Mismanagement in the Los Angeles Police Department

The City budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13 authorizes the employment of 3,328 civilian (non-sworn) employees in the Police Department. Moreover, the budget authorizes the expenditure of $231,860,000 as salary for those employees.

The 3,328 civilian employees in the PD represent more than 100 civil service job-classes.  Employees in most of those classes were hired on probation. Under Civil Service Rule 1.26, they should have been required to demonstrate their fitness by the actual performance of their assigned duties and responsibilities.

Regrettably, the Police Department violates Rule 1.26; it relies on its own rating procedure. It uses form LAPD 01.78.3 — Probationary Civilian Evaluation Report — to rate civilian probationers in virtually all those 100+ job-classes.

But that rating procedure is deeply flawed. It features 19 traits/habits, many of which are undefined. Thus, ratings based on that procedure are of no real value.

Why, for example, does the PD rate the Written Expression of Equine Keepers? Why are Firearms Examiners rated on their Neatness of Work Product? And how can supervisors rate the Attitude, Initiative, and Oral Expression of Custodians, Equipment Mechanics, Clerks, Police Surveillance Specialists, etc?

Clearly, the procedure used in the Police Department to evaluate probationary civilians is not a valid working test. It generates ratings that are based on traits and habits, and which don’t accurately reflect employees’ job performance.

LAPD 01.78.3 is a one-size-fits-all trait list. Its use affronts employees’ common sense, and frustrates their supervisors. Trait lists are abhorred by HRM authorities and rejected by the courts. The fact that 01.78.3 is still being used in the LAPD suggests that PD Leaders have allowed their Department’s civilian workforce to be mismanaged — that they’ve allowed taxpayer dollars to be wasted.

A final thought: It does seem a bit ironic that the City Department most closely identified with law enforcement would be caught not only violating civil service law, but — like a cat covering crap –attempting to hide the mess it makes.

Send your questions and comments to samuelmsperling@yahoo.com.