Officials Push for Overhaul of LAPD Disciplinary System Amid Complaints Chief Beck Too Harsh on Officers

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Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson unveiled plans Wednesday for a ballot measure that would allow police disciplinary panels to be made up entirely of civilians. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles city leaders took the first step Wednesday toward a major overhaul of the Police Department’s disciplinary process — a move long sought by the union that represents rank-and-file officers.

City Council President Herb Wesson unveiled plans for a May ballot measure that would allow the LAPD’s Board of Rights panels, which review serious misconduct cases, to be made up entirely of civilians.

The three-member boards are currently made up of two officers, both at the rank of captain or above, and one civilian. Under Wesson’s proposal, officers facing a disciplinary hearing would have the option of asking for their cases to be heard by a civilian-only panel.

Those changes, if approved by voters, would hand a major victory to the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents about 9,800 officers and has been at odds with Police Chief Charlie Beck over discipline. The union filed a federal lawsuit against the city in May, calling for more civilian representation in the disciplinary system and accusing Beck of having a “corrupting influence” over misconduct cases.

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