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Strain of Change: Voices of Los Angeles Police Officers

NCJ Number
Welford W. Wilms; Warren H. Schmidt; Alex J. Norman
Date Published
October 2000
94 pages
This report examines the rank-and-file of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) police officers' and supervisors' changing perceptions of events from 1996 to 2000.

The summary of findings about officers' views indicate that most officers report that external public support for them is eroding, especially support from community members and political leaders; much criticism focuses on the new "1.28" complaint system (concerning complaints lodged by citizens) that is hated by most officers; the Chief of Police comes under harsh criticism by rank-and-file officers because they perceive him as an uncaring, inflexible, and harsh manager; relationships between officers and captains who manage the areas appear to have seriously eroded since the first survey was conducted; a growing number of officers report being unclear about expectations the department holds for them; despite stresses and strains within the department, the quality of work life reported by officers at their areas has been high though there are indications that it is slipping; despite a public perception of the LAPD being racist and sexist, very little evidence to support it was found; the vast majority of LAPD officers report that they are ready for community policing; and most officers express values and beliefs about police work that could be described as altruistic. Data were collected from 3 surveys of samples of more than 1,900 sworn employees of the LAPD in 9 areas conducted periodically over 4 years. Tables and appendixes