Man Struck and Killed by Metrolink Train
Notes from the December 10, 2013 Weekly Police Commission Meeting

Chief Charlie Beck’s Response to Settlement of West Traffic Officers’ Lawsuits

Los Angeles:  Today, the Los Angeles City Council approved a settlement on two lawsuits filed by eleven current and former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) West Traffic Division (WTD) officers.  The settlement for the amount of $5.9 million among the eleven officers and their attorneys follows the payment of $2 million to two WTD officers that had prevailed at the earlier trial on similar allegations. 

"It is unfortunate that this case cost the city hard-earned taxpayers money.  The goal has always been to improve the productivity and accountability of our officers in order to reduce serious and fatal traffic collisions,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.  “We do not agree with the original jury’s findings, unfortunately the large jury award in the earlier court case made settling this case the most prudent business decision.”

The WTD case challenged the Department’s efforts to ensure productivity among traffic enforcement motorcycle officers assigned to WTD.  The primary duty assignment of motorcycle officers assigned to traffic enforcement is facilitating the safe movement of traffic and reducing serious injury and fatal traffic collisions.  Their primary tools are giving warnings and issuing citations for traffic violations that contribute to serious injuries and deaths.

In an effort to reduce serious injuries and deaths, WTD made the decision to set goals for reductions of these violations.  This was not a quota system under the law.  Specifically, the WTD traffic enforcement officers should spend 80% of their time enforcing Vehicle Code violations that could lead to serious injury or death.  The jury in the first lawsuit interpreted this as an unlawful quota and determined that the officers were retaliated against for not meeting the productivity goals.  This case involving the eleven WTD officers now being settled was filed after the jury award of $2 million in the first case.

The Department has taken steps to ensure that all divisions are using appropriate measures to evaluate officers’ productivity.   The Department is committed to maintaining a workplace free from retaliation and all other types of unlawful discrimination and we will continue to strive for that goal. 

For further information please contact LAPD Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.

Comments

Let me get this straight. You have a job that pays you over 120K + a year, pension, deferred comp and excellent health benefits. Have a take home ride and don't pay gas on your commute. Your boss tells you to DO your job. You don't like it and get 6MM dollars from the city.

OK seems fair.

What happened to the Commanding Officers whose poor decisions and violations of CA law caused a jury to find the LAPD and the city at fault? Promotion, I believe?

Accountability means those who cause the city to pay millions, should be dismissed from their positions of leadership. Or is that "negligent retention"?

I come to work and am proud to put on the uniform, goal to protect and serve people in Los Angeles. I have had a turbulant career as a young P-2 but dug out of that hole and learned. I have since then earned over 100 commendations and 2 major awards that lead to my family watching me walk on stage and getting those medals their faces said it all. I now am a training officer because I told this story I am writing. Leadership is not about how just recap maybe it is part of it. Leadership is about what is in your heart and how you apply it as man or woman in any God given situation, the term Good Faith Effort applies here. I give it my all every day and do what supervisors tell me because it is teamwork. Tommy Lasorda saw talent in Fernando Valenzuela who was an immigrant from a small town in Mexico. He stood only 5'6" tall and did great things. I stand only 5'8" tall and hope to continue to do great things in this Department even when I received those suspension days early in my career but it taught me and my goal to teach those around me alike. My message is not to only focus on things like numbers or recap, but to truly make a difference like standing up for the weak by fighting crime or even doing whatever it takes to save a life like a DUI habitual offender or speed which kills. Very simple have what's called strong work ethic. Be safe out there and God Bless everyone!

So, this has cost the City of Los Angeles $10 million. Who at the WTD is being held accountable? Clearly, the City Attorney concurred with the original jury decision to award millions of dollars.

I think it's great that the LAPD ticket quota system is on the spotlight, but I'm just upset at the 11 officers who took millions of dollars from LA. That money can be well used for bigger and better things in the city. It irritates me to hear about cops suing their own city for the money. I thought cops do their job because they love it, not for the money!

All I have to do is write tickets? Take NO accident collision investigations, don't have to respond to radio calls, and I get to ride my bike home?? I'm in!!! Public safety or revenue for City?

Millions of hard tax payers money thrown away...again! Send these crybabies back to a different assignment! I'm a strong supporter of the police, but when officers don't do their jobs , sue and get money ...I'm outraged!!! Also shame on the command staff that had no clue on how to mange these lazy cops and allowed this incident to spiral out of control!!! They to should be re-assigned too!!!

Semper Fi

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