NOTE: This post is about Police Commission Calendars from 2013 through 2020, and they’re here on Archive.Org.
The Los Angeles Police Commission theoretically oversees the Los Angeles Police Department via powers enumerated in the City Charter at §570 et seq. Although these powers are pretty broad, e.g. they include the power to recommend that the Chief be fired subject to approval of Council, the Commission doesn’t do much with them at all, as you surely know if you’ve ever attended one of their meetings. They act more like collegial collaborators with the police than any respectable oversight body ought to do.
You’ll have seen that the only people in the room who’ve spent any time at all thinking about police oversight are members of the public there to give comment. The Commission itself is overly friendly with the police and exceedingly hostile towards any members of the public who are not also overly friendly with the police. And it turns out that this impression of unseemly collaboration between overseers and overseen is also accurate outside public view.
The City of Los Angeles is notorious for ignoring its duties under the California Public Records Act. Among City agencies, the LAPD is probably the worst at responding to requests in a timely, comprehensive manner. One of the worst aspects of CPRA is that filing a lawsuit1 is the only recourse if an agency refuses to comply. This is the strategy being pursued by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.2
So anyway, my own CPRA experiences with LAPD confirm this general impression. For instance, on February 10, 2015, I sent them this:
I’d like to request a list of all active stay-away orders for the Hollywood Entertainment District or maybe you could suggest documents I could request that would allow me to assemble such a list myself? I’m interested in how many there are and what crimes were committed by the people subject to them.
I won’t bother you with a detailed timeline of all my ignored follow-up inquiries and their occasional non-responsive answers to them, but in more than 20 months after my making this request they still had supplied no records in response.3
Well, as you may be aware, I’m presently working through a theory on whether Los Angeles Municipal Ethics laws, specifically LAMC 49.5.5(A), can be used to force the City to comply with CPRA without having to go to court. A description of this project can be found here. Now, LAMC 49.5.5(A) states:
City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.