LAPD cancels trip to Arizona

The Los Angeles Police Department has canceled plans to send four people to a training conference in Arizona, a trip that would have required a City Council exemption from a boycott instituted over that state's anti-immigration law, the police officers' union announced today.

Los Angeles Police Department officials could not immediately confirm the union's report. Councilman Greig Smith, who authored a motion calling for the exemption allowing the officers to travel to Arizona, could not be reached for comment. Representatives for Councilman Bernard Parks, who seconded the motion, said they heard a rumor the officers' trip had been canceled, but they were still trying to confirm it.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement accusing the LAPD of "placing political correctness above public safety'' by canceling the officers' trip, saying it was a move designed to "spare the City Council the embarrassment of voting on this issue.''

The council had been scheduled to vote on the issue Tuesday, but the matter was postponed when some council members expressed opposition to the idea. The issue is on the council's agenda for Friday.

According to Smith's motion, an LAPD lieutenant, two sergeants and an officer were registered to attend the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference from July 12-17 in Tucson, Ariz. The conference is hosted by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Smith noted that the city's boycott suspended travel to the state of Arizona "unless special circumstances can be demonstrated to the council that the failure to authorize such travel would seriously harm city interests.''

He also said the four LAPD officials registered for the conference several months prior to the council imposing the boycott. Smith wrote in his motion that the conference "provides an opportunity to review innovative products and offers a broad range of courses/seminars to enhance the training of law enforcement aviation crew members and supervisory personnel.''

The City Council approved the boycott May 12 in response to Arizona Senate Bill 1070. The law, which has not yet taken effect, empowers local law enforcement in Arizona to check the immigration status of suspects they have stopped for other reasons if there is a reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally. It specifically bars police from racial profiling.