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Charlie Beck to go before public safety committee in LAPD chief bid

November 9, 2009 |  6:30 am

LAPD Chief-Designate Charlie Beck will face the Los Angeles City Council's public safety committee today.

Beck was selected by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to replace William J. Bratton last week, and the pick has met with praise from both rank-and-file officers and civil-rights activists.

The committee hearing comes a few weeks before the full council is expected to vote on Beck's nomination.

In an interview with Times reporters last week, Beck -- an LAPD veteran and current deputy chief --portrayed himself as a leader rooted by his ties to rank-and-file officers, as opposed to Bratton, who reformed the department by focusing on its upper echelon.

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.

Strategically, 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 the LAPD's 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 a push by the mayor to add 1,000 officers, Beck said he believed the current number of officers, which hovered near 10,000, should be viewed as "a floor, a basement." Any drop in numbers, he said, would make it difficult to continue with gains made under Bratton.

-- Shelby Grad

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