Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images
Gang related graffiti on a storefront in South Central Los Angeles, California.
It’s one of the most stressful, toughest jobs imaginable. Cops on the gang and narcotics beats are charged with chasing down the most dangerous criminals in the country. And with all the drug money that’s involved, it’s a job fraught with temptation. Back in the 1990s, officers in the anti-gang unit in L.A.’s Rampart Division were found stealing, planting evidence, and even shooting alleged gang members. To continue its efforts to guard against such corruption, the LAPD will soon require cops in gang units to reveal their personal finances—just to make sure there aren’t any irregularities that could point towards corruption. But detectives are resisting the idea of turning over personal bank account information, investments, mortgage documents, and credit card statements. Many are threatening to quit the gang unit and go back to other assignments. Is the LAPD going too far in trying to keep its officers straight? Should gang cops have to disclose their assets? Could mandatory transparency prevent corruption?
Wes McBride, Executive Director, California Gang Investigators Association; worked for 36 years as LA County Deputy
Andra Brown, Lieutenant with operational support and media relations division, San Diego Police Department