Patterico's Pontifications


Sharon Papa Responds

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:40 pm

Yesterday I published an e-mail exchange between the wife of an LAPD SWAT officer and LAPD Assistant Chief Sharon Papa. The wife had written Assistant Chief Papa about her concern that “there are actions being taken to lower the hiring standard for getting into SWAT.” Assistant Chief Papa replied: “I am not aware of any actions being taken to lower the standards for getting into SWAT.” As I detailed in my post, the standards have been lowered, and it would seem that Assistant Chief Papa must have been aware of that fact.

I sent Assistant Chief Papa a link to my post, and asked her if she could reconcile her e-mail with the recent reporting about the lowered standards.

She has responded. Here is her reply in full:


I appreciate your inquiry. You may or may not be aware that SWAT does not report through my chain of command. Therefore, I referred the message received to Operations since they make decisions daily that impact Metropolitan Division. I have no idea what the author of the note is specifically referring to and do not care to speculate. Plenty of that seems to be happening by people who have bits and pieces of information and have jumped to conclusions before having all of the facts.

I invite you and your readers to attend the Police Commission meeting when a comprehensive presentation will be made. The Board of Inquiry process will be explained along with an overview of the recommendations made to the Chief of Police. The status of each recommendation will be discussed by the Commanding Officers of Metropolitan Division. I believe the presentation will clarify many questions that you and others may have.

I recommend that you monitor upcoming Commission agendas for this item. We anticipate moving forward in the next few weeks. I do not yet have a specific date.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your inquiry.

Sharon Papa

Make of that what you will.

UPDATE: You know, I’ll probably send a follow-up e-mail seeking clarification, because I can’t even tell what this means.

15 Responses to “Sharon Papa Responds”

  1. LAPD News Release
    Papa’s appointment represents the first time in the Department’s 127-year history that a female has achieved the rank of Assistant Chief.

    Sharon Papa joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1997 when the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department merged. She was with the MTA Police Department for almost 17 years and was the Chief of Police at the time of the merger. Her leadership and direction significantly contributed to the successful merger of the two entities. Papa entered the LAPD at the rank of Commander and promoted to Deputy Chief in 2002. As an Assistant Chief, she will be the Chief of Administrative Services overseeing Risk Management, the Ombudsoffice, Advanced Planning Group and Fiscal and Technical Services Bureau.

    Indeed, make of it what you will.

    jeff (768971)

  2. Was speaking with my son, an active duty LAPD officer, and the troops are aghast that considerations are being given to lowering SWAT standards. They can’t imagine that this would actually take place.

    SWAT officers have trained with the Marines, Navy SEALS and Army Delta Force–the best of the best. Beyond the physical requirements, which are considerable, these assignments involve the highest mental focus. Similar to a top athlete, success is more mental toughness than physical stamina. Many strong men have not been up to the demands of SWAT.

    Confidence in one’s peers is also critical, as these lives are dependent on the reliability and skill of their partners under the most stressful and difficult situations.

    An underqualified member of a team sets up a “weakest link” situation where the capabilities of the group can be no greater than that of the weakest member.

    It is unimaginable that these rumored changes would actually happen. If they do, we can anticipate some terrible long-term results. As usual, management decisions will not be blamed–it will come down on individual involved officers.

    ManlyDad (d62cf6)

  3. Jeff, the assistant chief is a bureaucrat. I think it’s a shame she’s the only woman to have held such a job with LAPD, but I don’t know that this means she’s an AA hire. I understand she might be extra sensitive to AA critics.

    It’s ridiculous that she lies about not knowing what the note referred to, or that SWAT standards have been reduced. That’s a major decision to make, and if major players in LAPD aren’t aware of it, that’s a big problem.

    The government likes to say “I’m the wrong person for this issue, go seek this person or go to this future hearing/meeting/study”. that way, she doesn’t have to do her job and make decisions and take responsibility for anything. It’s called CYA.

    It’s lame, sad, and oh so typical that this assistance chief refuses to even admit the issue exists at all.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  4. Well, from today’s paper it appears that the LAPD Officers’ Union has filed suit for an unfair labor practice involving these changes that Papa says have not been made.

    Read her statement carefully and you can see classic bureaucratic double-speak.

    She’s careful to say that she is unaware of the issue raised by the SWAT wife — i.e., the narrow question of whether standards have been changed — but fails to address the question of whether the report of the advisory committee she oversaw is going to recommend to the Chief that the standards be changed.

    What appears to have happened is that the command structure for SWAT is aware of the committee’s recommendations, which were apparently complete as of a year ago, and has already begun to put some of them in place. The committee is now going to put on a dog-and-pony show for the Chief explaining why the changes are the right thing to do, notwithstanding the fact that it appears to be a fait acommpli.

    Papa only denies direct knowledge of the former while giving no response to the question of what she knows about the recommendations.

    wls (e9f058)

  5. I was very cynical when I first read this but I removed my snarky comments before posting. I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    She is the highest ranking female and came from outside the force into upper management, and was apparently given the task of overseeing the PC-ification of the SWAT team. If she supports these changes I not would think she would be so evasive. If she is competent and does not think this is a wise move it could be a thin blue line to walk. She may be trying to keep her head down to avoid the fallout from this stunt.

    Unfortunately at some point public safety and the safety of the officers should supercede political expediency, CYA, career advancement, and the personal agenda of the chief.

    jeff (967862)

  6. The SWAT team should inform the authorities that they will resign
    if the standards are reduced.

    I’m sure they could all find a better job with better pay. Safer too!

    rab (7a9e13)

  7. “Officer Survival Tactics” has a different meaning to the street patrol officer and anyone that is a lieutenant or above.

    huey (9558ff)

  8. I would think that someone in Hollywood would take this as an opportunity to write a script for a new SWAT movie. Something like “SWAT II: the PC Police” Situations that involve tension could include encounters with the personnel department or figuring out the appropriate accomodations for new appointees. It couldn’t be any worse than the local news from LA.

    Michael (8350c0)

  9. Well, Pat, she lied AGAIN! Two of the things she is in charge of are Risk Management (I am sure the gagged the legalities of such a decision) and Personnel Group and ALL testing goes through them! You can’t fart on the LAPD without Risk Management assessing the legal ramifications of flatulence! She is an Assistant Chief, I see some serious misconduct going on here, by Assistant Chief Papa and Chief Bratton! Who should I report it too? IA is Brattons henchmen squad, so the people of LA are going to have to stay in the fight and continue to assist! Papa has been Brattons LAPD wing-Woman since he got out here, and SHE had NO idea that Bratton was determined to make these changes? Riiiiiiiiiiiight! Pat, thanks for getting this info out to the public, they need to know what kind of “transparency” Bratton is really into! He is already using his power to try and locate and destroy anyone caught with their hands in this. This is only the tip of the iceberg! Papa and Bratton should remember that most of us became Police Officers to stand up for the little guy and people that couldn’t stand up for themselves. To confront the bullies and enforce the laws! To Serve and To Protect, and that includes against wrongs we see in our own department! They don’t remember the Oath, and sertianly don’t know what it’s like going through a door with an armed suspect on the other side! So why do arrogant types like these two think that Officers will just stand in the corner and take punches, without fighting back? Enough is enough and we’re just happy that the LAT (finally) and the people are not giving these REMF’s a pass! These upper snobs forget that everything is recorded nowadays and there will be a trail of evidence they can’t deny! Grab your popcorn ladies and gentlemen, but remember this situation calls for public participation! Thanks All.

    Ed O'Shea (56a0a8)

  10. I failed spelling in school! But feverish typing gets my blood pumping.

    Ed O'Shea (56a0a8)

  11. Chicago’s Police Board was put together by the same guy who put together yours, O.W. Wilson, and it’s basically a rubber stamp for the Superintendent (Chief). I used to monitor its meetings but I got no more information for being there in person than was in the press package and all the real business (such as ratifying recommendations for discipline and promotions) was done in executive session. I don’t know that operations were even within their purview.

    nk (34c5da)

  12. Now that Bratton was given his contract renewal, he is set. Short of willful negligence/fraud, he can do whatever he likes with the sure knowledge that he will be up for a major federal post (Director of Homeland Security, anybody) if a Democrat wins. If that falls through, he can retire with a very fat pension at the end of this contract.

    We, the people, are in a tough spot.

    Ed (4d72af)

  13. I’m struggling to understand the basic facts here, let alone make a judgment about them. After reading this post and rereading the earlier post, a SWAT wife wrote Assistant Chief Sharon Papa about whether SWAT admission standards would be lowered. Thereafter, the SWAT wife received a reply that purported to be from Papa saying, “I am not aware of any actions being taken to lower the standards for getting into SWAT.”

    Now, however, Papa apparently claims she never sent a reply to the SWAT wife. Instead, the SWAT wife’s email was forwarded to someone else and that unknown person replied to the SWAT wife. If so, this sounds like Hogan’s Heroes with Papa in the role of Sgt. Schultz and echoing his signature line, “I know nothing.”

    DRJ (a431ca)

  14. It’s troubling to see evidence that integrity at the upper ranks of my Police Department is demonstrably none existent! Below I have posted the 6 Core Values of the Los Angeles Police Department! Just about every one of these values applies to this topic and Chief Bratton and Asst. Chief Papa should pay particular attention to their lack of adherence to # 4!
    The reason Bratton is so incensed about this issue being leaked is because he is NEVER taken to task on any issue, no matter how ignorant he is on the subject! We all saw how arrogant he was when the reporter had the audacity to ask if a shooting was racially motivated. One of the major problems with the upper ranks of the LAPD, is it’s like the Michael Jackson effect (Gee Mike do you think it’s a good idea to be bed with a 6 year old boy?, What, your fired!). Meaning Bratton has all of the upper ranks to scared to disagree with him, so they all say YES SIR, to every hair brained thing he does! I think Profiles in Courage (The Commemorative Edition) should be required reading by all upper ranks of the LAPD! Also required reading should be “It doesn’t Take Hero” By Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf! These two recommendations would assist the “Leaders” of the LAPD in making the unpopular, yet correct decisions, while showing them what a true leader is like, in Gen. Schwartzkopf! They also should read the core values and reevaluate why they became “Police Officers” in the first place! At one time all of them sat across the table and waxed about helping people and, here’s a novel concept “doing the right thing no matter who’s watching or who you’re working for!
    Bring back Civil Service Protection for the Chief of Police or the status quo of political appointments will continue to tear this city apart! Have the Chief voted in?! Something, anything is better than the corruption we have now! There are plenty of good reasons not having political figures appointing Law Enforcement Officers! Are Eliot Spitzer, Marion Barry or our MIA Mayor the kinds of people you want appointing Police Chiefs? Stepping off the box. Happy Easter to all!

    Core Values of the LAPD

    The Core Values of the Los Angeles Police Department are intended to guide and inspire us in all we say and do. Making sure that our values become part of our day-to-day work life is our mandate, and they help to ensure that our personal and professional behavior can be a model for all to follow.

    ▪ Service to Our Communities
    ▪ Reverence for the Law
    ▪ Commitment to Leadership
    ▪ Integrity in All We Say and Do
    ▪ Respect for People
    ▪ Quality Through Continuous Improvement

    Service to Our Communities
    We are dedicated to enhancing public safety and reducing the fear and the incidence of crime. People in our communities are our most important customers. Our motto “To Protect and to Serve” is not just a slogan – it is our way of life. We will work in partnership with the people in our communities and do our best, within the law, to solve community problems that effect public safety. We value the great diversity of people in both our residential and business communities and serve all with equal dedication.

    Reverence for the Law
    We have been given the honor and privilege of enforcing the law. We must always exercise integrity in the use of the power and authority that have been given to us by the people. Our personal and professional behavior should be a model for all to follow. We will obey and support the letter and spirit of the law.

    Commitment to Leadership
    We believe the Los Angeles Police Department should be a leader in law enforcement. We also believe that each individual needs to be a leader in his or her area of responsibility. Making sure that our values become part of our day-to-day work life is our mandate. We must each work to ensure that our co-workers, our professional colleagues, and our communities have the highest respect for the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Integrity in All We Say and Do
    Integrity is our standard. We are proud of our profession and will conduct ourselves in a manner that merits the respect of all people. We will demonstrate honest, ethical behavior in all our interactions. Our actions will match our words. We must have the courage to stand up for our beliefs and do what is right. Throughout the ranks, the Los Angeles Police Department has a long history of integrity and freedom from corruption. Upholding this proud tradition is a challenge we must all continue to meet.

    Respect for People
    Working with the Los Angeles Police Department should be challenging and rewarding. Our people are our most important resource. We can best serve the many and varied needs of our communities by empowering our employees to fulfill their responsibilities with knowledge, authority, and appropriate discretion. We encourage our people to submit ideas, we listen to their suggestions, and we help them develop to their maximum potential. We believe in treating all people with respect and dignity. We show concern and empathy for the victims of crime and treat violators of the law with fairness and dignity. By demonstrating respect for others, we will earn respect for the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Quality Through Continuous Improvement
    We will strive to achieve the highest level of quality in all aspects of our work. We can never be satisfied with the “status quo.” We must aim for continuous improvement in serving the people in our communities. We value innovation and support creativity. We realize that constant change is a way of life in a dynamic city like Los Angeles, and we dedicate ourselves to proactively seeking new and better ways to serve.

    Ed O'Shea (d671ab)

  15. Sharon Papa is lying, she was in charge of the BOI that looked into the Pena incident (copy available The board worked on that matter over a year. She also made the comment “Why are there no women in SWAT” at a SWAT team briefing.

    Bob Gallegos (bd43fe)

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