In addition, behaviors like these are not corrected because the officers are resistant to “supervision[n] and control and ignored LAPD’s procedures and policies” (43). They are also unreceptive to “suggestions from officers, management and training personnel outside Rampart Area…” (49). Hence, an uncooperative team of police officers will end up doing whatever they want and think is right. Plus, the lack of unity within the department has also contributed to this kind of behavior. Although, inadequate and improper supervision of the CRASH unit by the LAPD Department is the ultimate reason this rude and immoral behavior have transpired.
The LAPD clearly neglected to “provide the leadership, oversight, management and supervision necessary to control this specialized unit” (43). Systematic field inspections and audits would have ensured that the CRASH officers are complying with the existing rules of the department. However, CRASH was not “audited for a period of two years between 1995-1997. The Operations-Central Bureau lieutenant… made it known… that Rampart detective refused to provide him with statistics and sergeant’s log books necessary to complete an audit. When the detectives’ refusal was brought to the attention of a Rampart lieutenant, nothing was done” (50-51).
Thus, practices like this gave way to the unprecedented misconduct of the officers and resulted in the apparent lack of knowledge by the LAPD regarding the deviant behavior of CRASH officers. After the brutality and unacceptable measures employed by CRASH officers became known to the public, that is the time that the LAPD Department scrambles to their feet to uncover the root and causes of the problem. Officers that were suspected of illegal activity were questioned. The Board of Directors then conducted an investigation of these officers before any measure can be done to demote, suspend or fire them.
The inquisition into the case has resulted in three “officers [being] fired…six other officers have resigned rather than face a Board of Rights hearing, and 25 have been relieved of duty…” (47). Also, the Board of Police Commissioners stepped in by looking at the Department’s policies, procedures and operations,…[so as to] consider [and gain insight into the] structural issues and obtain input from inside and outside the Department” (52). But enforcement of policy is not enough to guarantee that this event will not take place again.
The social system which “this behavior is but one small part…[should be altered]. [If not]…relations are likely to get worse before they get better if our society continues bent on law and order-without justice and social reform” (McCarthy). However, the CRASH officers’ behavior is not distinct from other police officers in the country. A study conducted with 36 observers who rode with patrolmen in the Chicago, Boston and D. C. area showed that “officers actually committed a felony in the presence of the observers” (Observing police misconduct, 1971).
Felony assault that occurs is “rarely in response to physical aggression by the citizen and never necessary to sustain an arrest” (Observing police misconduct, 1971). Professor and writer Richard Danner concurs by mentioning that “the use of violence…[happens when] victim show[ed] disrespect for the police or in order to obtain information…” He also explains this problem by saying that police officers have “rules of secrecy, specific patterns of acceptable behavior and their own form of morality…. they are dedicated to their own interests [at times] at the expense of the public whom they purportedly serve…” (Danner).
In addition, a new officer who does not have any violent tendencies, become acclimated and transformed into the police culture the longer he stays on the job (Danner). In short, deviant behavior- either a criminal or delinquent one- is only possible when the person engaging in the behavior truly believes that what he is doing is right. Therefore, a rationale or justification- in this instance “the end justifies the means” reasoning by CRASH officers- is necessary for the deviant behavior to continually take place. Resistance to supervision by CRASH officers, lack of supervision and unity also resulted to bring about this unfortunate matter.
Investigating the matter and punishing the wrong doers are appropriate measures that need to be done in order to stop the problem. However, a thorough outlook and reform into the system is necessary to ensure that this situation never happens again.
References: (2000). Report of the Rampart Independent Review Panel. Delamater, J. (1968). Social Forces on the Nature of Deviance. University of Michigan, 46, 4. (1971). Observing police misconduct. Science News, 99. McCarthy, J. F. X. (1971). Minorities and the Police. International Migration Review. Danner, R. J. (1973). The Police and the Law. Phylon.