LA police commissioner frustrated over publication of officer data

The president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners Tuesday expressed frustration and concern over how information related to LAPD officers was released to a watchdog organization and eventually published online.

"I've got to tell you, I'm extremely concerned, disturbed and upset as I sit here today," William Briggs said during Tuesday's Police Commission meeting.

"On Friday, I learned from media sources that an organization in this city launched a website that published the names, photos, ethnicities and serial numbers of over 9,000 LAPD officers."

According to Briggs, the act was taken in reckless disregard for the safety of officers and their families. Police Chief Michel Moore said the Office of Inspector General will launch an investigation.

The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition filed a public records lawsuit against the city last week, challenging what it said was the LAPD's refusal to release basic personnel information. The coalition also launched Watch the Watchers, a website that publishes headshots and other information related to sworn personnel.

Hamid Khan, an organizer with Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, reacted to the names of the LAPD officers being released to the public.

"To be honest with you, I mean, it's very clear that this is all public information. This was received through California Public Records Act, under that act, which has been in there since 1968," Khan said.

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On its website, the coalition says the records were obtained "from public records released by city agencies."

"This tool will boost our efforts to identify the cops who brutalize our communities," General Dogon, a human rights organizer with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, said in a statement last week.

"A decade ago, during our successful fight to end LAPD's Safer Cities initiative campaign of mass arrests in Skid Row, we made a booklet of officer photos. This new website will make it easier to document police terror across the city."

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LA Police Protective League Director Jamie McBride called the leak of the LAPD officers' names and information reckless in an interview with FOX 11.

McBride also adds it is dangerous to the undercover officers working with the department.

"Not only does this jeopardize the current officers working undercover, but we also have officers throughout their 23-year career going in and out of undercover assignments throughout their career," he said. "This is going to jeopardize them as well."

Briggs suggested that the organization's action was taken to cause harm to the officers and their families. He also requested Moore to report back to the executive committee with answers to better protect the information and the legal rights of LAPD's officers.

Commissioner Maria Lou Calanche, meanwhile, asked Moore to bring back a report regarding how the LAPD responds to public records requests, saying she wants to better understand the process.

"We need a new policy with respect to release of this information and I ask that you talk to the Office of Constitutional Policing to propose new policies with respect to release of any information that involves an officer or employee of the LAPD," Briggs said.

Moore said the information was released months ago through the California Public Records Act requests. He also said there were officers who were identified who work sensitive assignments.

"Steps have already been taken to address the issues you've identified," Moore said. "One, an effort to reach out to all employees, and secondly for those involved who work in a sensitive assignment that we work with them to understand what steps can be taken to protect their identity."