LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A report released by the inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Commission on Friday charges that some command officials inflated patrol numbers by adding in "ghost cars" that never left the station.
The report says that in five of the 21 LAPD patrol divisions, officers were sometimes reported out on the street when they were actually working at their desks. The report's bottom line is that there weren't as many officers or police cars patrolling the streets of Los Angeles as the LAPD's internal reports said there were.
"I think it's been going on for years," Mark Croni, a director with the LA Police Protective League who was a motorcycle patrol officer in the LAPD for 20 years, told KCAL9's Dave Bryan. "I think it has been pervasive throughout the city."
Croni believes there was pressure on command officers to meet the required patrol numbers on paper, whether they were real or not.
"If I'm a captain or above, I want to make those that are above my position happy, so I want everybody to believe that my division is doing what it should be doing," Croni said.
The Inspector General's report concludes this about reporting inaccurate LAPD patrol deployment number: "The OIG found that it occurred during multiple shifts at different times of the day, involved officers of differing ranks and was carried out differently depending on who was involved and where they were assigned."
The president of the LA Police Commission, Steve Soboroff, told Bryan that the commission asked for the investigation.
"We found something that was wrong, it was reported to us, the commission, we asked the inspector general to look," Soboroff said. "They did a sample, and the sample showed that ... people would take a police car, sign out, say they were in the field, bring the car back to the police station, and then go in the station and work. They weren't leaving, they were going and doing other work."
Soborff said as soon the top brass at the LAPD found out about the problem, they cracked down on the practice a couple of months ago.
"We're fixing the problem, and what the department said, again, I think the way the chief is handling this is right on the money," Soboroff said. "This stops now. Termination. This is it. This will never happen again. Don't do it again."
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