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Former U.S. attorney steps down from Police Commission

July 18, 2012 |  4:33 pm

 Former U.S. Attorney Debra Wong Yang in 2005.

Debra Wong Yang will step down from the Los Angeles Police Commission after a little more than 2 ½ years on the oversight board.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tapped Yang, a prominent, highly sought-after attorney, to replace a departing member of the five-person panel in late 2009. Though Yang is widely respected in legal and law enforcement circles for her work in private practice and her stint as U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, her frequent absences from meetings limited the role she played on the commission, which oversees and sets policy for the Los Angeles Police Department.

In explaining her decision not to seek another term, Yang wrote in an email to The Times, “I found that my professional and personal demands were greater than ever.”

Yang missed a quarter of the commission’s weekly meetings – considerably more than other members during the same period, according to  commission figures.

Asked if she felt she had been unable to commit the necessary time and energy to the post, she wrote that she “selected issues on the commission where I felt like I could most assist LAPD in a unique way based on my background - terrorism matters and risk assessment over ongoing civil suits. I've always wished there was more time for public service.”

After completing her predecessor’s term at the end of June, Yang could have sought a full five-year term on the commission. Instead Villaraigosa must now find her replacement. Yang said that at the mayor’s request, she agreed to remain on until the middle of August. Despite that agreement, she has missed the last three commission meetings.

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-- Joel Rubin

Photo: Debra Wong Yang is shown in 2005. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

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