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Tue, Jun

LA Police Commission Talks a Big Game on Transparency and Accountability … Except for Themselves!

LOS ANGELES

PUBLIC RIGHT TO KNOW-Accountability and transparency in government starts with streaming your public meetings in real time and having them posted online within 24 hours of the meeting’s end. 

In 2016 -- soon to be 2017 -- the Los Angeles Police Commission is still not live streaming or posting their meetings within 24 hours. Yet, by their comments, the commissioners themselves would have you believe that both accountability and transparency are their top priorities. But it can’t be when they can’t even manage to use any of their power or the millions of dollars raised from the public via taxes to do one very simple task. 

There is no reason at all why Angelenos should not be able to turn on LA Channel 35 and watch the police commission meetings or go online and watch them live from a computer or from their mobile phones. I would much rather see their meetings than another propaganda episode of “Inside the LAPD.” The fact you can call in and listen to the meetings via phone (when they bother to turn on the audio) seems to be a secret and isn’t even promoted to the public by the commission. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take complaining publicly via social media for over 72 hours for them to be posted online. It just shouldn’t. 

We know that the City, Los Angeles Police Department and commission are not quite as technically challenged as they would have the public believe because, even though they haven’t uttered a word about it publicly, they commissioned and paid for a mobile app to allegedly aide them in their accountability and transparency efforts. It’s just that they’re keeping it a secret for now. 

Unlike the LAPD’s iWatch app, which was announced with much fanfare when asking the public to “say something if you saw something,” the Inspector General’s app is said to be the first of its kind in this country by allowing the public to file complaints or compliments about Los Angeles police officers that go directly to the police commission’s Office of the Inspector General. This might seem particularly useful in light of the LAPD’s repeated failure to find any evidence of “biased policing” or racial profiling among the thousands of allegations made against its officers. Yes, that part. 

The police commission has the money and the means but apparently not the will (or the needed push from Mayor Eric Garcetti) to open their meetings up to a wider audience of Angelenos who may be interested in what is happening with their police department but find it impossible to attend their Tuesday 9:30 a.m. meetings in downtown Los Angeles. 

If the Los Angeles Police Commission can’t manage to make their meetings reasonably accessible to everyone and in a timely manner, what faith should the public really have in their capabilities to do anything else as it relates to transparency or accountability with Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the LAPD? 

The Los Angeles Police Commission talks a big game on transparency and accountability when it comes to the LAPD but fails miserably at its own. And that needs to change.

 

(Jasmyne A. Cannick lives in Los Angeles and is a frequent commentator on local and national politics, social and race issues. Cannick is an occasional contributor to CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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