The union representing the rank-and-file in the Los Angeles Police Department unleashed a barely concealed attack on police Chief Charlie Beck today, linking his policies to a surge in crime.
"The Los Angeles Police Protective League will formally request that the Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee immediately hold public hearings to determine the effectiveness of Chief Beck's current crime reducing efforts and what he proposes to do to reduce the dramatic rise in crime,'' a statement said, announcing a late-morning news conference by two of the union's directors.
"The LAPPL will also disclose the dangerously low police patrol staffing levels that are endangering the residents, visitors, businesses and police officers in Los Angeles.''
The police union cited a 20.2 percent increase in violent crime and a 10.7 percent increase in property crime from 2014 to 2015.
Relations between the chief and the union appear to have been particularly strained since he called last week for charges to be filed against LAPD Officer Clifford Proctor for the shooting death in Venice on May 5 of an unarmed homeless man named Brendon Glenn. It was his first such call. "I don't do this lightly and in the vast majority of the time, as you well know, I stand up for you, regardless of public opinion," the chief told officers in a video. "But in this case, I had to call it like I saw it. I had to do the right thing."
Police union officials accused the chief of flagging in the face of political and public pressure. Jaime McBride, one of the directors scheduled to speak at the late-morning news conference, said that by making public his recommendation to charge Proctor, Beck engaged in "nothing short of political grandstanding" to curry favor with department critics.
Officers, he said, have "lost any and all confidence" in his ability to lead the LAPD. "He would be delusional to believe otherwise," McBride said in a statement last week.