Patterico's Pontifications

12/3/2009

A Stunning Example of Poor Leadership in the LAPD

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 12:50 am



[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

A consistent theme in my posts here and in my columns at National Review Online and Pajamas Media has been the frustration so often experienced by working police officers when burdened with poor leadership. Today I learned of a stunning example of this.

Police officers observe the tradition of wearing black mourning bands over their badges in honor of comrades who have fallen in the line of duty. The bands are most often worn when a member of one’s own department has been killed, and also for officers killed while working in neighboring communities or the surrounding region. After all, if we were to wear them every time a police officer somewhere in the country was killed, we would seldom take them off.

But the murder of the four police officers in Lakewood, Wash., on Sunday was felt far beyond the Seattle area, and many LAPD officers took to wearing the mourning bands as a demonstration of solidarity not only with the officers of Lakewood, but with police officers everywhere. There is an obscure provision in the LAPD Manual, however, that prescribes when the bands may be worn, and under a strict reading of the rules they are not authorized to honor an officer in another state.

Most of us felt this provision in the Manual was best ignored under the present circumstances. Incredibly, an LAPD captain disagreed, and he directed the officers at his station to remove the bands. Fortunately, word of this nonsense reached LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who immediately issued a city-wide order authorizing the wearing of mourning bands.

I hope he also had a few words with that captain, who clearly is unfit for the position.

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