The new Los Angeles Police Department touted by Chief William Bratton as he leaves office this month seems a lot like the old one, at least if you peek down hallways and through back doors. On Tuesday the police union released a photo it says show complaint files with names, serial numbers and locations of officers stored openly in a hallway accessible to all employees at the LAPD's Northeast Division.
It's latest revelation, though, is worse: Boxes of records that it says includes officers social security numbers and serial numbers among other information (victim information, search warrants, "burn boxes" intended for incineration, and arrestee booking details). All this, the union states, is stored out in the open in a parking structure at the department's Southwest Division on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
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The union says the area is accessible to employees and some visitors. If true, it's a recipe for identity theft and more heinous crimes for criminals trying to track down arresting officers.
Suffice to say, the union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, is not happy. It's arguing that these aren't isolated incidents, but rather a symptom of a department that's not as shiny and organized as its new, modern downtown headquarters would suggest. The files, the LAPPL states, should be under lock and key. The league says it has brought the matter before LAPD brass repeatedly with no solution in sight.
The incidents, it states, "represent a Department that has failed to act or put real safeguards in place for the handling and storing of confidential information. This is why protecting officers' and the public's privacy will continue to be a top priority of the League."