Sources within the LAPD have confirmed the existence of video footage that confirms that a program designed to help identify corrupt officers.
Members of the Special Operations Division say it's all about weeding out "the bad apples". Officers who willfully do wrong while wearing the badge leave a stain on the entire department, they said, which is why the SOD works hard to investigate allegations of officer misconduct.
Those who perform the investigations say it definitely takes a toll; they can't share the details of the operations with anyone, especially since that could compromise the safety of department personnel. They also need to be somewhat evasive, which can impact professional friendships as well as their at-home family life.
Video footage has captured everything from murder-for-hire plots, to helping file charges against an on-duty officer who took weapons from a suspect that was never booked into jail custody.
The work is not easy, and only the most elite officers are invited to participate. Higher ups say they look for people who have a strong personal constitution, the highest levels of integrity and made of a solid moral fiber. Those who have the strongest sense of right and wrong are best suited to help identify people who are behaving inappropriately.
The Los Angeles Police Department's current Chief, Charlie Beck, was one of the original members of the unit. As an investigator he sold narcotics, planted evidence on arrestees and was even involved in murder-for-hire investigations.
Beck says more officers are exonerated than implicated.
Although officers are aware the investigations unit exists, they're not privy to who is, and who is not a part of it. What Beck did say, though, is that it is the largest of its kind throughout the US.
Footage reveals covert LAPD unit designed to weed out department's 'bad apples'