Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.

3.27.2006

AoM: the next Rodney King

You know, the LAPD gets a bad rap in the media.

And you want to know what? I think they deserve it.

I had a brush with a LAPD media relations (oxymoron or maybe just plain moron) officer Thursday afternoon. I was treated worse by this officer than I have EVER been treated in my 15 years as a reporter. She was yelling at me and blowing me off. I've interviewed killers sent to prison, talked to grieving parents of slain children, quizzed school officials when a child was kidnapped from a school campus and later found dead. Not one of these people treated me as disrespectfully as this cop did.

I'm working on a magazine story focusing on the increasing incidents of hidden cameras recording people unknowingly for someone's sexual gratification. I called the media relations line to seek some assistance from an investigator or detective on this kind of crime, how common it is, what women/children can do to try to protect themselves from this kind of crime, etc.

The woman who answered the phone was arguing with me about EVERY question I had. She deferred me with every scenario I gave her telling me to contact the schools, contact mall administration, contact the city attorney's office. She even went so far as to tell me that he LAPD investigates "big" crimes and this was not that big of a deal and that as long as she's been there, she hasn't heard about very many of these cases, if at all. She was incredibly rude and argumentative and not what I'd want to represent my organization with a member of the media. People sometimes wonder why they get a bad rap with the media and this is one reason why. I even told her I had no specific incident that I wanted to discuss, I just wanted someone who could address the topic, in general. She tried to say that this wasn't really that much of a crime and the police couldn't do anything about it in most circumstances until I finally gave her a scenario of walking down a public street and some guy with a hidden camera on his shoe shoots video up my dress, she finally acknowledged that, yes, it is probably a crime. I asked point blank if she couldn't find me someone to talk about it and she said to email the department.

I did not catch this woman's name because she was so busy trying to push me off on some other agency and arguing with me, that I couldn't catch it. It just completely caught me off guard. I have NEVER been treated so rudely by a media relations person in my 15 years of reporting and I used to cover the cops beat for years. Hell, I've never been treated so rudely by anyone I've tried to talk to for a story. I've been chewed out by a judge once, but he was a rude crotchedy old grump anyway who was losing an election and was just mad. He gets extra asshole points for chewing me out at a United Way luncheon, with my mom present and while I was 8 months pregnant. But, even Judge Buttnugget wasn't as rude as this cop.

I love on the LAPD website, it says this:
The Media Relations Section of the Los Angeles Police Department fosters cooperation and mutual respect between the Department and the news media. The members of MRS are dedicated and highly trained individuals who understand the importance of using the media as a valuable resource to keep the public informed as to the Department’s activities. In this regard, they realize that their role is to assist members of the media in completing the task of gathering information and reporting on news events impacting residents and visitors to the City of Los Angeles. The public’s perception and image of the Department is largely dependent on the hard work of MRS.

I think my favorite part is "The Media Relations Section of the Los Angeles Police Department fosters cooperation and mutual respect between the Department and the news media."

Ha. I fart in your general direction.

Then, Army of Dad sent me this story about the shortage of cops nationwide and how standards for being a cop have been lowered. Here is another great snippet:
There are concerns, said Elaine Deck, a researcher at the International Association of Chiefs of Police, that staffing changes and shortages could affect public safety and the well-being of law enforcement officers. The LAPD, for example, is too short-staffed to investigate complaints against its officers, so that many complaints from 2005 may not result in punishment until this year.

Yeah, I sent an email to the director of communications for the LAPD complaining on Thursday. I still haven't gotten a response. That's lovely.

This picture made me laugh, too. The LAPD cop falling off his bike reminds me a bit of Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey.


UPDATE: I received an email from the PIO on Tuesday. Yesterday I got a call from a lieutenant who apologized and said he was trying to figure out who it was because his staff is trained not to act like that. A few hours later, I got a call from the cop who was hateful to me. She apologized and said she knows she was rude and shouldn't have acted that way and that she was overwhelmed and it was no excuse to yell at me. I was shocked that she admitted it, but felt better to get the phone call. I'm guessing she lost a pants size from the ass chewing she got prior to the phone call being made.

2 Comments:

  • At 6:54 AM, March 28, 2006, Anonymous Army of Dad said…

    I love the one cop watching so he can be sure to make fun of the falling officer.

     
  • At 10:41 AM, March 29, 2006, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Got an email from the PIO from LAPD last night apologizing and then got a call today from a lieutenant about the incident. We talked a bit and we came to the conclusion that was likely their secretary who took the call. He said she tends to "interject herself" into calls if she takes them. He said she denied talking to me, but I probably would, too, if I were her.

    Gees. But, at least they responded and apologized for it.

     

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