Crime & Justice

Charlie Beck named as next LAPD chief

Deputy Chief Charlie Beck looks on as Los Angeles Police chief William Bratton holds his last press conference outside the new Police Administration Building on October 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
Deputy Chief Charlie Beck looks on as Los Angeles Police chief William Bratton holds his last press conference outside the new Police Administration Building on October 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

Listen to story

Download this story 1.0MB

A longtime "true-blue" officer raised in a family of cops and who was a Rampart reformer was named the new chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. Charlie Beck will be Los Angeles' next police chief, the mayor announced at an 11 a.m. news conference.

Beck seemed to be the man civil rights groups wanted to see as the next chief.

It was said that Chief Bratton supported Beck as well. One source said that this was "the Beck Express" and that there was a big push for Beck as the new chief.

He's expected to continue the community policing style of Bratton, pushing accountability down to the captain level and allowing them to be more creative in how they fight crime.

Beck hadn't been a career-oriented officer for most of his career, and hasn't crafted his career aiming for chief. He just recently earned his college degree.

Mayor Villaraigosa interviewed each of the finalists twice. Beck had strong support from other cops, with the police union releasing a statement showing their support for Beck.

Beck billed himself as someone who's embraced Bratton's community policing style.

Beck was formally introduced at a press conference with Mayor Villaraigosa. He has to be confirmed by the City Council, but it's considered a foregone conclusion that he will be confirmed.

As word spread of the new selection, police reacted positively to Beck's selection.

Paul Weber, the president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents the rank and file, said Beck was an "excellent selection" and "a consummate professional."

"They (the officers) are confident he'll be responsive to the needs of officers," Weber said.

Weber reaffirmed the union's pledge to work with the new chief.

Beck, 56, oversaw the rehabilitation of the Rampart Division after its corruption scandal became public.

The 32-year department veteran most recently headed the Detective Bureau.

His father was a deputy chief, and his daughter works out of the Hollywood Station. His son is about to graduate from the Police Academy.

Beck was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's choice this morning, announced at an 11 a.m. news conference at the Getty House in Hancock Park.

Former Police Commission president Rick Caruso, who talked to the mayor yesterday, told KNX radio that Beck was a good choice, but that he will have to keep driving down crime rates while tightening the budget, and keep up morale, while juggling those tasks.

"Charlie's well-regarded. He's well-respected, both within LAPD and in the community, and known as believer in the reforms. And I think Charlie will end up doing a great job for the city,'' Caruso, developer of the Grove and other malls, said.

Beck is currently chief of detectives. The 56-year-old was born and raised in Long Beach.

Beck, the current chief of detectives, said earlier, "I think now is the time for a leader that can take those changes that were made with the command staff – the top 100 people in the department – and spread those changes, inculcate them into the rank-and-file, and I think I’m uniquely suited for that."

Beck had wanted to be a professional motocross rider, but ended up following his father into the LAPD in 1977. Beck's father was also an LAPD deputy chief. Beck's son and daughter are also LAPD cops.

The former South L.A. CRASH anti-gang officer participated, by his own admission, in an aggressive paramilitary style of policing in the 1980s and '90s. He also worked in internal affairs and is credited with helping turn around the Rampart Division in 2002, where some officers were beating up suspects and stealing drugs from them – one reason civil rights activists regard him as a reformer now. Beck himself says he's changed his thinking.

Beck's rise through the LAPD ranks accelerated under Bratton, who gave him key assignments overseeing policing in South L.A. and improving the LAPD's handling of DNA evidence.

Beck still rides motocross – he's the current National Police and Fire Motocross Champion. He also just recently earned his college degree from Cal State Long Beach.

Now that Beck is the nominee, the question becomes will the other finalists – 1st Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell and Deputy Chief Michel Moore – stay on past the transition.

McDonnell, 50, was former Bratton's chief of staff, serving as second in command of the department. McDonnell, speaking about Bratton, said "I've learned so much from him &ndash ya know when something happens, to get on it quick, not to wait for the story to happen to you, to be open and forthright with what happened and what you're going to do to make it better and ensure that it doesn't happen again."

McDonnell was born and raised in Boston and earned a degree from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. He later earned a masters in public administration from USC.

Boston's police department wasn't hiring, so McDonnell came to Los Angeles and joined the LAPD in 1981. He worked his way through the department during a violent period in the city's history, including an assignment as a homicide detective in South L.A.

McDonnell helped start early community policing efforts in the 1990s. He served in key top posts, including head of all citywide police operations.

McDonnell competed for the chief position last time the position was open seven years ago, a gutsy move as a commander at the time.

McDonnell lectures on public policy issues at UCLA. He was also a graduate of the FBI's National Executive Institute and studied executive education at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Moore currently oversees LAPD operations in the San Fernando Valley. Moore, speaking about seeking the position as LAPD chief, said "Our people have the right values and I think they go about their job in an outstanding manner. My obligation is how do I reinforce that, how do I encourage and motivate it so that it stays the overarching value of respect for people."

The 49-year-old was born in Porterville, California, but his family moved to Conway, Arkansas, where he graduated high school.

Like McDonnell, Moore moved to L.A. in 1981 to become a police officer. Early in his career, while moonlighting as a security guard at a San Fernando Valley shopping mall, he shot and killed a man wielding a rifle, earning him the LAPD's Medal of Valor.

Moore has worked his way up through the department as a detective, lieutenant, and captain.

Seven years ago, Moore was assigned to help command police operations in the San Fernando Valley, and he rose to become deputy chief in charge of the area. Moore oversees 2,300 LAPD personnel in the Valley, policing over 229 square miles.

Moore is seen as a hard-driving manager who gets his hands dirty. He ran into a burning mobile home park last year and helped save a woman from the fire.

Moore holds an MBA from the University of Redlands and is a graduate of various leadership programs, including the West Point Leadership Program. He's also a member of the Latin American Law Enforcement Association; Moore's father is a Spanish-born basque.

KPCC Wire Services contributed to this story.