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PANEL: CHANGE PARKS' SYSTEM MINOR GRIPES AGAINST OFFICERS WOULD BE RESOLVED QUICKLY.

Byline: Mariel Garza Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Police Commission agreed Tuesday to give more discretion to local captains to speed up the resolution of minor citizen complaints against officers.

The action stemmed from recommendations developed by an ad hoc study group examining the Los Angeles Police Department's discipline system with an eye to reforming it. Many officers have called the complaint process unfair and unnecessarily lengthy.

LAPD Cmdr. Tom Lorenzen, head of the department's Internal Affairs division, said the change will allow local area commanders to handle minor complaints about service or officer attitude instead of sending them through the longer formal complaint procedure.

``No longer will we have officers waiting literally months for resolution, holding up transfers, holding up promotions,'' Lorenzen said.

Under former Chief Bernard C. Parks, all complaints, no matter how minor or seemingly frivolous, were handled through the official complaint process at department headquarters.

Officers were critical of the process because it took months for even minor complaints - such as criticism that an officer was sarcastic when giving a ticket - to be cleared.

Under the proposed change, a captain could clear up a minor complaint the same working day, Lorenzen said.

The proposal is subject to approval by the City Council.

Police Commissioner Rose Ochi, who chairs the work study group, said the proposal was supported by the commission staff, the Internal Affairs Division and the Inspector General's Office.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file officers, also supports the change, said President Mitzi Grasso.

Parks, who is running for City Council, could not be reached for comment.

This is only the first phase of the study group's recommendations to reform the overall discipline system, Ochi said. Other installments of the study group's suggestions will come before the commission in future months.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 19, 2002
Words:299
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