At first, the city also refused to provide copies of permits issued to the department’s reserve police officers, citing privacy issues. Eventually, the department turned over permits for about 60 percent of current reserves.
In the past, reserve status has been another vehicle for issuing potentially controversial permits, such as the one held in 1991 by Mark L. Nathanson, a prominent Beverly Hills businessman and political power broker. The L.A. Timesreported that he got a concealed-weapon permit from Culver City by being named a reserve officer.
Overall, the number of permits released by the city for the last two years is smaller than the number of Culver City permits recorded by the state. The city insists that it has turned over everything. A clerical error? Or perhaps the handful of missing permits for these years includes some surprises. The pope? Fidel Castro? It’s impossible to know.
The chief’s policy also makes it impossible to assess a long-told tale in the department. In 1986, Cooke allegedly held a fund-raiser for a police-related organization and, in return for contributions, distributed permits to at least 15 donors. Cooke, who refused to talk with the Weekly, acknowledged to the City Council that he raised funds for the organization, but insisted, "There was no quid pro quo" regarding permits. Council members declined to press him on the issue.