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Los Angeles Police Department Meltdown

The Fall of the Professional-Reform Model of Policing

By James Lasley

CRC Press – 2012 – 294 pages

Series: Advances in Police Theory and Practice

Purchasing Options:

  • Add to CartHardback: $83.95
    978-1-43-989917-5
    August 7th 2012

Description

Once considered among the most respected police departments in the world, the LAPD suffered a devastating fall from grace following the 1991 police officer beating of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots stemming from the officers’ acquittal in 1992. Unique to the literature of policing, management, and policy studies, Los Angeles Police Department Meltdown: The Fall of the Professional-Reform Model of Policing presents what can be considered the first and only existing research document truly explaining the reasons behind the LAPD’s demise.

The book reveals a special inside study performed by the author under the exclusive authority of LAPD Chief of Police Daryl Gates to investigate why the department had begun to disintegrate following the Rodney King incident, and how, if possible, it could be salvaged. The findings presented are based on first-hand written accounts of LAPD officer informants who describe their observations of the department’s meltdown as it occurred. These accounts explain why the crime-fighting enforcement style of the once highly regarded Professional-Reform Model of policing (coined at the LAPD) was abandoned in police departments across the nation in favor of the less aggressive community-based policing model.

Lost for some 20 years under mysterious circumstances after collection and storage at the LAPD, these officer informant materials were recently retrieved and made available for analysis. They are presented in their entirety in this book.

In every respect, this work is the final word on why and how the LAPD—a police organization emulated throughout the world—ultimately self-destructed after 41 years of serving and protecting the City of Angels.

Contents

Parker’s Thin Blue Line: The Professional-Reform Model (PRM) of Policing: Historical Overview

The Pre-Parker Era

The Parker Era

The Davis Era

The Gates Era

The Los Angeles Riots

The Study: A Qualitative Analysis of LAPD’s Organizational Dying Declarations

Criminal Intent and Organizational Death

Determining Whether or Not to Pull the Plug

The Thin Blue "Flat" Line

Admissibility of the Evidence

Missing in Action

Research Methodology: Preparing for an Organizational Autopsy

Officer Sample

Theme Development

Presentation of Findings

Study Limitations and Database

Assessing the Meltdown

Was There a Meltdown?

How Extensive Was the Meltdown?

Was the Meltdown Rapid or Slow?

What Caused the Meltdown?

Did the Meltdown Kill the Professional Model?

The Rodney King Incident

Possible Explanations

Officer Statements and Themes

Theme Analysis

Politicians, Special Interest Groups, and Community Influences

Possible Explanations

Officer Statements and Themes

Subtheme 2A: LAPD Will Become Like Other Large Police Departments

Theme Analysis

Hiring, Promotions, and Affirmative Action

Possible Explanations

Officer Statements and Themes

Theme Analysis

Management and Administration

Possible Explanations

Officer Statements and Themes

Theme Analysis

Quantitative Analyses

The Total Sample

Officer Gender

Officer Race

Officer Age

Officer Experience

Chief at the Time of Hire (or the Chief Effect)

Conclusions and Policy Recommendations Reconstructing the Meltdown

What Went Wrong?

Assessing the Manner of Death

Rethinking the History of Policing

Lessons Learned for the Future

Appendix: Officer Statements

II. Job Satisfaction

III. Supervision and Job Performance

IV. Working With Other Divisions

V. Personnel Involvement

VI. The Organization

VII. The Community and Police

VIII. Enforcement Functions

IX. Training

X. In General

Author Bio

James Lasley is a professor of criminal justice at California State University, Fullerton. He has worked in the field of law enforcement and research, most extensively with the Los Angeles Police Department. He participated in the design, implementation, and analysis of LAPD’s Operation Cul De Sac. His prior academic appointments include Washington State University, Arizona State University, the University of Southern California, and National University. He has also served as a consultant to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to establish standards and methods for police officer driver training.

Name: Los Angeles Police Department Meltdown: The Fall of the Professional-Reform Model of Policing (Hardback)CRC Press 
Description: By James Lasley. Once considered among the most respected police departments in the world, the LAPD suffered a devastating fall from grace following the 1991 police officer beating of Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots stemming from the officers’ acquittal...
Categories: Police, Policing, Public Administration & Management, Security Studies - Military & Strategic