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Veteran LAPD Officers Charged with WC Fraud

NBCLosAngeles has an article on two officers of the LAPD, both charged with workers’ compensation fraud. The two officers, both veterans of the LAPD, have been charged with giving false testimony under penalty of perjury for the one, and falsifying medical records for the other. Because there have been no convictions, your humble blogger is reluctant to name them, but it appears that one has been an officer for 19 years, the other 13.

With or without the conviction, half the damage has already been done.  There is so much of what police officers and other law enforcement officials do that is tied into their credibility.  After the actions of Mike Nifong, every single district attorney in the country, prosecuting a charge of driving without a license or seeking the death penalty in a multiple murder case, had to endure comparison to that disgraced prosecutor.

A lot of criminal prosecutions rely on officer testimony, and their credibility, to get convictions.  There’s a good chance that these two officers have testified repeatedly in cases that lead to convictions.  If it is proven that these two officers really did engage in fraud, what credibility could they possibly have in any matter?  How could any person continue to be incarcerated and convicted if officers who themselves were found to be frauds provided the testimony that lead to a guilty verdict?

The point your humble blogger is making (again, without concluding the guilt or innocence of the parties accused) is that when law enforcement officers commit crimes of workers’ compensation fraud, the damage to the law enforcement community is done at the wording of the first accusation.  The damage to the public is done with the DA’s office suddenly finds itself facing a flood of convicts seeking retrial (even 13 years probably yielded a lot of court testimony).

Perhaps the solution lies in paying law enforcement officials more, so they are less inclined to trade the public’s trust and the binding effect of criminal convictions for a few dollars.  Perhaps the solution lies in better educating new recruits on how important their honesty is, and the result of a fraud on the part of the police officer is not just damage to one man’s reputation, but criminals returning to the street.  Perhaps the solution lies in giving prosecutors more tools and more encouragement to zealously pursue cases when it is a peace officer who engages in fraudulent acts.

In any case, your humble blogger sincerely hopes there is no merit to these accusations, and that time will show the district attorney to have been overzealous, which can be forgiven in a prosecutor, rather than these officers being frauds and liars, which never should be.

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