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Attacks on Chief Parks Criticized

LAPD: In a letter to the president of the police officers union, Mayor Hahn says its ongoing campaign against reappointment is divisive.

January 24, 2002|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mayor James K. Hahn chastised the Los Angeles police union Wednesday for its public campaign against the reappointment of Chief Bernard C. Parks.

"The attacks against the chief by the Police Protective League are divisive and ultimately hurtful to the department," Hahn said in a letter to Mitzi Grasso, league president. "Instead of trying to constructively work with Chief Parks to solve problems facing the department, you have simply determined that you will put all the blame on the chief, and then walk away," Hahn wrote.

Grasso said Wednesday that rather than respond to Hahn's letter, she preferred to "focus on the issues.... "

"Crime is going up," she said. "Community-based policing is dead. Morale is at an all-time low. The LAPD is unable to attract new officers or retain those already on the force."

Hahn's letter apparently was prompted in part by the league's announcement last week that 93% of officers who responded to a poll said they had no confidence in the chief. Grasso, who has been calling for Parks' removal since late last year, accused him of failed leadership.

The union is at odds with Parks over several things, including his changes in departmental disciplinary policy that have led to more probes of misconduct charges against officers.

Hahn said Wednesday that he, Parks and Grasso had met Dec. 11 and agreed to cooperatively address their differences.

"The Police Protective League can be an important partner in the effort to improve the Los Angeles Police Department and increase public safety, but by its actions, the league has apparently chosen to ignore that opportunity," Hahn said.

Parks has told supporters he intends to seek a second five-year term. Hahn said he expects the city's Police Commission to consider his opinion in its deliberations over the appointment.

"My opinion ... will be determined on the merits, not on the basis of a political campaign," Hahn told Grasso.

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