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The lessons of Rampart

July 16, 2006

Re "LAPD Still at Risk of Scandal Despite Reform, Panel Says," July 12

The Blue Ribbon Rampart Review Panel got it half right. Of course the Los Angeles Police Department needs more officers. Every police department can do a better job with more officers. It is the tone set by the leadership of the department, however, that makes the real difference in whether a "warrior policing" mentality is condoned and tolerated or deemed to be not acceptable.

A community-based policing philosophy applied across the city, no matter what neighborhood, instead of the end-justifies-the-means approach is what is required to rid the department of corrupt behavior by the officers.

MARGARET A. YORK

Chief, Los Angeles County Police

Until retiring in November 2002 as a deputy LAPD chief, York's responsibilities included the Rampart station.

*

If I had a dollar for every blue-ribbon committee that has studied the LAPD in the last 50 years, I could (fill in the blank). Starting with the Board of Police Commissioners and continuing through the City Council and the mayor, there has never been the political will to face the difficult tasks involved in implementing the more meaningful recommendations of such committees. As a police-practices consultant and sometime expert witness in such matters, and one who continues to study police-abuse cases, I can only concur with the story's headline.

DAVID D. DOTSON

San Juan Capistrano

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