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LAPD interim chief, finalists announced

October 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has named three top insiders as finalists for the job of Los Angeles police chief.The finalists recommended by the police commission Tuesday are: Deputy Chief, Chief of Detectives Charles Beck, First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell and Deputy Chief San Fernando Valley Bureau Michel Moore.

Also, Deputy Chief Michael Downing was announced as the interim chief.

Beck is a 32-year veteran of the LAPD and has patrolled Rampart, Southeast, Harbor, Pacific and Hollywood areas as an officer and sergeant. He is the head of detectives and commander of operations in the South Bureau.

McDonnell has been a member of the LAPD for 28 years, and he is currently the chief of staff, which makes him LAPD's second in command. He has frequently taken over in the chief's absence.

Moore, a 27-year veteran of the LAPD, is he current commanding officer and oversees operations in the Valley Bureau.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be interviewing the three candidates over the next three days starting Wednesday.

"Choosing the next chief of police is the single most important personnel decision I will make for the remainder of my term as mayor and maybe the single most important decision I will make in that time," said Villaraigosa.

"Over the next several days, I will thoroughly evaluate these very qualified candidates and evaluate them not just on their experience and their skill set, but on their integrity, their character their fortitude their leadership," the mayor added.

Though the mayor said he will take as much time as he needs in making the critical decision, it is expected that he will finish deliberating by Monday.

"This process will be comprehensive and thorough; I will move expeditiously but let me be clear: I will take all the time that I need to make the very best, most informed decision for the people of Los Angeles. I will reach out to a broad cross section of our great city for advice and counsel," he said.

Once the mayor picks Bratton's successor, the new chief-apparent will have to meet all the council members, attend council meetings as well as community meetings throughout the city to introduce himself. This process will be very important to how he will be accepted.

In the meantime, current Chief William Bratton was honored Tuesday by the police commission for his seven years as chief. In that time, overall violent crime dropped 63 percent. Police commission president John Mack praised Bratton as a quarterback who took over the LAPD and put it into the 21st century.

Bratton leaves town for Boston Wednesday to return Saturday, which is the day that he is officially stepping down as chief to enter the private security market in New York. He said that he'll go to the chief's office and leave his stars on the desk for his successor.

"The pool upon from whom we considered really represented and reflected Los Angeles so that we can stand here and state in good conscience that clearly our ultimate decision regarding after very very careful and thoughtful discussions in this regard really represent whom we consider to be the three best candidates to do the job," said Mack.

Mack was defensive about questions about whether he had named or even considered people or person of color. The commission did interview a couple of Hispanic individuals as well as individuals of other ethnicities, including Chief Earl Paysinger.


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