Federal Court Lifts Protective Order on LBPD Study

By: 
Stephen Downing

On July 7 the Beachcomber broke the news that “city leadership” had changed course in the spirit of full transparency and would end City Hall’s long fought battle to keep secret the deep dive Operations and Management Study of the LBPD conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)

In a memo to the mayor and City Council the city manager stated that he had directed the city attorney to do what was necessary to get the federal court to lift a protective order on the 126-page study.

On July 17 the Beachcomber reported that the city attorney had compromised the city manager’s instruction and instead proposed a stipulation that would only “partially vacate” the court’s protective order.

On July 22 the Beachcomber reported that the city attorney backed down on his requirement to condition the release and resubmitted a second draft of the stipulation to the participating attorneys for signature.

That draft eliminated all provisions that would permit the city to redact any portion of the report prior to public release.

Today, following approval of the revised stipulation by the federal court, the Beachcomber acquired an un-redacted copy of the 124-page “IACP Operations & Management Study of the Long Beach Police Department.”

The $96,000 study is labeled as a “draft” report with a publication date of November 2018.

The publication date is a full three months prior to the LBPD’s announcement that the city had cancelled the contract because of a “series of delays” stating that “no final report will be issued, and no further payments will be made.” (The city paid half upfront).

At the time the contract was cancelled, the LBPD insisted – and has maintained since – that the administration has not read the report. 

The city attorney, in the stipulation to allow lifting the protective order stated, “The city’s request that the protective order be vacated shall not be construed as an admission by the city that any prior withholding of the IACP Draft Report under the protective order or public records act was improper.”

Highlights of the Study

The study recommended 19 major operational reforms and eight staffing recommendations, stating that, “The analysis determined that several areas within the Police Department require adjustment to meet service demands and improve relationship and trust between the Police Department and the community.

Communication

The recommendations included a need to establish a strong climate of communication within the department, build leadership development and succession planning, re-establish mission, vision, core values and core policing strategies and develop a career development program that includes rotating all or a portion of specialized assignments.

Leadership

The study focused upon “principles consistent with 21st century policing overlaid on critical cultural, operational, and policy elements of the LBPD,” that began with a survey with the command staff, which produced results indicating “areas of needed improvement.”

The IACP’s scoring of the LBPD’s leadership in the “Six Pillars of 21st Century Policing – as average scores compared to the maximum possible – included the following where “improvement was possible”:

  • Pillar One: Building Trust and Legitimacy – 71%
  • Pillar Two: Policy and Oversight – 77%
  • Pillar Three: Technology and Social Media – 68%
  • Pillar Four: Community Policing and Crime Reduction – 81%
  • Pillar Five: Training and Education – 67%
  • Pillar Six: Officer Wellness and Safety – 75%

Total – 75%

Discipline

In the area of discipline the study concluded the LBPD needs to revise policy and procedures to provide structure for graduated – or progressive – discipline and enhanced communication flow in addition to establishing an Early Warning System (EWS) (a policy that was abandon in 2014) that alerts supervisors and command staff to patterns of misconduct and provides “proactive intervention to correct performance… and enables the department to intervene before a situation warrants formal disciplinary action.”

The report additionally recommended that Internal Affairs Division be assigned two additional investigators so that completed investigations would be more timely and that IA reports be made available to the public on the department web site, with appropriate redactions.

Community-Oriented Policing

The study emphasizes the importance of community-oriented policing and states that the “LBPD should re-establish its vision from the top and deliberately cascade it down though command staff to the front lines though dialogue, training, empowerment and inclusion.”

A major recommendation to create true community-based policing was to “utilize geographic policing in order to “make community policing a part of each officer’s responsibility.”

The study emphasizes “Geographic policing is a proactive, decentralized approach, designed to reduce crime, disorder and fear of crime, by intensively involving the same officer in the same community on a long-term basis, so that citizens develop trust enhancing cooperation with police officers.”

Critical Policies

The study discussed 15 critical policy areas.

The evaluators were unable to find policies that specifically discussed LGBTQ+ issues, selection and hiring, policies governing rules of search and seizure, biased based policing, off-duty conduct or selection and hiring of personnel.

Use of Force

The IACP report stated that the LBPD’s use of force policy does not specifically mention the sanctity of life and recommended that “this and de-escalation techniques be incorporated into the use of force policy.”

Training

The Study was critical of the LBPD’s field training stating, “Twelve months of field training is well over double the standard seen in the profession” and “because field training and the new employee probation end simultaneously, there is no substantive mechanism to evaluate how new officers will perform in solo status without support and oversight from an FTO (field training officer) before they complete probation.”

Recruiting

The evaluators found that the LBPD does not have anyone directly responsible for recruiting and that there is no centralized coordination.

Although the report recognized that diversity in hiring was emphasized in interviews with the chief and his command staff the department was unable to provide specific plans on recruiting strategies to improve diversity hiring.

The report said, “Unless the department is willing to invest in hiring, the department will not meet its hiring need and counseled “effective agencies that are committed to community policing want the highest quality candidates who are reflective of their community.”

Other Recommendations

The range of many other findings and recommendations include staffing, data and technology concerns, criminal investigation and crime clearance rates, intelligence-led policing, crime and data analysis, the absence of report review by supervisors, performance measurement and accountability management, records management, response methodologies and fleet management.

In their conclusions the evaluators advised that the department’s most notable areas for needed attention by LBPD leadership includes improvement toward establishing a clear mission, vision and core values.”

The report said, “These values should reflect an emphasis on community policing and be supported by data-informed efforts to ensure resource management is reflective of the community’s public safety needs.  The mission, vision and values should be communicated, supported and demonstrated by leadership though enhanced internal communication systems.”

The report concluded, “It is the sincere hope of the IACP that this report and the associated recommendations serve to provide positive guidance and that it is viewed as a valuable resource, not only by the LBPD, but also the government officials for Long Beach who work together on behalf of the public to provide policing excellence to the city.”

This article will be updated as the LBPD reports upon its acceptance, non-acceptance and implementation of the IACP reform recommendations.

The full report can be read here: https://beachcomber.news/content/iacp-report-lbpd

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.
stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

Category:

Comments

75% on leadership is a solid "C", why would they want to cover that up? But seriously, the city is probably so used to paying for "independent" reports that say exactly what the city wants them to say, that they panicked when they got an actual independent report.

"You're making so much noise by what you do (or don't), I can't hear what you are saying."

Maybe Mr. Downing and the Beachcomber can keep an eye on and report to us what, if anything these public servants accomplish?

Hmmm....nothing too dramatic. I thought it was going to be something crazy. Sounds like they are doing ok after all. I've never had a bad interaction with LBPD . I'm guessing if you do, it's probably too own fault. Peace....;)

I've had IN EXCESS of 100 interactions with Long Beach Police through my involvement representing my community and can count on one hand the number of GOOD interactions. Condescending, disrespectful or hostile is how I would describe the VAST majority of my interactions with LBPD. This includes meetings with the Chief, Captains and Commanders on down. The higher the rank, the worse the interaction. With a few exceptions, I rarely walked away believing I had met with an officer I could trust had been honest with me.

ANONYMOUS PERSONAL ATTACKS AGAINST PERSONS EXPRESSING THEIR OPINIONS ON BEACHCOMBER CONTENT WILL BE DELETED. THIS IS A FORUM OPEN TO INTELLIGENT DISCUSSION ABOUT LOCAL ISSUES. IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE, AT LEAST SAY SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE.

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS RARELY MAKE IT INTO THE PRINT EDITIONS; PUT YOUR REAL NAME AT THE END OF SUBMISSIONS CONTAINING A PSEUDONYM IF YOUR POSTING IS INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION CONSIDERATION.

JAY BEELER, PUBLISHER

Staying out of trouble with the LBPD is easy.....unless you live a criminal lifestyle.

Thank you BeachComber and hardworking staff / writers for bring this to light. Papers like yours keep citizen informed and brings corruption to light.

Add new comment

Beachcomber

Copyright 2020 Beeler & Associates.

All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced or transmitted – by any means – without publisher's written permission.