By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Police Commission has announced a plan to draft a policy that will ban police gangs within their departments.

California Assembly Bill 958, introduced in February 2021, was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom in September. The Bill will require all law enforcement agencies to maintain a policy prohibiting participation in law enforcement gangs.

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This announcement by the Police Commission comes months before the state law that will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

The legislation states:

“Law enforcement gang” means a group of peace officers within a law enforcement agency who may identify themselves by a name and may be associated with an identifying symbol, including, but not limited to, matching tattoos, and who engage in a pattern of on-duty behavior that intentionally violates the law or fundamental principles of professional policing, including, but not limited to, excluding, harassing, or discriminating against any individual based on a protected category under federal or state anti-discrimination laws, engaging in or promoting conduct that violates the rights of other employees or members of the public, violating agency policy, the persistent practice of unlawful detention or use of excessive force in circumstances where it is known to be unjustified, falsifying police reports, fabricating or destroying evidence, targeting persons for enforcement based solely on protected characteristics of those persons, theft, unauthorized use of alcohol or drugs on duty, unlawful or unauthorized protection of other members from disciplinary actions, and retaliation against other officers who threaten or interfere with the activities of the group.”

In response, Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore wrote a letter to the Police Commission, stating that the department, “fully recognizes that participation in any law enforcement gang undermines the Department’s mission and core values, and damages the trust between the Department and the communities it serves.”

Lizabeth Rhodes, LAPD’s Director of the Office of Constitutional Policing, explained that the LAPD does not currently have a policy in this matter because it isn’t something they’ve previously had a problem with.

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While the LAPD may not be listed, the bill specifically cites the LASD: “Law enforcement gangs have been recognized by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as damaging to the trust and reputation of law enforcement throughout California.”

For nearly 30 years, LASD has been subject to allegations about secret subgroups or gangs of deputies within its ranks, with their members allegedly mistreating both community members and department co-workers.

An independent research company polled 1,608 Sheriff’s deputies, 16% of which claimed that they had been asked to join a subgroup or gang. There are almost 11,000 sworn deputies under the L.A. Sheriff’s Department.

The L.A. Police Commission is a team of five members that oversees management of the LAPD. Day-to-day operations are in turn handled by the Chief of Police.

The Los Angeles Police Commission will meet on Tuesday, November 2 to discuss the adoption of the new policy, with the goal of banning gang participation.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)