LAPD investigating allegations of artificially inflated patrol numbers

Kate Mather, Joel Rubin (Los Angeles Times) | July 24, 2014

LAPD patrol carThe Los Angeles Police Department has opened an investigation into allegations that command staff in some of the city’s police stations artificially inflated the number of officers they had on patrol to comply with department regulations.

The LAPD requires that each division have a certain number of officers on street patrol at any given time, a computer-generated figure determined by an individual division’s needs that day.

But some officers have reported to the LAPD’s inspector general — an independent watchdog — that there’s not always enough personnel available to meet that mandate, according to officials from the union that represents rank-and-file officers.

They allege that some station commanders have instructed officers to fill out logs that show them as being on patrol when they, in fact, are in a station performing other jobs or in some cases not even on duty. The result, the union officials said, are “ghost cars” — cars that are reported out in the field but really aren’t.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith confirmed that the department was investigating what he described as “anecdotal” reports of the so-called ghost cars, but said it had not yet determined whether the allegations were true or how widespread they might be.

“It is something that we were made aware of and we are looking into it,” he said. “If it had happened in the past, it’s not something that is acceptable and won’t be happening anymore.”

Smith said the department has maintained its mandated seven-minute or less response time to calls.

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Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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