After-Action Review

The City in Crisis: A Report by the Special Advisor to the Board of Police Commissioners on the Civil Disorder in Los Angeles

Publication Date

October 1992


William H. Webster and Hubert Williams


This report examines the LAPD’s preparation for and response to the civil disorders that followed the April 29, 1992, acquittal of four LAPD officers for their role in the arrest and beating of Rodney King. To identify the issues and provide recommendations, a team interviewed current and former LAPD officers, city and county officials, representatives of other agencies, state and federal officials and agency personnel, high-level police officials from around the country, and members of the LA community. The team collected and reviewed agency, city, county, state, and federal documents. The team held 7 community meetings and conducted phone interviews with community members. Finally, the team surveyed police departments in 72 of the largest cities across the country. Results from the study have led us to believe in the need for a change in the relationship between the police department and the communities in LA. Our three primary recommendations are as follows: that the department adopt new priorities that place renewed emphasis upon basic patrol duties; that significantly increased attention be paid to emergency response planning and training in both the department and the city as a whole; and finally, that the city modernize and improve their emergency operations center and emergency communication system.

Research Design


Research Methods

Interviews, Surveys

Recommended Citation

Webster, W. H., & Williams, H. (1992). The city in crisis: A report by the special advisor to the Board of Police commissioners on the civil disorder in Los Angeles. National Policing Institute.