LOS ANGELES – Law enforcement officers generally do not like to have their names or photographs depicted in a public forum as a measure of safety for themselves as well as their family members from would-be miscreants. This explains why officers with the Los Angeles Police Department are fuming after the agency recklessly released information involving undercover personnel.
LAPD did not freely offer details about their employees. They were compelled to disclose names, badge numbers, and photos of more than 9,000 officers, except for those assigned to specialized units as a result of a demand via the California Public Records Act. The request came from a citizen journalist.
Although LAPD was not supposed to release the names of undercover personnel or those involved in sensitive positions, the agency carelessly included the identifying information as well as images of personnel working undercover assignments, which was a major gaffe, officials acknowledged.
“We made a mistake. We made a big mistake,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore told FOX 11 Los Angeles during an interview.
“I deeply regret that this mistake happened. I understand personally, given my own death threats and on matters of me as a public figure and my family has endured as a chief and even before that, how troubling this can be to a member of this organization, and even more so to those that are involved in sensitive and or confidential investigations,” Moore said.
As a result of the information dump, some anti-police websites are having a field day and criminally targeting LAPD officers.
“We have people who have taken the list and are now criminally, we believe, making threats against the safety of officers, calling for a bounty and awarding a bounty for individuals who would go out and kill a cop,” Moore explained.
“Two things that we’ve messed up on. One, we should have told our people when we reached a settlement and we should have told them the basis for it,” said Moore. “Secondly, when we provided the list, we made a mistake in that we did not identify all the individuals in the organization who were involved in sensitive undercover investigations that should have been kept from them.”
“I’ll stand by what I’ve said. I have no reason to lie. I believe when you when we mess up, we need to own it,” said Moore.
“Owning it” has not appeased rank and file officers. Many are fuming. Detective Jamie McBride said, “This is serious. This is not a mistake. This is reckless.”
The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPD officers’ union) has filed a complaint against Chief Moore and an unnamed police administrator for the release of that information, according to McBride.
Moreover, LAPPL is also demanding that Twitter and Google remove information from their platforms that are threatening the personal safety of police officers, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported.
“I’ve been notified by a few officers already saying that they’re looking at other departments now before they get too much time invested here with the Los Angeles Police Department because they don’t feel that this department has their best interests at heart,” McBride said.
The Office of Inspector General is now investigating LAPD to determine exactly what transpired, causing the debacle.
Meanwhile, the chief is looking at the feasibility of seeking criminal charges against anyone threatening police officers.
“We’ve invited the FBI, as well as the district attorney, and we’re going to pursue people who have taken information that was released, some of it in regards that it shouldn’t have been released,” said Moore. “But they’re calling right now for these acts of violence are not against individuals that are in any sensitive assignments. They’re just calling it out against any officer’s photograph at all.”
According to FOX 11, an untold number LAPD officers said they are considering filing a lawsuit against the department for, “putting our lives at risk.”
Furthermore, the release of information involving undercover personnel has undoubtedly compromised several ongoing investigations.
“A lot of bad guys are not going to jail since investigations will need to be aborted, and some informants are likely in danger,” according to a longtime undercover detective. “Whoever is responsible for this utter failure should be demoted, at the very least.”
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