For 12 years, in the aftermath of the Rampart corruption scandal, the Los Angeles Police Department operated under a federal consent decree that forced major changes on the long-troubled, much-criticized department. The LAPD was overseen by outsiders, its decisions second-guessed by judges and monitors because it couldn't be trusted to govern itself. Only after a long list of wide-ranging reforms was instituted was the federal order finally lifted in 2013. Among the final requirements was the installation of in-car video cameras and voice-monitoring equipment to record encounters between police and the public.
So naturally it comes as a grave disappointment, if not exactly a
shock, to learn just a year later that some LAPD officers tampered with
many of those devices in an apparent effort to render them ineffective.
The department needs to figure out how that was allowed to happen, and
must take strong actions to ensure that nothing like it happens again.
Officers must be made to understand that sabotage will not be tolerated,
and that the department's leaders intend to continue on the road to
enlightened, reformed policing.