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LAUSD cop to be fired for felony false report

January 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Students at El Camino Real High School are embarrassed, shocked and angered at the news that the LAUSD police officer who was shot may have made the whole thing up.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Thursday night that LAUSD Police Officer Jeffrey Stenroos was arrested on one felony charge of filing a false police report.

Los Angeles School Police Chief Steven Zipperman confirmed that Stenroos will be fired.

In a statement, Zipperman said: "Mr. Stenroos will be relieved from his duty as a police officer and administratively assigned to home as the administrative and criminal investigation continues."

Stenroos had reported being shot by a car-burglary suspect outside El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills on Jan. 19. The incident prompted one of the largest searches ever in the area, with 9,000 students placed on lockdown. More than 350 polic officers set up a 7-square-mile security perimeter and searched the area for several hours.

"There were some inconsistencies, which I will not detail, that emerged early on, and it was a combination of things that caused them to become extremely skeptical," said Beck Friday.

Authorities had pooled together a $100,000 reward for a suspect that Beck now says doesn't exist.

"The current state of the investigation refutes Strenroos' initial account of the incident, and we are now certain that there is no outstanding suspect in this shooting," Beck said during Thursday night's news conference.

Beck said it was all unnecessary. Stenroos made up the story, Beck said, and is now facing a felony charge for filing a false police report.

Officials said the protective vest Stenroos was wearing showed it was struck by a bullet, but they would not say how it happened.

The cost of the manhunt could add up to $500,000.

L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine wants the city to sue Stenroos.

"We expended a lot of money, a lot of resources, the taxpayers paid for this, and my motion calls for the city attorney to find whatever assets this officer from the school district police has, to seize those assets," said Zine.

"It was just unbelievable that somebody would violate the trust of the community," said LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League called Stenroos an "embarrassment to law enforcement."

"We want to apologize to the public that a police officer would intentionally betray all of our trust. If these allegations are proven true, Mr. Stenroos is now where he belongs, behind bars," the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement.

No one answered the door Friday at Stenroos's home.

Neighbors say nothing appeared unusual recently.

"Just a generally good guy, honest guy. I mean he always offered to help whenever I was out working on the cars and stuff. It's just pretty crazy that he would lie about something like that," said neighbor Greg Leland.

Stenroos is an eight-year veteran of the school police.

He was released on $20,000 bail.