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Audit Faults LAFD’s Leadership For Failing To Investigate Misconduct

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(source: Los Angeles Fire Department)

(source: Los Angeles Fire Department)

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An internal audit of the Los Angeles Fire Department released Wednesday faults Chief Cummings, union officials and members of an internal investigation team for failing to properly investigate misconduct allegations.

The audit, which looked at a three-year period between January 2009 and December 2011, said investigators failed to properly and thoroughly pursue several serious complaints about firefighter misconduct.

“The process results in a serious lack of accountability,” LAFD’s independent assessor Stephen Miller told KNX1070. “The public cannot have confidence that the same standards of conduct apply to everyone in the department regardless of assignment, rank and position.”

Almost 40 cases were reviewed, which included alleged false reporting of overtime, intimidation of an employees’ doctor and violation of due process rights.

“These cases that we’ve reviewed occurred under three different fire chiefs,” Miller said.

Miller included nearly three dozen recommendations, including complaints involving misconduct by a fire chief should be directed to the mayor rather than those working under the fire chief.

“The current mayor and the future mayor always have a responsibility to review the performance of the fire chief, and I’m sure that will be considered in the future,” he said. “Investigators, supervisors and the fire chief need to be held accountable to ensure that the investigations are complete in a timely manner.”

The Fire Commission has instructed the staff to submit a response to the audit findings as well as Miller’s recommendations.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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