LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Commission responded Tuesday to a report Tuesday that found LAPD officers may have used so-called “ghost cars” to boost patrol numbers.
KNX 1070’s Megan Goldsby reports Chief Charlie Beck was on hand to dispute the findings and said if any such practice did occur in the past, it’s not happening now.
“What I can say absolutely is it’s not occurring now, and it won’t occur again,” Beck said.
The Police Commission approved the report from the LAPD’s Office of the Inspector General, which found several cases of officers using a patrol car check-in code to show they were in the field, when in fact they were not.
According to the report (PDF), officers were sometimes reported out on the street when they were actually working at their desks in five of the 21 LAPD patrol divisions.
At the meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Robert Saltzman said it was important for officials not to “incentivize shortcuts” by placing undue pressure on those who report the data.
But Chief Beck said the LAPD’s office of operations conducted its own investigation and found no evidence of the practice.
Beck also sought to downplay the report’s findings, pointing out that staffing levels are constantly adjusted and that the public was never at risk.
“This is not a department-wide practice,” said Beck. “If it did occur, it was an isolated occurrence and we’ll deal with it and have dealt with it,”
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said “random checks” would be conducted over the next 24 months to ensure the practice “stays stopped.”
Beck added that, when he was a captain, he was aware of the pressure to meet the department’s goals, but that the use of these ghost-cars was always out of the question.
“It has nothing to do with police officers,” Beck said. “Now, if we find command staff that intentionally do this kind of thing, to fool their boss, then of course we’ll take appropriate measures.”
The commission requested an audit to be conducted within 90 days from the Inspector General.