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.