Friday, December 21, 2007
LAPPL Challenges New LAPD Financial Disclosure Requirements
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The union representing rank-and-file police officers in the City of Los Angeles sued the city yesterday, seeking to enjoin imposition of new financial disclosure requirements for members of certain specialized units within the department.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League filed the action in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the “special order” set to be considered today by the Police Commission violates the privacy clause of the state Constitution, the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, and the union’s contract with the city.
The proposal would apply to current and prospective members of the department’s gang- and drug-related units, including the Gang Impact Team, Gang Enforcement Detail, Community Law Enforcement and Recovery Unit, Narcotics Division, and Narcotics Enforcement Detail. They would be required to complete detailed financial disclosures, identifying all of their assets, liabilities, and outside income sources, and submit related documentation.
The city claims that the disclosures are needed in order to comply with the 2001 consent decree resolving civil rights claims brought against the police department by the Department of Justice. Paragraph 132 of the decree, which is scheduled to expire in 2009, mandates that the department “require regular and periodic financial disclosures by all LAPD officers...who routinely handle valuable contraband or cash.”
In its complaint, brought on the league’s behalf by the Santa Monica firm of Silver, Hadden, Silver, Wexler & Levine, the union claims that the city has satisfied its Paragraph 132 obligations by entering into an agreement approved in January of last year. The agreement provides that officers are subject to “sting” operations, polygraph examinations, and more intense scrutiny prior to being assigned to, or promoted within, the Narcotics Unit.
The union also complained that the new requirements would subject officers to the possibility that their financial information will be disclosed to criminal defendants or civil litigants pursuant to the Pitchess procedures for discovery of personnel files, and to the consequent risk of identity theft.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company