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LAPD's Jim McDonnell named next chief of Long Beach Police Department [Updated]

McDonnell Jim McDonnell, who served for most of the decade as one of former Chief William J. Bratton's top assistants at the Los Angeles Police Department and was among the short list of finalists to be his successor, was named Wednesday as the next chief of the Long Beach Police Department.

McDonnell, 50, who currently oversees the detective bureau at the LAPD, will become the 25th police chief of Long Beach, a 52-square-mile city of about 463,000 people, when he is sworn in next month. He succeeds Anthony Batts, who commanded the force of more than 1,000 officers for seven years before leaving late last year to become chief of the Oakland Police Department.

A 28-year veteran of the LAPD, McDonnell was viewed as an ambassador who helped the department build bridges with the city's diverse communities and political leaders as Bratton's chief of staff and second-in-command.

As a candidate for LAPD chief in 2002, McDonnell presented a blueprint for community-based policing that was adopted by Bratton and served as the foundation to overhaul and reform a proud but troubled organization in the wake of the Rampart corruption scandal.

In Long Beach, McDonnell takes over a department that struggled last year with a surge in officer-involved shootings as well as continuing and entrenched gang crime. McDonnell said he plans to emphasize strategic crime-fighting, using analysis and emphasizing state-of-the-art technology to help supplement traditional policing.

"I'm looking forward to working with the men and women of the Long Beach Police Department and the community to help make a great city an even safer city," McDonnell said in a phone interview. He added that he will continue to emphasize "respectful and compassionate policing," a philosophy he said he has maintained his entire career.

[Updated at 12:43 p.m.: Long Beach City Councilman Robert Garcia said he looks forward to working with McDonnell.

“I hear he's had a pretty stellar record in Los Angeles, and there's a lot of challenges in Long Beach,” Garcia said. "He’s going to be coming into a force where morale has been typically good, but I think there's always more challenges for someone coming in from the outside.” ]

McDonnell joined the LAPD in 1981 and worked his way up the ranks, holding a variety of assignments in patrol, detectives, vice, gang, organized crime, homicide and other divisions.

A decade ago, as a commander, he gained attention for his efforts to revitalize the LAPD's senior lead officer program and to build the forerunner to the Compstat computer crime-mapping system.

McDonnell incorporated those initiatives in a blueprint to remake the department when he applied for the chief's job in 2002.

When Bratton was named chief, he cited McDonnell's blueprint and used it as the foundation of his bid to reform the LAPD beginning in 2003. McDonnell served as Bratton's transition team leader before Bratton named him one of three assistant chiefs, first serving as his head of operations and later as chief of staff.

McDonnell was among the final three candidates -- along with Charlie Beck and Michel Moore -- selected by the Los Angeles Police Commission to take over for Bratton after he announced he was leaving to become chairman of a newly created security consulting firm.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ultimately selected Beck to head the department.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Tony Barboza

Photo: LAPD Deputy Chief Jim McDonnell, shown in 2008, was named to take over as chief of the Long Beach Police Department. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (12)

Los Angeles loss, Long Beach gain.

Wow. The L A Daily News reported last month that Carmen Trutanich threw himself a fancy Christmas bash at the Long Beach Yacht Club in December and among the guests were of course his mentor buddy Steve Cooley, as well as County Supervisor Antonovich another Republican, Lee Baca and Chief McDonnell, along with officials from the city of Long Beach. Trutanich was a long=term resident of Long Beach until he allegedly moved to san pedro to run for office in L A, apparently still owns a home in belmont shore and it would seem has maintained his Long Beach social ties.

The article said that these l A officials passed along to long Beach officials in charge of making the selection for chef, the fact that mcDonnell - himself a resident of long Beach - would be interested in the job. Of course they denied that it was anything more than a social connection then or earlier.

This was newsworthy for the Daily News because according to the story, the last-minute addition of McDonnell to the list upset candidates from within the Long Beach P D who'd understood the selection would be an internal one.

I'm sure Chief McDonnell will do a great job and did nothing improper but the whole background of this affair should be considered in light of the L A officials involved including those who make the most noise about OTHER elected officials' "ethics." The Daily News is the only media that reported on it as far as I am aware.

Long Beach is definately lucky. Los Angeles will miss him! McDonnell is going to be a great chief. Good Luck Mr. McDonnell

What's funny is that any police officer in or around L.A. thinks they run a good department.

Looks like Bratton is off to go try and snatch an even bigger slice of the tax payers money in the form of security contracts, like all the other bozos.

As a resident of Long Beach we are looking forward to having Jim McDonnell as our Chief of Police. His qualifications are outstanding and he has done a great job at the LAPD from all accounts. I am sure he will mentor the inside candidates so that when his time is up, they will also be qualified and ready to take over. Good luck Chief McDonnell..!

CHIEF MCDONNELL has done so much for community policing in Los Angeles and has enormous experience having been Bratton's right hand guy he should have been Chief of LAPD. This is a huge loss to LAPD. Congratulations and best of luck Chief!!

John Ritter?

He's a class act with a wealth of knowledge, and genuine caring and concern for both officers and the community they serve. Congratulations Long Beach!

Chief McDonnell could not play the game the way Mayor Antonio wanted him to play. Mayor Antonio picks losers like Santana, and the rest of them. Mayor Antonio wants everyone to rubber stamp everything he does.

Good luck Chief McDonnell .

It's too bad that the LB city council didn't feel that they had the leadership in-house. I'm sure that won't sit well with the rank and file as well as the current leadership team.

I know so many of us LAPD employees were so upset and disappointed that Chief Jim McDonnell was not selected to become our next Chief of Police. The morale is so low within sworn and civilian personnel. Too bad the employees couldn't vote on who would become the next Chief of Police because McDonnell would have won hands down!! We just have to endure working with our current Chief Beck, unfortunately.

Lucky Long Beach! So sad LAPD!

Long Beach is a great organization with top quality people. Jim McDonnell is one of the greatest leaders in contemporary law enforcement adn will continue to move LBPD forward. The residents, employees and other City managers are extremely fortunate to have such a quality, compassionate and dedicated leader. He set his ego aside a long time ago and is professional in every way. He cares about people and is actively engaged in his Department and community. Congratulations to City leadership for making such a great selection. Our loss (LAPD)... your gain! Go LBPD!!!!


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