Local

New LAPD Chief Beck talks about leadership style

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

01:31
Download this story 0MB

Los Angeles celebrated its new police chief Thursday with a ceremonial swearing-in, a barbecue at the police academy and a Getty Center dinner. Chief Charlie Beck succeeded Bill Bratton two weeks ago, promising to continue his predecessor’s push for a more community-friendly LAPD and to put more officers in the field. (Audio: An excerpt of an interview Beck did with KPCC.)

Saying ``I appreciate this opportunity and I won't let you down,'' Chief Charlie Beck was formally sworn in today as the 56th chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Beck, 56, has actually been top cop since Nov. 17, when he took the oath of office immediately after being confirmed by the City Council.

His first swearing-in was bereft of fanfare, but today's ceremonies were filled with it.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa administered the oath on a bunting-decorated stage at the plaza of the gleaming, new Police Administration Building.

With City Hall serving as the backdrop, a bagpipe and drum band delivered the music.

As retired LAPD Deputy Chief George Beck pinned the chief's badge on his son, he asked ``are you ready?''

Beck replied, ``I'm ready... Thanks, pop.''

In his speech, Beck said he was humbled to be chosen as leader of 10,000 retired officers, 9,963 active officers, and 3,000 civilian employees in the LAPD.

``The Los Angeles Police Department has a vast and glorious history,'' Beck said. ``It also has a history that we have tried to put behind us in some instances.''

``It is the responsibility of the chief of police to continue the glory and to put behind us the ghosts of the past -- I take that obligation very seriously,'' Beck added.

He said, however, that obligation is also shared by everyone in the LAPD; the mayor, City Council and other officials; as well as members of the community.

Beck called them his ``partners'' whose support will give him ``an opportunity to take the next step in the Los Angeles Police Department, in the city of Los Angeles, to move forward from where we are.''

``The fate of this police department is tied to the fate of this city -- they go hand in hand,'' Beck said. ``The police department realizes that and we accept that, and that is a true obligation.''

Beck's approach seemed to differ from that of his predecessor and mentor, former Chief William Bratton, who sometimes had an adversarial relationship with elected officials.

Villaraigosa, who chose Beck out of three finalists recommended by the Police Commission, said he was ``a man with a reputation as a progressive reformer; a man of character and integrity; a police officer that's tough on crime but a leader who understands that we have to understand the root causes of crime as well; a leader with a deep respect and understanding of the nearly 10,000 brave men and women of this department; a man who understands that we are here to protect the communities but who understands just as well the obligation to serve these communities.''

KPCC Wire Services contributed to this story.