Los Angeles to Lower Police Recruitment Standards, Identify Officers in ‘Right-Wing Extremist’ Groups

Los Angeles to Lower Police Recruitment Standards, Identify Officers in ‘Right-Wing Extremist’ Groups
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass speaks with supporters in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Jamie Joseph
Updated:
0:00

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass wants to remove “obstacles” for police applicants who fail the recruitment process and discipline officers in ”right-wing extremist” groups, according to a list of two dozen provisions detailed in a planning document between her office and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

The three-page document, titled “Los Angeles Police Department Metrics”—first reported by the Los Angeles Times last week and of which The Epoch Times has obtained a copy—was shared with LAPD officials shortly after Bass reappointed Police Chief Michel Moore for a second term on Jan. 31.

Bass intends to focus on the most common reasons that recruits fail when applying to become an officer—and then seek to eliminate those hurdles—“especially for ethnic groups disproportionately left out of new officer training,” according to the document.

The LAPD will have until mid-November to develop recommendations to diversify the department through rolling back of testing thresholds that are deemed too difficult, the document reads.

But the city’s police union told The Epoch Times on Feb. 27 that hiring standards already have been lowered to combat the chronic staffing shortage that has plagued the LAPD in recent years.

Individuals in downtown Los Angeles were arrested on various charges and loaded into LAPD buses on Nov. 3, 2020. Law enforcement agencies are on high alert the remainder of the week for post-election crimes. Downtown Los Angeles, Calif. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Individuals in downtown Los Angeles were arrested on various charges and loaded into LAPD buses on Nov. 3, 2020. Law enforcement agencies are on high alert the remainder of the week for post-election crimes. Downtown Los Angeles, Calif. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

According to state standards, 70 is the minimum an applying officer can score on a physical fitness test.

But that has “been lowered in Los Angeles to 30,” Los Angeles Police Protective League spokesperson Tom Saggau told The Epoch Times. “We even have folks that have been admitted into the academy that are well below 30.”

The union—representing more than 9,000 officers—confirmed to The Epoch Times that the mayor and the LAPD are actively working on the directives outlined in the document. An LAPD spokesperson couldn’t immediately confirm if Moore had agreed to all 24 of the initiatives.

Many of the provisions—under the subheads of police reform, community policing, alternative response programs, personnel, and crime reduction—are similar to public safety proposals made by Bass during her campaign last year.

But Saggau said lowering the standards to become an officer is “dangerous.”

“What happens with any department that either has low standards, unfair discipline or low pay, it leads to corruption,” he said. “Why would you want to hire folks that don’t meet basic minimum standards?”

In January, LAPD officials began asking retired police officers to return to work amid a workforce shortage. As of mid-February, the department is down by 233 officers, according to a department personnel report.

The department currently has around 9,200 officers, but 600 are expected to leave in 2024, a 20 percent increase over 2022. During her campaign, Bass vowed to increase the LAPD to 9,700 sworn officers.

Additionally, the LAPD has until August to draw on data from the U.S. Department of Justice to identify, discipline, and potentially terminate officers associated with right-wing “extremist organizations,” according to Bass’s planning document.

Men taunt a Los Angeles Police Department officer with profanity in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 6, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Men taunt a Los Angeles Police Department officer with profanity in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 6, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Saggau said he would expand that directive to include “left-wing extremism” and “any group that espouses violence and extremism,” as well.

Other goals Bass wants LAPD to implement are expanding its Mental Evaluation Unit and System-Wide Mental Assessment Team for a more rigorous response to mental health calls, decreasing the number of officer-involved shootings, increasing transfers from other departments by 500 per year, reducing property crime, and improving homicide clearance rates.

Bass told The Los Angeles Times that her top priorities on the list of directives are “crime reduction, personnel reform, alternative response, and community policing.”

Bass’s office didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Jamie is a California-based reporter covering issues in Los Angeles and state policies for The Epoch Times. In her free time, she enjoys reading nonfiction and thrillers, going to the beach, studying Christian theology, and writing poetry. You can always find Jamie writing breaking news with a cup of tea in hand.
twitter
Related Topics