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. NEWS September 4 - 10, 1998 .
 Cops battle LAPD Internet posting

by Jim Crogan

 How many cops does it take to make an LAPD bomb squad? Want to know who's on the department's 10-most-wanted list? How can you commend an officer for a job well done, or report police misconduct?

Now you can get your answers - along with hot links to sample a Jack Webb love rap track or clips from an episode of Cops - via the World Wide Web. Simply click on to the LAPD's brand-new Web site, http://www.lapdonline.org/.

This open posture comes hard, however, for an institution steeped in secrecy.

The issue is being pressed by the Police Protective League, which has filed suit to block publication of SLO mug shots, citing privacy rights and a potential threat to the officers and their families.

"We've been contacted by over 50 percent of the SLOs, expressing concern that being publicly ID'd would jeopardize their safety and the safety of their families," says league president Dave Hepburn.

In court papers filed August 11, League general counsel Enrique Hernandez cites a Web site called "Killercop," which reportedly advocated violence against LAPD officers, offering a "$1,000.05 reward to the first person who kills a cop making an illegal arrest . . . and $2,000.10 if it's an LAPD cop."

The Web site was shut down after complaints were lodged by the department, but it re-emerges occasionally.

Chief Parks responded to the League suit in typically direct fashion. "We are not a secret police force," Parks said in an interview. "SLOs are the department's liaison with the public. That's their job.

"The department also has a policy that it will not put anyone in a job an officer feels is too dangerous," Parks continued. "So if these officers feel that having their picture on the Web is too dangerous, then they need to step aside so we can get other people into those positions."

"Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." -Elie Wiesel

L.A. Weekly News