The LAPD chief apologizes to the civilian Police Commission over patrol car tampering that was brought to light by LAPD investigators in July of last year. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other high-ranking Los Angeles police officials issued the apology on Tuesday due to them failing to promptly notify their civilian bosses that officers had tampered with recording equipment in patrol cars in order to avoid being monitored, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
An inspection of the LAPD practices last summer concluded that about half of the 80 patrol cars in South LA manipulated installed audio and video recording equipment. The Sacramento Bee reported that the patrol cars were missing antennas on video cameras that help record what officers say.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who is a veteran of the department with over three decades of service, notified commission President Steve Soboroff of the issue a few months after the inspection and assured him that the problem was resolved. However, the full commission did not know until February, after they reviewed footage of a shooting and noticed the poor quality of the audio.
Beck and his top aides promised to monitor the problem more closely and told the committee of five members comprising the civilian Police Commission that such a thing would not happen again.
During a commission meeting, Beck said..."It is on us.We will take whatever actions are needed to make sure" similar mistakes are not made again." The Committee Chairman said last week that the actions of the agents do not necessarily show they wanted to hide something.
The audio and video recording program has been implemented since 2010 in an effort to monitor racism and other abuses by police officers. Now agents are required to document that the two antennas in each patrol car are in place at the beginning and end of each shift. In addition, supervisors will be making surprise inspections to make sure they have not removed the antennas.
Although the LAPD chief apologizes for the debacle, some say it was a deliberate action taken in order to hide illegal practices by LAPD officers. The investigation into the matter is ongoing and updates to this story will be posted here as they are made available.