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Job of Overseeing Reforms at LAPD Attracts Nearly 20

Nearly 20 applicants, including some of Los Angeles' best-known lawyers, are seeking to oversee the most sweeping set of reforms ever imposed on the Los Angeles Police Department, sources said Tuesday.

Officials from the city and the U.S. Department of Justice are expected to spend the next few weeks reviewing the applications to find the person--or team of people--best suited to monitor the LAPD's progress in implementing the wide range of fixes outlined in a recently filed federal consent decree.

The applicants, who were required to submit letters of interest by Tuesday afternoon, include a number of former members of the U.S. attorney's office and people with long histories of investigating police abuse cases, sources said.

Although city officials have refused to release the names of the people expressing interest in the job, sources said applicants include attorney Andrea Sheridan Ordin, a former U.S. attorney under President Carter and member of the Christopher Commission, which investigated the LAPD after the Rodney G. King beating.

Ordin is applying as part of a team that includes Michael Strumwasser and Fred Woocher.

According to sources, attorney Robert C. Bonner, a former federal prosecutor who served as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration during the elder George Bush's presidency, has expressed interest in serving. He would oversee a team that would include attorney Richard Mosk and former county Supervisor Ed Edelman, sources said.

After stepping down from the post in the Bush administration, Bonner returned to Los Angeles in 1993 to handle high-profile criminal cases. He was one of the attorneys representing Heidi Fleiss during her trial on money laundering and tax evasion charges.

Mosk, another longtime lawyer, was a member of the Warren Commission that probed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and of the Christopher Commission. Mosk also served as chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America's Classification and Ratings Administration Board. He is the son of California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk.

Also applying for the position is attorney Stephen Yagman, who has sparred with the city on a number of police abuse cases over the years.

Yagman is considered a longshot for the job because of a provision in the decree that disqualifies people who have sued the city.

Once in place, the monitor will have broad access to LAPD employees and records and will write quarterly reports, updating the judge and the public on the city's progress toward complying with the requirements in the 114-page agreement.

The Los Angeles City Council approved the consent decree in November under pressure from the Justice Department, which threatened to file a lawsuit against the city alleging that the LAPD engaged in a "pattern or practice" of civil rights violations.

Although officials are moving forward to find a monitor, they are waiting for a federal court judge to sign off on the decree. Federal court Judge Garry Feess has so far declined to formalize the pact, because he wants clarification on a number of issues, including what role he will have in selecting the monitor.

Meanwhile, two council members said they still hold out hope that Los Angeles can get out of the federal consent decree. Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. said he plans to introduce a motion this week that would rescind the council's approval of the decree

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