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Researchers on Pasadena Police Overtime Report May Have Misrepresented Themselves

School’s Criminal Justice Program not responsible for work

Published on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 | 6:53 am
This is what readers see on the UCLA Law School website when they try to read a report issued earlier this month that said it was from the UCLA Criminal Justice Program. The school has since removed the document and says the report was not an official UCLA research publication.

It turns out the report on overtime in the Pasadena Police Department earlier this month was not published by the UCLA School of Law.

According to that report, the document was the second in a series that explores the budgets of law enforcement agencies across Los Angeles County.

The report was accompanied by a press release that stated “UCLA’s Criminal Justice Program Finds that Pasadena Police Department Allocates Millions More Than Other Police Departments to Overtime Spending.”

But in a letter to City Manager Steve Mermell, a UCLA dean said the UCLA Criminal Justice Program is not responsible for the findings.

“The report in question and the press release that accompanied its publication, are indeed the work of researchers affiliated with the school and our Criminal Justice Program. They are not, however,  official publications of the UCLA School of Law, nor even of the Criminal Justice Program itself, and do not  represent the findings or viewpoints of these institutions.”

The revelation was made in a letter to City Manager Steve Mermell on Tuesday from Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean and Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law.

“The report and the press release inadvertently  blurred the line that distinguishes between our institution and the research products of the people who  work in it,” the letter states.

According to Mnookin, the researchers have the academic freedom to pursue research topics as they wish,  including research that draws attention to police expenditures and the extent of overtime pay to law  enforcement in Pasadena and otherwise. But they are not doing so in the name of the institution itself.

The story was covered by several newspapers across the region and the city later issued a response.

“The UCLA study makes use of statistics to support a particular position, but it falls short due to a superficial analysis that does not take into account the relation between Pasadena Police overtime and security for the Rose Parade, the Rose Bowl Game, and the many events at Rose Bowl Stadium and throughout the city, which similarly sized cities do not have,” the city’s response read in part.

“We welcome analysis and are happy to share data, but sadly this superficial attempt has come up short,” the city’s statement said.

After receiving the graphic, Pasadena Now reporters asked one of the authors why they did not take into account those local events.

That question and several others were not addressed in the so-called findings.

Mnookin said the report and the press release have now been edited to make clear that the research, findings, and  judgments made in this instance are the work product of these authors, and not of CJP, UCLA Law, or  UCLA as a whole.

The school has also begun an internal process to ensure that any future projects by CJP  researchers or other centers, programs and institutes at the law school, provide “greater clarity on  this important point.”

“Please know that the Law School values deeply the ties that bind us with the City of Pasadena. I  certainly appreciate that we have always had a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with you and your office, and I trust that we will continue to do so,” the letter concluded.

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