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Charlie Beck named L.A.'s new chief of police

Beck
The Los Angeles City Council today appointed Charlie Beck as the city's new police chief.

The council unanimously approved Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's nomination at a hearing this morning. There was no organized opposition to the nomination of Beck, currently an LAPD deputy chief, but the stakes are high.

The choice comes at a time of uncertainty for the department as Beck will be given the task of sustaining former Police Chief William J. Bratton’s hard-won gains amid dwindling city budgets. Beck, 56, has risen quickly through the department’s command ranks in recent years and was viewed widely as the favorite to be selected by the mayor.

From his success in rehabilitating the Rampart Division, which had been at the center of a corruption scandal, and later as head of the LAPD’s forces in South Los Angeles, he has earned praise from police and civic leaders for blending a tough stance on crime with a progressive approach to improving the police department’s relationship with the public.

Villaraigosa chose Beck nearly three months after Bratton announced he would step down at the end of October. During his seven years as chief, Bratton oversaw dramatic declines in crime and improved long-strained relations between police and minority communities.

With the department budget being battered by the city’s fiscal crisis and morale of rank-and-file officers wavering in the face of a new contract that offers no pay raises, Beck faces a serious challenge in maintaining the progress of the last several years.

During a city council committee hearing last week on Beck's nomination, community leaders and council members praised his work and called him the right man to take over the department right now.

Beck made his own presentation, saying his top goal was to extend the reforms begun by Bratton and move them down into the rank and file of the department. He said he would concentrate on continuing reforms Bratton introduced into the mind-set of the thousands of officers who are the heart of the organization.

"Now is the time to push down into the patrol cars," Beck said of the reforms, adding that this effort would be the "hallmark of my leadership." In interviews, Beck said he planned to give greater authority to the captains who run the department's dozens of field stations.

Currently, decisions on how to deploy a large segment of the department's force are made by commanders at LAPD headquarters. Field captains should have more discretion, Beck said.

Amid an ongoing debate over the size of the force and whether the city should continue to fund an effort by the mayor to add 1,000 officers, Beck said he believed the current number of officers, which hovers near 10,000, should be viewed as "a floor, a basement." Any drop in numbers, he said, would make it difficult to continue the gains made under Bratton.

-- Joel Rubin at L.A. City Hall

Photos: Charlie Beck sworn in as LAPD chief

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa swears in Charlie Beck as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department after the City Council unanimously approved his nomination at a hearing this morning. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (6)

old face from the rapar division
who won the mayor he has his yes master chief of police
lets see how the love from los angeles last on chief beck
not long you see.

I'm looking forward to see how Chief Beck plans to take the lead in police accountability for a model that all law enforcement departments can follow across the nation.
In order to have the trust of the public, there must be responsibility and accountability when it comes to citizen complaints and internal affairs investigations.
Just like President Calderon in Mexico, polygraphs should be a condition of on going employment to be used as a tool in internal affairs investigations for the purpose of asking them if they broke any laws they are supposed to uphold.
If officers knew that this tool could be used, maybe they would think twice before breaking their own laws.
The bad apples not only destroy and put lives at risk, they put the brave and honest officers in even greater danger.
Until corruption is taking very seriously on all levels of law enforcement, we will never win the good fight.
I saw a documentary not too long ago, how the gang members buy the police scanner codes from a corrupt cop daily, so they know when to run when a patrol car is in the area. How messed up is that? Here you got officers trying to do their job and one of their own is defeating the purpose. For greed!
Enough with corruption. It's time to BREAK THE CODE!

No 'Arpaio' for the tea-party interlopers.

Personally I think Chief Beck will do a fine job. He has the experienace of a street cop and the political savvy of an administrator. Hopefully he will use his knowledge and experience to run the LAPD not like the Chiefs that preceded him, but with his own view of the way things are in real life intersperced with the recognition of what worked and what didn't work in the past. Give the guy a chance to do the job right before you critize him over what he may do wrong.

I wish Police Chief Charlie Beck the best in keeping Los Angeles safe. I hope that he will take an early start in how officers are trained and make sure they have everything necessary to be successful. A chief needs to be an advocate for the city.

Best for Los Angeles!

Kennedy N. Collins
55th County Central Committee, REPUBLICAN

Chief Charlie Beck is an innovative leader that inspires his people to think and act with respect to the community policing goals of the LAPD and the citizens of Los Angeles. What a huge breath of fresh air for this great city. The City of Los Angeles and it's police department are once again on the right track to Serving and Protecting the citizens of Los Angeles once again.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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