Bell launches search for new police chief
The city of Bell is looking for a new police chief, a position that has been vacant since the city’s top cop resigned last month amid revelations that he was being paid an annual salary of $457,000.
Candidates from around the nation as well as from within the Bell Police Department will be considered for the job, Pedro Carrillo, Bell’s interim city manager, said in a press release Tuesday.
Gilbert Jara, head of the Bell Police Officers Assn., called the search "a good first step in ensuring not only public safety but also a restoration of the public’s trust in Bell officials."
Last month, The Times reported that Bell Police Chief Randy Adams and other officials in the working-class city southeast of downtown Los Angeles received some of the highest municipal wages in the nation. Adams’ salary of $457,000 was 50% more than that of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
In 2009, the same year Adams was hired, spending on police services was cut 58%, according to Bell’s Comprehensive Financial Report for that fiscal year.
Officer training programs were among the hardest hit, Jara told The Times last month.
"Every year we are supposed to update our training," Jara told The Times. "It has now gotten down to where they give us a CD to watch and say, 'OK, that's your training.' We watch a CD for three or four hours and that's it."
Officers are supposed to get quarterly firing-range training but "are lucky to get there once a year," Jara said. Many of the department's 24 authorized positions are left perennially unfilled, he said, and officers drive patrol cars "with like 200,000 miles on them."
In a press release on Tuesday, Jara said Bell police officers were pleased that the city was seeking a new chief.
But, Jara said, “We understand that Bell has a long way to go until ethical and responsible governance is restored."
-- Kate Linthicum
Photo: Former Police Chief Randy Adams, who earned $457,000 a year, attended a July Bell City Council meeting. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times