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First LAPD class graduates under new chief

December 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
L.A.'s new police chief Charlie Beck had one of the proudest moments of his life Friday when he gave a police academy diploma to his son.It was a family affair as the chief saw his own son, Martin Beck, become an LAPD officer.

The chief's father is also a retired officer, and his daughter is also in the department, totaling three generations serving the city of Los Angeles.

"The irony of being sworn in yesterday and my son graduating the next day, you just couldn't write a script like that. It's really an incredible story. Actually, it's so overwhelming that it doesn't really sink in. It's almost like it's surreal," said Beck.

There were several dozen other graduates Friday, and many of them also come from law enforcement families. The message to all of them is that this is a very special department that has earned the trust of the community.

"We look forward to you joining this 21st century police department and taking very seriously your awesome responsibilities, your responsibilities to protect and serve all of the residents of the city of Los Angeles," said Police Commissioner John Mack.

The new graduates face a changing department. After years of growth, the number of officers stands at around 10,000. The number of new recruits will now slow down.

"It's important that the Los Angeles Police Department maintain its staffing levels. There's a standard of policing that this city has come to enjoy and expect and it deserves," said Beck.

Friday's graduates are the last graduating class of 2009, and there could be big changes in 2010 as budget cuts start to take effect.


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