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The Los Angeles Times has a detailed look at a major scandal that been brewing in the Los Angeles Police Department. It involves an out of control high school cadet program that resulted in the teenagers joyriding in police cars and taking other department equipment such as Tasers, radios and vests. In some cases the cars were used to pull over other drivers.
Seven cadets have been arrested so far and an LAPD officer is in jail on charges of having sex with a 15-year-old girl who was a cadet.
For weeks, according to documents, the teens used police cars to drive to and from LAPD-related events and on joyrides that took the vehicles as far away as Corona and Santa Clarita. Some of the cadets used the vehicles to perform “doughnuts” behind an Inglewood store and one drove a stolen LAPD vehicle to his job at a Ross Dress for Less store in Hawthorne.
There were other blatant actions: A high-ranking cadet described as “the ringleader” of the group asked someone to film him driving a cruiser, and they often drove with flashing lights and sirens blaring — in one instance racing through South L.A. to Hawthorne to move one teen’s personal vehicle before it was towed.
Still, it took Los Angeles police nearly two months to discover the cadets’ alleged misbehavior and take action.
The new disclosures are contained in court papers related to Robert Cain, a now-former LAPD officer accused of having sex with a 15-year-old female cadet. Luis Carrillo, the girl’s attorney, said the alleged transgressions and the delay in uncovering them show the department needed much closer handling of the teens.