LA's police commission in quest for an image rebuild

LOS ANGELES: Plagued by bad press and a series of scandals within

the Los Angeles Police Department, the LA police commission is seeking

public relations help to bolster its image.

The five-person panel is a civilian group that oversees department

business, similar to a board of directors. However, critics have charged

that the current commission members are loathe to oppose LA police chief

Bernard Parks, and have done little to boost morale within the ranks in

the wake of corruption trials against some LAPD officers last year.

The board is looking for pro-bono or low-cost PR services to counteract

those perceptions, as well as to help explain the commission's role in

managing the police force.

Commission president Rick Caruso told the Los Angeles Times that he has

spoken to several agencies, but declined to name them. However, the

commission worked with Sagon-Phior Group, now SPG Holdings, on a

pro-bono basis in the mid-1990s. That campaign also revolved around

improving the commission and the department's image in the wake of

scandals such as the Rodney King beating and the riots that followed the

acquittal of his assailants.

"We had messages like ending hate, ending violence - we can make it

happen," said SPG partner Rio Phior. The company approached the

commission originally because "we thought they needed help," Phior


Phior added that her agency would consider aiding the commission again

in the future.

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