Speed Reads


LAPD officers disabled voice recorders so they couldn't be monitored

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

To put it lightly, the Los Angeles Police Department doesn't have the most spotless reputation. And that's not about to change after The Los Angeles Times broke the news that officers last year removed the antennas from recording equipment in dozens of police cruisers.

According to the Times, about half the antennas were missing from patrol cars in one division alone. Yet while the department found out about the tampering last summer, it chose not to pursue the matter, instead issuing warnings. The city's police commission has since called on senior officers to explain why they never bothered to find out who removed the antennas.

The recording devices are intended to capture officers' conversations in the field, an important safeguard against unethical conduct. Removing the antennas doesn't render the voice recorders completely useless, though it significantly reduces their effectiveness. And the simple fact that officers took the time to strip them off does not instill confidence in the police force. If officers had nothing to hide, why did they bother messing up the gear in the first place?