Politics Over Public Safety? LAPD Backs Out of Arizona Conference
Photo by lauren/pagni via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Every year the LAPD attends the Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA) Conference, which happens to be in Arizona this year. As such, the helicopter-heavy department had to go through some hoops this time around because the L.A. City Council voted to approve a boycott of the state, which included official travel, over its recent immigration law. Councilmembers Greig Smith, a reserve officer, and Bernard Park, former LAPD chief, introduced a motion hoping to waive travel restrictions for four personnel to attend the conference, but it was tabled -- perhaps the police foundation would pay for it -- and now the whole trip is canceled "in respect" of the boycott.
LAPD Chief Charile Beck emphasized to the LA Times that the department is not a political entity even if canceling the trip was out of respect for the Arizona ban. He said the helicopter training was not essential and could be done elsewhere.
But the move is not sitting well with the LAPD's union president Paul Weber. "Apparently, the LAPD command staff decided that it should spare the City Council the embarrassment of voting on this issue," he blogged. "By placing political correctness above public safety, the Department did itself no favors. Clearly the training, considered to be one of the premier trainings for air support policing, was important enough for the Department to approve sending them in the first place - despite the budgetary constraints and long before the City Council enacted its boycott."