To the editor: Kudos to The Times for this important investigation about private donations to a foundation that supports the Los Angeles Police Department.
As an LA taxpayer, I don’t necessarily have a problem with philanthropic foundations raising money to support law enforcement. But there does seem to be something unseemly about a police chief giving special access to wealthy donors. And, naming rights for LAPD facilities seems odd at best.
The police department is not a political organization, nor are the chief and other department leaders politicians. The LAPD it is a public organization funded by millions of taxpayers and billions of taxpayer dollars.
Reading The Times’ investigation, I got the strong sense that there was something covered going on, especially given the reluctance of the foundation to be transparent about who participates and who may get special access to LAPD officials. So, from the perspective of a non-wealthy taxpayer, the philanthropic efforts do not seem to meet the smell test.
It doesn’t necessarily stink to high heavens, but there is a need for more transparency from both the LAPD and the Los Angeles Police Foundation. Further, it does seem that citizens can properly fund our police department without a scenario in which wealthy individuals and organizations obtain special access to the LAPD.
Loren Mark, Eagle Rock
To the editor: Investigative reporting is a wonderful and valuable service to help us all understand what is going on in areas to which we have low exposure. Thus, I found the article on funding for the Los Angeles Police Foundation so interesting.
Based on the headline, I expected some nefarious activity that would buy favoritism for a select few. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this foundation is doing some really valuable work helping the Los Angeles community at large.
The support for the LAPD in areas of technology and training is terrible. The foundation appears to provide a valuable support system without inserting itself into community policing politics.
Dudley Johnson, Costa Mesa
To the editor: Many years ago, when Deputy Chief Mark Kroeker was the top cop for the Los Angeles Police Department in the San Fernando Valley, a few of his friends wanted to raise money to buy Thanksgiving turkeys for our region’s police officers.
Mark thanked us, but told us it would be inappropriate to raise money from the public for the police, much as he appreciated the idea.
My, how times have changed.
Marty Cooper, Encino