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Councilman Bernard Parks to help create NFL policies to guide disciplinary issues

Councilman Bernard Parks said Wednesday that he and others with law enforcement backgrounds were consulted for the creation of policies adopted today by NFL owners to guide the handling of disciplinary issues — including domestic violence and sexual assault allegations — involving league players.

Parks, who was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1997 to 2002, said he spoke with National Football League officials and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about his experience handling police disciplinary issues.

The league was interested in creating a disciplinary structure that addresses not just employment-related problems, but also issues that “may be outside the scope” of the job, Parks said.

League officials were also interested in helping players better handle an “emotional” work environment, Parks said. They wanted to know about training that “show them how to defuse” stressful situations and help them “not carry the same level of emotion and anxiety into private life,” Parks said.

“It seems strange, but police work and the NFL have a lot of parallels,” Parks said. Police officers work in “an environment of accelerated anxiety and emotions,” but are also required to “quickly gear it down” once they leave a situation, he said.

League officials also took notes on how a police department structures its disciplinary system. Parks said he offered advice on the running of simultaneous criminal and administrative investigations, the need for a mission statement, and a clear and consistent disciplinary structure.

Parks said he was “pleased” by the broad nature of the policies announced by the NFL, and while some “nuts and bolts” need to be worked out, they serves as a “great first step.”

The NFL also sought out advice from New York Police Department Commissioner and former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

Several dozen other experts and organizations consulted by the NFL include educational institutions, groups fighting domestic violence and sexual assault and athletic associations.

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