July 29, 2009 By Andy Opsahl
Photo: An LAPD mobile substation. Credit: Creative Commons/888 Bail Bonds
An IT system for identifying potentially improper behavior among police officers helped the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) get a consent decree lifted this month that aimed to ensure reforms within the agency after a 1999 corruption scandal.
In 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles and the LAPD alleging a pattern of civil rights violations. The 1999 scandal that prompted the suit involved allegations of anti-gang officers planting evidence. Rather than going to court, the LAPD entered into a consent decree with the DOJ enforced by a federal court, mandating DOJ recommendations for improvement. With the recommendations now implemented to the DOJ's satisfaction, U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess lifted the decree, transitioning oversight regarding the matter to the Los Angeles Police Commission.
One recommendation was an overhaul of the agency's Training Evaluation and Management Systems (TEAMS). The new system built by Sierra Systems Group is called TEAMS II, and the key to its functionality is a component called Risk Management Information System (RMIS). The RMIS extracts officer performance data collected daily on roughly 12 officer activity databases, organizes it in a data warehouse and compares officers to one another.
"We basically compare them to one another in order to alert supervisors to any officers that might be engaging in at-risk behavior," explained Maggie Goodrich, commanding officer of the LAPD TEAMS II Development Bureau. The LAPD hopes earlier intervention can eliminate problematic behavior before it leads to scandal.
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