oaks

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