As the courts start chewing through police officer allegations of harassment and discrimination — with one complainant already being vindicated by a $1.3-million jury award — now is the time for Burbank to engage in some serious self-examination.
With the second trial involving allegations of mistreatment within the Police Department underway, Burbank finally will be confronting demons that have been lingering around City Hall for years — specifically, which officials knew what, who turned a blind eye, and how complacent were city leaders when alleged complaints were filed.
If juries continue to come down on the side of the complainants, the reflection may become more ominous, but all the more important to confront.
With many of the complaints now years old, it clearly will be up to current leadership to glean what they can from the ongoing legal proceedings and apply the lessons in a way that will have long-lasting effects for the department. Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse has already taken a number of steps to reform his inherited department and, as he put it, “deal with” any remaining problems.
With a willing change agent already at the helm, and months more of legal drama on the schedule, never has there been a more relevant time to make the final, transparent push to permanently set the Police Department on the right course.