Ways to prevent LAPD from crashing their cruisers [Ted Rall cartoon]
Los Angeles Police Department cruisers are involved in an average of one crash per day, reports Times staff writer Joel Rubin.
Most of the crashes were minor, but some resulted in life-threatening injuries or totaled police cars, or were the result of the officer violating traffic laws, according to LAPD records. In at least two incidents, the driver of another car was killed.
And at a time when the Los Angeles Police Department is trying to stem the steady stream of lawsuits filed against officers that cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year, traffic accidents remain a significant and costly obstacle. They represent nearly one out of every four lawsuits filed against the department. The city has paid nearly $24 million in settlements or verdicts in about 400 LAPD traffic-related lawsuits over the last nine years and must contend with dozens more cases that remain unresolved, city records show. In all but a few of the closed cases, city officials opted to pay a negotiated settlement instead of taking their chances at a trial -- a strong indication that the officers were in the wrong.
As the LAPD and the Los Angeles Police Commission consider the best way to investigate these crashes and prevent others, cartoonist Ted Rall has also been hard at work drawing up ideas. His proposals are above. I'm especially fond of his idea for installing "giant airbags all over town" -- but some might argue that L.A.'s already done that.
--Alexandra Le Tellier
Cartoon: Ted Rall / For The Times