LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – The Los Angeles Police Department will keep its troubled cadet program.
The LAPD Board of Police Commissioners made the decision at a Tuesday meeting to keep the program following a scandal this summer that brought into question its viability.
“Shutting down the cadet program, for me, isn’t the place that I go,” Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill said.
The scandal involved seven juvenile police cadets being arrested on allegations of stealing three squad cars and leading officers on two high-speed pursuits and crashes.
An officer was also charged with having a sexual relationship with one of the cadets who was arrested.
An LAPD inspector general’s report last week found numerous flaws in the department’s equipment room and cadet program policies.
Acting Inspector General Django Sibley’s report cited various problems in how the LAPD operates the “kit room” at its stations, which is a single room intended to secure squad car vehicle keys, shotguns, tasers and other equipment.
Among the problems cited was that only one officer is assigned to the kit room at any given time, but that officer may also be assigned to other duties and may not always be in the room. As a result, officers sometimes leave equipment outside the door of the kit room instead of officially checking it back in, or may take equipment and leave a post-it note as to what was removed.
The report also found that there is also no formal kit room manual or formal training, and only two divisions completed monthly vehicle inspections.
Troubles with the cadet program began June 14 when a pair of high-speed chases involving pilfered LAPD vehicles ended in crashes and led to the arrests of three cadets. Four more cadets were subsequently arrested.
The LAPD believes the juvenile cadets were able to take advantage of flaws in the kit room computer system and gain access to the squad cars and other equipment, with the thefts going unnoticed for weeks.
The department believes the cadets impersonated officers during traffic stops on several occasions, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
Officer Robert Cain was also arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with one of the cadets who was arrested, a 15-year-old girl. Cain, 31, has been charged with a half-dozen felonies. He is also facing weapons charges in San Bernardino County stemming from the seizure of weapons at his home in Rancho Cucamonga.
The LAPD has already conducted its own investigation into the cadet program and in August announced a series of changes, including implementing formal training for Youth Services officers and developing guidelines for social media interaction between cadets and department personnel.
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