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May 16, 2017 — Local Elections
Local

City of Los Angeles
Measure C Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Civilian Review of Police Disciplinary Matters
— undefined

Shall the Charter be amended to allow the City Council to provide that a police officer who is entitled to a Police Department Board of Rights hearing for a disciplinary matter may select a Board of Rights composed of all civilian members?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

You want to allow the City Council to adopt an ordinance to provide a police officer accused of misconduct the additional option to have the case heard and decided by a Board of Rights panel composed of three civilians.

NO vote means

You want to keep the Board of Rights as is: comprised of two command-level police officers and one civilian, with no option for an all-civilian Board.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Sharon M. Tso, Chief Legislative Analyst

This Charter Amendment, if approved, would give City Council the authority to enact an ordinance that would grant police officers in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) who have been accused of misconduct the option of having their cases heard and decided by a Board of Rights panel composed of three civilians.   When the Chief of Police (Chief) finds that an officer has committed misconduct that warrants termination from employment, the Chief must direct the officer to a Board of Rights hearing with a recommendation that the officer’s employment be terminated. In misconduct cases that the Chief believes do not warrant termination, the Chief may demote an officer or suspend an officer for up to 22 days without pay; however, the officer who has been suspended or demoted may request a Board of Rights hearing to determine guilt and the level of punishment. Under the City Charter, a Board of Rights has the final authority to determine guilt in misconduct cases and prescribe an appropriate penalty in all cases referred to a Board. The Chief may either impose the penalty recommended by the Board of Rights or a lesser punishment. The Chief is not able to terminate the employment of an officer without a recommendation to do so by a Board of Rights.   Currently, a Board of Rights panel is made up of three members: two command-level LAPD officers with the rank of captain or above, and one civilian hearing examiner chosen from a list maintained by the Board of Police Commissioners. A Board of Rights hearing is conducted under administrative law, with arguments presented by the accused officer and the officer’s counsel or representative and a sworn supervisor acting as an Advocate for the LAPD. At the conclusion of a Board of Rights, the panel decides the officer’s guilt or innocence. If an officer is found guilty, the Board of Rights then enters a penalty phase, where it determines what level of punishment is appropriate. Decisions in Board of Rights hearings are made by a majority vote and do not have to be unanimous.   This proposal seeks the authority to create an optional all-civilian Board of Rights. Under this proposal, the City Council would be authorized to enact an ordinance to give officers going before a Board of Rights the option to have their case heard and determined by a Board of Rights panel composed of three civilians, as opposed to a Board composed of two command- level officers and one civilian. The qualifications of, selection process and compensation for civilian Board of Rights members would be established by the ordinance. At the end of two years, the Police Department would be required to submit a report to the City Council on the effectiveness of the ordinance.   If approved, this measure would be the first change to the composition of the Board of Rights since 1992, when the civilian member was added to the panel. Prior to 1992, Board of Rights panels were composed of three police officers with the rank of captain or above.   This measure will become effective if approved by the majority of voters.

Financial effect

Richard H. Llewellyn, Jr., Interim City Administrative Officer

If approved, this ballot measure would allow the Los Angeles City Council to adopt an ordinance whereby a police officer who is entitled to a Police Department Board of Rights hearing for a disciplinary matter may select a Board of Rights composed of three civilian members. If the City Council adopts such an ordinance, the Los Angeles Police Department could incur additional costs of approximately $280,000 annually to retain the services of additional civilian hearing officers.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

More information

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