The lag time is not unexpected in a process that has been sandbagged by LAPD resistance and abetted by political apathy since the tracking system was first recommended in 1991. There was little action on the recommendation between 1991 and 1993, the year Chief Willie Williams, backed by then-Police Commissioners Gary Greenebaum and Art Mattox, made an interim budget request of $122,576 to set up a complaint tracking system. It was turned down by the Mayor’s Office in 1993 in favor of other budget priorities -- the primary goal at the time was fulfillment of Riordan‘s campaign promise to boost LAPD ranks to 10,000 officers.
In April 1994, the Police Commission, with the Christopher Commission still in mind and the embers of 1992 still cooling, squeezed some $39,000 out of the commission’s budget and hired a part-time systems analyst to assemble existing department databases into the Officer Behavioral Internal Tracking System, which went by the none-too-subtle acronym OBITS. It exists today as TEAMS, the system that provides the thumbnail behavioral profile available to LAPD supervisors.
Former Police Commission President Raymond C. Fisher noted the inadequacy of the report in 1996, and in January 1997, after rejecting the option of purchasing an off-the-shelf system, wrote to the Department of Justice to request the funds that are at issue now.
Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, says she is willing to explore the off-the-shelf option rejected three years ago, even though some insiders worry that it will lead up yet another blind alley. But Miscikowski believes that the pressure of the Rampart crisis will overcome the historic institutional resistance to the system. ”Now I can‘t believe there is anybody with any degree of credibility who is going to be able to shut it down. I think it’s now going to get in place a whole lot sooner than previously suggested.“