LAPD cadet is­sues out­lined

Depart­ment re­leases find­ings of in­ter­nal re­view, new man­ual for youth pro­gram.

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Cindy Chang and Kate Mather

Re­view of the pro­gram finds prob­lems in­clud­ing in­ad­e­quate su­per­vi­sion.

At some po­lice sta­tions, a sin­gle of­fi­cer su­per­vised 60 teenage cadets.

Cadets oc­ca­sion­ally used so­cial me­dia to bully one an­other or ex­press “in­fat­u­a­tions” with po­lice of­fi­cers. They some­times logged into po­lice com­put­ers us­ing an of­fi­cer’s se­rial num­ber.

Of­fi­cers who worked with cadets re­ceived no for­mal train­ing in how to in­ter­act with young peo­ple.

Th­ese were among the de­fi­cien­cies enu­mer­ated in an in­ter­nal re­view of the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment’s cadet pro­gram, which is reel­ing from a scan­dal in­volv­ing stolen po­lice cruis­ers and al­leged sex­ual con­tact be­tween a po­lice of­fi­cer and a 15-year-old cadet.

On Fri­day, LAPD of­fi­cials re­leased the 26-page re­view and an up­dated man­ual for the depart­ment’s youth pro­grams.

The new man­ual ad­dresses some flaws in the pre­vi­ous doc­u­ment, which was last re­vised more than a decade ago, did not in­clude rules about so­cial me­dia and re­peat­edly ref­er­enced the long-de­funct Ex­plorer pro­gram.

On June 14, three cadets in stolen po­lice cars led LAPD of­fi­cers on a chase through the streets of Los An­ge­les. Four other cadets

were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of steal­ing Tasers, bul­let­proof vests and other equip­ment.

The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the of­fi­cer, Robert Cain, and the 15-year-old fe­male cadet de­vel­oped in part through text mes­sages, Chief Char­lie Beck has said.

Cain, 31, was as­signed to the equip­ment room at 77th Street Sta­tion, where most of the seven cadets were based. The cadet pro­grams at 77th Street and Pa­cific sta­tions have been sus­pended.

Cain was charged July 20 with two counts each of oral cop­u­la­tion of a per­son un­der the age of 16, lewd acts upon a child and un­law­ful sex­ual in­ter­course, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

LAPD of­fi­cials are continuing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the cadet scan­dal, which has cast a cloud over a pro­gram that en­rolls more than 2,000 young peo­ple ages 13 to 20.

At a news con­fer­ence Fri­day, Beck said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is in “the sev­enth in­ning,” with Cain the only po­lice of­fi­cer sus­pected of wrong­do­ing.

Crim­i­nal charges have not been filed against the seven cadets, most of whom are ju­ve­niles.

The re­view notes that the cadet pro­gram is de­signed to build char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship skills and to im­prove re­la­tion­ships be­tween the po­lice and res­i­dents. Its reach is broad, with re­cruit­ing ef­forts tar­get­ing not just model stu­dents but also those who are “needy, dis­ad­van­taged and iso­lated.” Most cadets do not as­pire to be­come po­lice of­fi­cers.

Beck said the num­ber of cadets has tripled in re­cent years, which has led to some of the prob­lems de­scribed in the re­view.

He em­pha­sized that city of­fi­cials con­tinue to sup­port the pro­gram. Beck voiced his faith in “not only the ef­fi­cacy but the value of this to the city of Los An­ge­les and the young peo­ple of Los An­ge­les.” Some of the cadets checked out a po­lice car in the name of a sergeant and kept the ve­hi­cle for up to 10 days, putting a “lot of miles” on it, Beck said.

A city­wide in­ven­tory of po­lice equip­ment has turned up no miss­ing ve­hi­cles or firearms. A re­view of tech­nol­ogy and pro­ce­dures at sta­tion equip­ment rooms, or kit rooms, is un­der­way.

The po­lice of­fi­cers who su­per­vise cadets are known as youth ser­vices of­fi­cers. They are as­signed to the cadet pro­gram full time but are some­times called away to help with other jobs, such as staffing front desks, the re­view said.

The of­fi­cers did not re­ceive for­mal train­ing on how to in­ter­act with mi­nors, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to hold them ac­count­able if a prob­lem arose, said an ex­ec­u­tive sum­mary at­tached to the re­view.

Re­cently, though, the youth ser­vices of­fi­cers at­tended a manda­tory train­ing ses­sion. They will be is­sued depart­ment cell­phones so their com­mu­ni­ca­tions with cadets can be mon­i­tored, Beck said.

The re­vised man­ual states that youth ser­vices of­fi­cers should not be rou­tinely as­signed other du­ties. It pro­vides guide­lines for staffing ra­tios, in­clud­ing one adult for 35 youths in a class­room set­ting and one adult for 30 youths dur­ing phys­i­cal fit­ness train­ing.

Mir­ror­ing a di­rec­tive that Beck is­sued af­ter the cadet scan­dal ex­ploded, the man­ual re­stricts one-on-one con­tact be­tween cadets and adults and lim­its text and so­cial me­dia mes­sages to nec­es­sary busi­ness.

The man­ual pro­hibits cadets from us­ing depart­ment com­put­ers, driv­ing po­lice ve­hi­cles or set­ting foot in kit rooms.

Cadets typ­i­cally do not do po­lice work, though at some sta­tions, they an­swer ques­tions at the front desk. The re­vised man­ual per­mits them to an­swer phones and fill out sim­ple po­lice re­ports. The new guide­lines also al­low cadets older than 18 to par­tic­i­pate in vice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Po­lice Chief Char­lie Beck voiced his faith in ‘not only the ef­fi­cacy but the value of this [the cadet pro­gram] to the city of Los An­ge­les and the young peo­ple of Los An­ge­les.’

Chris­tian K. Lee Los An­ge­les Times

A PO­LICE VE­HI­CLE sits wrecked near 77th and San Pe­dro streets af­ter three cadets in stolen cruis­ers led of­fi­cers on chases through Los An­ge­les on June 14.

KTLA

LAPD OF­FI­CERS in­ves­ti­gate the scene of a crash af­ter one of the pur­suits in­volv­ing cadets.

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