Tuesday, April 10, 2007

5-month gap in record of LAPD complaints

LOS ANGELES - For five months, a toll-free LAPD hotline set up to monitor citizen complaints against officers didn't record any of the calls that came in - and nobody noticed, according to an internal audit the Police Commission will discuss today.
"It's an obvious concern when the mechanism to intake complaints is not working," LAPD Inspector General André Birotte said. "It's something that needs to be remedied sooner rather than later."
Listed on the back of all LAPD business cards, the 800 number connects the public to an internal affairs investigator. The recording says that all calls are monitored, but between April 27 and Sept. 29 last year, not a single call was recorded.
"Despite the recording system's malfunction, all complaints phoned in to the toll-free number were taken, documented and investigated," LAPD spokesman Lt. Paul Vernon said. "The malfunction has now been corrected, and persons calling the toll-free number will now have their complaints recorded on tape at the point of contact."
The system, required by a 2001 federal consent decree, was put in place to ensure complaints about alleged officer misconduct were recorded.
This year, the department hopes to get out from under the decree that stemmed from a lawsuit alleging the L

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