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Los Angeles Police Department, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

The LAPD is Los Angeles’s police department. It is among the largest and undoubtedly among the most renowned police departments worldwide today. It is actually the 3rd largest law enforcement agency, after the City of New York and Chicago police departments respectively, with over 10,000 police officers and 3500 civilian staff. LAPD’s fame is mainly attributed to the television shows, movies and the local motion picture and novels, which has often made it a focus of police and crime dramas.

Beside what has been exposed on televisions and films, the department has much to be proud of, for example, it was the first department to introduce the first woman police officer, Alice Stebbin Wells, in the United States. Her roles included imposing laws that deal with picture shows, dancehalls, penny arcade as well as watching for unwholesome billboard displays. Unfortunately, it also captured the international headlines in some infamous cases and controversies. For example, the videotaped beating by police officers of motorist King Rodney, the Simpson O.J. murder investigations and the most recent police abuse and cover-ups at the Division of Hollenbeck among others (Worth, 120).

History of LAPD

The first Los Angeles police force, the Los Angeles Rangers, was established in the year 1853. It was a volunteer force which assisted the county forces that existed. They were soon succeeded by another volunteer group, the City Guards of Los Angeles. Both groups could not offer efficient and required force, therefore, Los Angeles became famous for violent behaviors (Worth, 28). Six officers were employed to work under City marshal in 1869, and they were the first group of paid force. The group was enlarged to about 200 in 1903, with the beginning of the Civil Service. William Parker succeeded William A. Worton who was the acting interim chief of the Civil Service. Parker was the chief of LAPD until his passing away in 1966. He played a significant role during his term by advocating police independence and professionalism from the civilian administration.

Parker center

Parker center

Parker Center located in Downtown Los Angeles was the headquarters for the LAPD from the year 1954 until late 2009.  Formerly identified as the Police Administration Building (PAB), the building was named for the former LAPD chief William Parker. The construction of Parker Center started in December 1952 and was successfully completed in 1955. The location of Parker Center was home of Olympic Hotel previously, and it combined the facilities of the police which were located all over the civic center area.

Chief Parker had a serious heart attack on the 16th day of July 1966, and soon after his death the building was named Parker Center by the City Council of Los Angeles. Parker Center was one of the sites of disturbances during the Los Angeles riots in 1992, following the judge’s verdict as “not guilty” for the four police officers in the beating of King Rodney (Worth, 58).             The Parker Center became old-fashioned with time and needed expensive retrofitting. After a wide consideration of a number of sites for a new building, the City Council of Los Angeles chose a property which was directly situated at the south of City Hall. The ground was prepared for construction of the new headquarters in early 2007 and was completed in October 2009. The Robbery and Homicide division of the LAPD still functions from an annex in Parker Center. This development, from Parker Center to the new Headquarters clearly supports historian William Deverell’s argument about the development of Los Angeles in parts, by covering up history and places that those in authority found unsettling.

Parker Center has been mentioned in the series of Harry Bosch’s novel, a Michael Connelly’s publication. It has featured in several episodes of a drama called dragnet in the television, starting with the sixth season in 1956. Another popular drama called the hunter has also featured the building in the 6th and 7th seasons respectively. Parker Center is also used as the main locations in a P.C video game by Sierra Entertainment.

The headquarters

The new 491,000 square-foot headquarters of LAPD is designed to fit within the city environment of the Los Angeles Civic Center. The headquarters is the current Police Administration structure, and features various divisions dedicated to police operations and administration. The headquarters has a current design with physical and metaphorical associations to the surrounding community.

The headquarers

Even though some may carelessly refer to the new headquarters as the New Parker Center, it is apparent that the LAPD did not want to hold the name given to their 1955 crumbling designed structure in honor of ex Chief Parker. Several authorities considered such a shift of the name would imply that the LAPD is not willing to advance and move forward from its earlier darker days.

The project achieved a LEED Gold certificate in response to the city’s target of sustainable practices in terms of buildings. Several sustainable policies were integrated into the new design.  It comprises of a below-grade vehicle parking of about 700 cars. It has several areas devoted to police investigative operations and administration, and includes great meeting rooms, for example, the conference center, hearing room of Police Commission, a 250 seat cafe as well as a 500 seat auditorium, which is situated outside the building on the Main street.

Also included into the marvelous design are civic plazas, public spaces as well as lush gardens, which promote a sense of community and openness between the LAPD and the neighboring surrounding. These magnificent developments were not available in the Parker Center, and are clearly in support of Deverell’s thoughts and ideas that the city of Los Angeles developed in parts.

The LAPD is a world class police power, which has long set the standard of distinction for police performance and training. The LAPD offers individuals the opportunity for enrichment, growth as well as a range of experiences. The LAPD presents excellent careers in several areas of law enforcement for both men and women who are seeking personal satisfaction and professional growth.

The LAPD is divided into many divisions. These include Patrol, Vice, Homicide, Traffic, Burglary, Fraud, Arson, and Forgery. When it comes to transportation, LAPD’s resources include 20 helicopters ranging from Bell 206 Rangers to Eurocopter AS350-B2 A-Stars and Beechcraft Kingair A200. The department uses vehicles like the Ford Police Special, D-Series Paddy wagon as well as the Champion Police Special. Los Angeles Police Department’s arsenal consists of several weapons like the 12 gauge pump, the 38 Detective Revolver as well as the M1917 Revolver.

The Board of Police Commissioners of Los Angeles oversees the LAPD, and is a five-member team appointed officials. The body is in charge of setting policies for the police department as well as overseeing the LAPD’s general operations and management. The police chief is the only person who reports to the board. The rest of the officers report to the chief.

Effects and changes that were brought as a result of the lapd development

The LAPD is today putting into effect one of the most determined experiments in the police development ever attempted in any city of America. After years of policing crises, which started in 1991 with the beating of King Rodney, and concluded in the widespread scandal of police corruption in 1999, the United States Department of justice declared in the year 2000 that it had gathered adequate evidence to take legal action against the Los Angeles City over a practice and pattern of police misbehavior. Later on, the city government entered a consent decree which promised to approve scores of reform procedures under the control of the federal court.

Most important, as the LAPD has integrated the practices and policies mentioned in the consent decree into its management and operations, the police department has won the public’s confidence and trust while trying to reduce crime and bringing lawbreakers to justice. A survey of results from LAPD for the last ten years of development in the city shows that LAPD has changed and the people are satisfied. Resident satisfaction has risen with over 90% of inhabitants saying that LAPD has indeed done a great job. Frequent use of severe force considerably falls each year since 2002. Both the quality and quantity of enforcement activities have risen significantly over that period despite the ideas and thoughts of some police officers that the consent decree holds them back. Greater quantity is evident in the rise in arrests, doubling of both motor vehicle and pedestrian stops since the year 2002.

Several analyses confirm that serious crime has reduced considerably in the city Los Angeles. Furthermore, crime recorded has drastically fallen in every police division in Los Angeles. Residents of the city no longer consider crime as a major problem, which is also true among the Hispanic, Black and white as well as Asian residents. Several residents see an improvement rather than deterioration from the LAPD with regard to policing within the law and respecting people’s rights. According to several residents, they are optimistic that this type of policing will rapidly become a routine.

Both the governance and management of the LAPD has also improved for the better under the ruling. The officer tracking scheme is forcing the supervisors and other authorities to pay attention and concentration to the police officers who attract several civilian complaints or use force frequently than their peers. CompStat, a management tool, has greatly assisted in transforming LAPD’s chief into strategic commanders who are responsible for crime reduction while building residents’ trust in police and maintaining the integrity. The inspector general and the commissioner of police have enhanced scrutiny of the LAPD’s handling of civilian complaints and use of force in terms of governance.

In sum, the above evidence and proof shows that with strong police oversight and leadership, the city of Los Angeles can enjoy both effective and respectful policing. The LAPD is still proud and aggressive, but community partnership and engagement is now part and parcel of the conventional culture of the LAPD. The department responds to any disorder and offense with enough force, but it is examines and analyses that force strictly and it is accountable through several devices for its appropriate use.

Conclusion

The LAPD has gone through an exciting history of development. It begins from the establishment of Parker Center to the current headquarters. LAPD’s development is also witnessed from the times of Los Angeles Rangers and the City Guards of Los Angeles who represented the early forces. These two groups offered volunteer force which assisted the county forces that existed. They later developed to the present police force, and clearly supports Deverell’s claim about development of Los Angeles, which takes place in parts.

Works Cited

Annual Report – Los Angeles Police Department. Los Angeles, 1900. Print.

Garza, Mariel. “Los Angeles Police Department Copes with Reorganization.” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News: 1. ABI/INFORM Complete. Jun 09 2003. Web. 1 Dec. 2012 .

Hays, Thomas G, Arthur W. Sjoquist, and William J. Bratton. Los Angeles Police Department. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2005. Print.

Worth, Richard. Los Angeles Police Department. New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers,  2011. Print.

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