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Ad Aired in Error, Police Union Says


The Los Angeles Police Protective League on Monday distanced itself from one of its own anti-secession television commercials, saying that the spot was mistakenly aired after union officials had rejected it.

The ad portrays a police SWAT unit disappearing from a photograph of the bloody 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery shootout, and warns that the San Fernando Valley could lose "the protection of specially trained LAPD officers" if secession wins. The spot aired Thursday on KCBS-TV Channel 2 and KCAL-TV Channel 9.

Police Protective League President Mitzi Grasso said the union decided not to air the ad "because it just didn't sound the way we wanted it to sound." She would not elaborate.

Secessionists have accused the union of fear-mongering in its campaign against a municipal breakup.

"I wouldn't be in the least surprised if they're withdrawing it," Sharon Jiminez, spokeswoman for the Hollywood secession campaign, said of the ad. "Because it's bad.

" ... First of all, the SWAT team officers are smiling as they make an arrest, which is highly inappropriate," Jiminez said.

The ad opens with the sounds of police sirens over a still image of the bank robbery. "Today, Valley residents receive the protection of specially trained LAPD officers," a narrator intones darkly.

"And tomorrow?" the narration continues, as the SWAT unit disappears. "In times like these, secession may not be worth the risk."

The police union has vowed to spend $400,000 on radio and TV ads to fight secession by the Valley and Hollywood. The breakup measures are on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Grasso said union officials rejected the ad when it was presented to them last Wednesday by their media consultant. She did not know it had aired the next day until a reporter informed her, she said.

"As far as I know, it was not supposed to be released--that's the one we rejected," Grasso said. "I'm trying to figure out why it got put on the air."

But Mike Nelson, spokesman for KCBS, said that the union paid for the ad and that it was placed into the rotation for the two stations, which are both owned by Viacom.

"We accepted it, and we ran it," Nelson said. The spot has since been pulled, he said.

Grasso said that as of late Monday, the union was still working on language for a revised ad.

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