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Patrick Gannon named chief of Los Angeles Airport Police Department

October 25, 2012 |  6:06 pm

La_me_gannonFormer Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Patrick Gannon has been named chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, officials said Thursday. 

The 34-year LAPD veteran, whose assignments included running South Bureau Operations and Detective Bureau, will now oversee the fourth-largest law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County, with more than 1,100 law enforcement, security and staff members.

The agency is responsible for policing the Los Angeles International, L.A./Ontario International and Van Nuys airports, as well as the city of Los Angeles' Palmdale aviation property.  

Gannon will oversee personnel responsible for police patrols and tactical response, counter-terrorism, criminal Investigations, traffic control, dignitary protection and regulatory enforcement.

Airport officials named Michael T. Hyams the new deputy chief of airport police, under Gannon. He served as interim airport police chief after the retirement of George R. Centeno in February and is to continue in that role until Gannon takes over at the end of November.

Gannon, known for his diplomacy, problem solving and team building, was the third of four generations to serve with the LAPD. As deputy chief of the LAPD's South Bureau, he oversaw 1,700 officers in half a dozen police divisions that served nearly 1 million people. 

"He's one of the people I most respect in all of law enforcement," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "To have him as the leader of the airport makes Los Angeles a much safer place."

The union representing more than 400 airport police officers greeted the news of Gannon's appointment with great optimism after Gannon told them he was committed to keeping their force strong and autonomous.

"We're happy to hear that he would commit to keeping us an autonomous agency and putting us on equal footing with police agencies like LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff's, which has been recommended by the state Peace Officer Standards and Training board," said Marshall McClain, who heads the union.

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 -- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Patrick Gannon in 2009. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times