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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 3/23/2006 12:40:12 PM EDT
LAPD Sues 53 Officers


Updated: March 23rd, 2006 11:19 AM EDT



PATRICK MCGREEVY
Los Angeles Times



The city of Los Angeles is suing 53 former LAPD officers for $1.6 million, alleging that they broke their employment contracts by leaving within five years of graduating from the Police Academy.

Thirty of the officers have hired an attorney to argue that federal and state labor laws prohibit the recovery of training costs.

The LAPD has required recruits to sign five-year contracts since a 1996 investigation found that some were quitting as early as the day after graduation to work for other departments that did not pay for training. Police Academy training takes seven months and costs $60,000 per officer, although the lawsuits seek amounts that have been prorated based on how long each officer served.

The city's position is being criticized as unjust by the leaders of other Southern California police departments who have hired the former LAPD officers.

"It's indentured servitude," said Frank Wills, the police chief in West Covina. "I don't think it's fair."

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and other city leaders say they are just trying to protect the investment made by taxpayers. Officials also say they have offered to negotiate a settlement that would allow departed officers to repay the city over a number of years.

"We think it's important that the city gets paid," said Contessa Mankiewicz, a spokeswoman for City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo. "But we don't want to create a financial burden for officers. We are very aware that people don't always have that kind of money sitting around."

The City Council adopted the contract requirement after it was disclosed that academy graduate Ceasar Escobedo took a job with the San Marino Police Department the day he graduated. The No. 1-ranked recruit in 1995, Sean Frank, departed for the Glendale Police Department after eight months in the LAPD's Pacific Division.

But West Covina Chief Wills said the LAPD "conveniently ignored the fact that they took more than one officer from San Marino. They stole officers from all over Southern California. Now there is a role reversal, which is of their own doing."

Wills said the city attorney in West Covina has expressed interest in going to court to challenge the LAPD contracts. "The legality of this is questionable," he said.

As of this week, the city had 34 lawsuits pending against officers and 19 others in the process of being filed.

In one suit, the city is going after an officer who quit the LAPD 10 months after graduating to work for the city of Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County. City officials say that officer owes them $51,000 in training costs.

Three of the officers being sued had been with the LAPD less than one year, and eight quit in less than two years, according to Mankiewicz.

Bratton said he supported recovering the costs from the officers, even though he understood why some of them did not stay with the LAPD.

"They join us and get married and have a few kids, and after a few years they get tired of doing the 70-mile each-way commute and end up taking a job in a local police department," Bratton said.

Under the 10-year-old requirement, applicants must sign a contract agreeing to repay part or all of the cost of training if they leave before completing five years on the force. Exemptions are made for officers who leave because of extenuating circumstances.

Officer Andrew Bjelland, 33, was presented with a bill for $35,000 when he left the LAPD after 2 1/2 years for the Chino Police Department.

Bjelland said he did not like what the commute from Fontana was doing to his family: "I couldn't succeed as a father and husband with the long commute to Los Angeles."

Bjelland said police recruit training can be had for $5,000 elsewhere.

Officers say less expensive training is available at local schools, including Rio Hondo College.

"I don't think the LAPD bill is reflective of the true cost," he said. "It's more of a punitive measure to keep us employed by the city."

Anthony Alvo, the first former LAPD officer to be sued, agrees.

Alvo had just left the Marine Corps when he arranged to enter the Police Academy.

He said the contract was put in front of him along with a lot of other papers, and he was told to sign it.

"You really didn't have an option," he said.

Alvo, 29, said he quit in 2000 after less than two years on the job to join the Chino Police Department, where working conditions were better.

In deciding to transfer, he cited frustration over what he saw as an overly harsh disciplinary system imposed by then-LAPD Chief Bernard C. Parks, now a Los Angeles councilman, and concern over the department and its officers being tainted by the Rampart corruption scandal.

Despite serving a two-year stint in Iraq since leaving the LAPD and suffering a knee injury, Alvo is being sued for $34,000.

"If the LAPD was as good a place to work as it claims, they should have no problem retaining officers," Alvo said.

Alvo and 29 other former LAPD officers have hired Northern California attorney Jon Webster, a former policeman, who is going to court Thursday to ask that the large number of officers be certified in a class action countersuit against Los Angeles.

Webster said he believed a precedent had been set by at least five other cases in which city work contracts where struck down.

"In every instance it was considered to be an unlawful kickback to the employer," Webster said. "It is unlawful under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act for any employer to ask for money back from an employee."

Webster said the Police Department's cases would be hurt by the city's insistence that recruits go through the Police Academy because other cities allow officers to attend less expensive training programs.

"The bottom line is employees are free to come and go as they please," Webster said.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:47:19 PM EDT
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:48:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 12:49:37 PM EDT by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By GySgtD:

A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.




+1


If the money is so much better elsewhere, pay the fine.


It's like getting out of a cell phone contract early



He said the contract was put in front of him along with a lot of other papers, and he was told to sign it.

"You really didn't have an option," he said.




Don't hire on with the LAPD
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:49:08 PM EDT
I don't see a problem here.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:49:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:51:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



Not if state law says the contract is illegal... nevermind the veteran they're trying to screw. His reserve unit probably got called up, leaving him with no choice.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:53:26 PM EDT
A nearby agency has just put this into their contract because they've been losing so many officers to higher paying agencies. Maybe the clue is to pay higher wages themselves if wages are the motivating factor.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:53:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.



Really? If I sign up for the Army to go to flight school and resign my commission the day after graduating do you think they would just let me walk away? Same goes for ROTC scholarships.

These guys got a 'scholarship' to go through the LAPD Academy and now have to put in their time.

I see no difference, they are cheating the taxpayers of LA out of money for their own personal gain.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:54:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
A nearby agency has just put this into their contract because they've been losing so many officers to higher paying agencies. Maybe the clue is to pay higher wages themselves if wages are the motivating factor.


Yep. Agreed. But a contract is still a contract.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:56:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:


There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.





Many fields offer free schooling in exchange for XX years of service.


How do you figure that works?



As long as the contract has a buy-out clause, I see no issue. Why should a company invest a lot of money in you and lose it?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:57:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:02:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.



Interesting. In general I'd say you signed it you live with it, but I know not all things in employment contracts are always enforcable for money damages. If it specifically laid out that you owed training money back unless you stayed 5 years and you signed on reading that, then in my mind you owe it back.

Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:03:11 PM EDT
What the hey?...are cops better than anyone else, say like teachers...they regularly get education costs forgiven if they teach.

This is just labor under a contract and there's a BIG difference between INVOLUTARY SERVITUDE and INDENTURED SERVITUDE and it's obvious one side likes the idea of them being confused.

Pay up you ingrates, if you don't want to honor the contract. Jeez, I suppose the city will have to pay for their lawyers!!!!
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:05:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By tc556guy:
A nearby agency has just put this into their contract because they've been losing so many officers to higher paying agencies. Maybe the clue is to pay higher wages themselves if wages are the motivating factor.



Ha, this sounds like the NBA....good luck and I'll leave out the tasteless "dunking" jokes.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:07:33 PM EDT
I have some views on this.................

First is the Chiefs from other agencies, that don't send new officers to academies, are hypocritical.

Next, the $5,000 vs $60,000 price tag. The difference is LAPD is paying the officers in their academy to attend. So their costs are not just the "tuition" to put on the academy. But tuition and wages of each attendee.

Officers that plan to get hired by LAPD, so that they can turn around and get on with anbother department, based on the training LAPD provided, are self centered.

Officers that get on with LAPD, complete the academy, and then start not liking the job, because of admin, the commute, working in LA, etc. should be FREE TO LEAVE. Imagine dealing with a cop that signed up for 5 years, and at year 1 he realizes he doesn't like what he is doing. Now imagine you are having a bad day, and get stopped by him................................. Get the danger?

Next, before LAPD goes after officers that left, perhaps they should examine why they are having difficulty retaining quality officers.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:07:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.



Really? If I sign up for the Army to go to flight school and resign my commission the day after graduating do you think they would just let me walk away? Same goes for ROTC scholarships.

These guys got a 'scholarship' to go through the LAPD Academy and now have to put in their time.

I see no difference, they are cheating the taxpayers of LA out of money for their own personal gain.


Yeah, but there's no Federal law saying that you are able to do that. These contracts are not legal by precidents set with other state agency hiring contracts. That's the point they are trying to make.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:11:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
I...Officers that get on with LAPD, complete the academy, and then start not liking the job, because of admin, the commute, working in LA, etc. should be FREE TO LEAVE. ....



Free to leave? No Problem - just repay all that money or have your new agency pay it, after all the taxpayers at the new job are benefiting from your training.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:13:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:15:21 PM EDT
No different than a trucking company that requires an inexperienced driver to work for them for a year to cover training costs. The corporation my dad is with does the same thing with lawyers, they pay for law school and require them to work there for three years after they graduate at a 30k a year salary.

If they signed and it stated the payback policy I don't really see what they are complaining about. They should have to pay up for what the government spent on them.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:16:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
I...Officers that get on with LAPD, complete the academy, and then start not liking the job, because of admin, the commute, working in LA, etc. should be FREE TO LEAVE. ....



Free to leave? No Problem - just repay all that money or have your new agency pay it, after all the taxpayers at the new job are benefiting from your training.



Training employees is the cost of doing business. Business, the military, and other organization pay to train employees, some of who are fired, quit, retire etc.

Again, what is better a digrunlted cop that is only staying where he is to keep from paying back that initial training cost. Affecting morale, the members of the public he contacts, etc. etc.

or saying if this isn't working out you shouldn't work here anymore.

Remember that $60K can be a fraction of what a lawsuit broguht on by a cop that hates his job can be.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:23:14 PM EDT
Given that the basic school is 6 months and FTO runs another 3 or so, I can see a requirement of a year, but 5 years is a bit much.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:29:05 PM EDT
When I got a new job last summer, they offered to pay for a home-finding trip, pay my movers, pay the final month's rent at previous residence, pay for my travel when I moved, and 1/2 month's salary. I had to sign something that said if I leave the company within one year, I have to pay it back.

Does this mean I could tell them to FOAD? (not that I would, or want to)
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:42:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By shotar:
Actually, this more than anything else will blur the lines between military and Police. One of the arguments used by many here is that one cannot just up and resign from the military without consequences. Clearly police agencies are also invoking consequences for just up and resigning.




The consequences are monetary in nature. So just pay your own schooling and no problem. Consequences with the military are legal in nature, no buyout option. Thus much different.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:45:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By killswitch:
The consequences are monetary in nature. So just pay your own schooling and no problem. Consequences with the military are legal in nature, no buyout option. Thus much different.


Unfortunately, some states will not allow you to put yourself through the basic school.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:46:05 PM EDT
most states have a one year limit on employment contracts for this very reason. And this contract would have to be renewed every year. I dont see a problem the officers are most likely in the right and will come out on top.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:49:01 PM EDT
tag.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:51:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:57:45 PM EDT
I don't think anyone made them sign. I'm pretty sure they went to the police academy on their own free will and signed their contract on their own free will.

Complaining about your commute? You knew that before you even applied!

I don't feel any sympathy here. Seems very selfish to me.



Oh, and my current job required me to sign a 10 year committment from when I FINISHED my training (which took just over a year). I knew that full well going in, and it doesn't bother me one bit.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:58:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:01:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



There is a lot of jurisprudence that states that someone cannot enter into a contract for peonage or indentured servitude. This probably won't go anywhere.



Like joining the military?

Contract's a contract.

And yeah they did have a choice. Not to sign. There are other depts, other academies, other jobs.

Docs have to sign restrictive covenants in their contracts which are non-compete clauses. I think it sucks because there is not way around it. Every single medical corporation has them in their contracts so there is no way around it. But I signed them, I owned up to them. I do think the gov't should make them illegal though.
Cost of training is a little differnt matter though. In the instance where the .gov trains you fro military MOSs, such as a pilot, you cannot let these people just walk. Little difference here though. 60K seems more than a little excessive however.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:09:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:
I have some views on this.................

First is the Chiefs from other agencies, that don't send new officers to academies, are hypocritical.

Next, the $5,000 vs $60,000 price tag. The difference is LAPD is paying the officers in their academy to attend. So their costs are not just the "tuition" to put on the academy. But tuition and wages of each attendee.

Plus recruiting, backgrounds, equipment and insurance.



Officers that plan to get hired by LAPD, so that they can turn around and get on with anbother department, based on the training LAPD provided, are self centered.

Officers that get on with LAPD, complete the academy, and then start not liking the job, because of admin, the commute, working in LA, etc. should be FREE TO LEAVE. Imagine dealing with a cop that signed up for 5 years, and at year 1 he realizes he doesn't like what he is doing. Now imagine you are having a bad day, and get stopped by him................................. Get the danger?

Next, before LAPD goes after officers that left, perhaps they should examine why they are having difficulty retaining quality officers.



It appears LAPD is suing even those who decided LE work isnt right for them and simply quit to pursue another occupation.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 2:41:54 PM EDT
People leave the LAPD for many reasons, but it’s usually job dissatisfaction. If you were fortunate enough to pass the seven month academy you were in for an even tougher 1 year probation period. If you were one of the unlucky ones to be assigned to either Southeast (Watts) or 77th you could be penned out of the job for the slightest mistake. Ten of us were assigned to Southeast Division out of the academy and four resigned on the spot.

While on probation I had four training officers for a period of three months each. The first was skinny like Gumby and didn’t want to eat during the shift so I went without for 3 months. You can’t say anything on probation or you’re gone. My next training officer liked to eat a least six times during the shift so we spent a majority of the time doing that instead of chasing calls. The next training officer was a micro-manager who had to log everything he did during the shift almost by the minute. Remember the neat freak in Sleeping with the Enemy movie? That was just about the last straw for me and I thought about looking for another job with a smaller department. I was fortunate enough to hook up with my last training officer. An ex Vietnam Vet and great guy. He taught be more in the last three months on the job than the other clowns did in first nine months. He changed my mind about the job and I stayed on for another four years through four shootings.

During the 70’s & 80’s LAPD was a great department to work for. I believe it was do to a majority of the officers being military vets. Most of them retired by the late 80’s and the department went to shit. No longer were we getting the highly trained vets and other officers from different departments. Hiring quotas were soon put in place for more women (a kinder LAPD) who were coming from backgrounds in social work, teachers, homemakers, etc. The department went soft and down hill. Later every minority group started their own association within the department causing further divide. We were no longer all blue; most were playing the race card to advance in the department. After Chief Gates left the city hired a bunch of incompetent losers to oversea the department. We could no longer do the job we were hired to do. A good example is the Rodney King riots. We could have shut that down in 24 hours, but the brass was afraid of losing their jobs or getting sued. That was the deal breaker for most officers that left the department.

The cost of living, travel times, smog, crime, gangs, backstabbing brass on the department, etc., eventually wears you down and it’s just not worth staying on the job for any price.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:34:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mr_camera_man:

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



Not if state law says the contract is illegal... nevermind the veteran they're trying to screw. His reserve unit probably got called up, leaving him with no choice.



that is unbelievably ignorant of the laws pertaining to job security for activated Reservists. And the LAPD is very familiar with the laws about that. In fact from what I've heard, LAPD does more than required under the law.

In any case the idea that a contract to repay training costs is equivalent to peonage or indentured servitude is almost as laughable. It's a contract and they probably are going to have to pay.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 4:36:10 PM EDT
Around here if a department paid for your academy you either had to work it off, pay it yourself or the department you go to pays the original department.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:28:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
When I was hired to go to Iraq, I signed a contract stating, in part, that I would repay the company for the costs of training/selection if I passed but refused to deploy. That sounds fair to me.



Your integrity and sense of right and wrong have absolutely NOTHING to do with happens in LA.

The whole thing is sad and hilarious at the same time. I'm not even sure that hell hole could be fixed if they wanted to.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 6:56:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

It appears LAPD is suing even those who decided LE work isnt right for them and simply quit to pursue another occupation.



I think while this is one of those areas where it's within your rights to persue yet abjectly stupid to do so. If a large number of trained people are bolting in the first year there is something very wrong. You can use the law to make 'em stay, just like you can use the law to make 'em join the army. It's a loser though. "You will be fined and sued until your moral improves" is just silly on it's face.

We can sit here and debate what men should do, but we all know what unmotivated unhappy men do.... the bare minimum required.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 2:10:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:02:11 AM EDT
Simple solution....

The Class costs 60,000. You may pay them 12,000 per year until it is paid off,
or you may work one year and receive a $112,00 credit toward your education.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:04:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
A contract is a contract.

Their arguments to the contrary are just whiny mindlessness.



a big +1 to that.

I have been around several jobs that are not LE that stipulate in writing, that if you attend training/school/whatever, you are expected to work for them for XX amount of time or pay them back for the cost of school.

No sympathies here.

No Expert
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:10:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 3:10:45 AM EDT by Leisure_Shoot]
oops... double tap.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:23:10 AM EDT
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:59:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SnoopisTDI:
When I got a new job last summer, they offered to pay for a home-finding trip, pay my movers, pay the final month's rent at previous residence, pay for my travel when I moved, and 1/2 month's salary. I had to sign something that said if I leave the company within one year, I have to pay it back.

Does this mean I could tell them to FOAD? (not that I would, or want to)



Girlfriend of mine is going through the exact same thing now. Her menager told her after 10 months of employment no problem, you don't have to repay the relo money. 12 months later she got a letter from a collection company. Surpise Surprise the old manager denies ever saying that. It was not in writing so she is fighting it now. It was like 6K total. i stayed at an old job of mine for the same reason. If i left early, (the job blew) I would have owed them like $7k
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:02:05 AM EDT
"Bust a deal, face the wheel."
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:07:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:
"It's indentured servitude," said Frank Wills, the police chief in West Covina.



That's exactly what it is, and it's illegal.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:10:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 9:10:45 AM EDT by motown_steve]
Dammit.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 9:23:07 AM EDT
You take their free training, you need to hold up your end of the bargain and fulfill your contract. No mercy for them.

If they are willing to be underhanded in this situation, you think they won't be on the take at the first opportunity?
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