The department was forced into a consent decree in 2001. The U.S. government accused the department of a pattern of civil rights violations committed by police officers that went back decades.
The accusations came in the wake of the Rampart scandal. Officers in an elite anti-gang unit were found to have beaten and framed suspected gang members.
The decree mandated more than 100 reforms and the appointment of an outside monitor. Though it ended in July 2009, a transition agreement was approved to ensure the reforms did not fall by the wayside.
Regulated by the federal court, the decree demanded a long list of changes and reforms in the troubled department. One of the cornerstones of the consent decree was community policing, something the LAPD has adopted from top to bottom.
Police Chief Charlie Beck, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and members of the Police Commission thanked the Justice Department, saying the consent decree ended up being the best thing for the LAPD and the community. Beck says the city is now safer than any time in the last 60 years, with violent crime cut by two-thirds.
"The consent decree has made this a department I am proud to hand over to my children," Beck said. "The consent decree has been a catalyst for incredible change in my police department."
The mayor and the chief both said that none of this would have been possible without their predecessors. Both of them credited former Mayor James Hahn and Police Chief Bill Bratton for their help in the implementation of the consent decree.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.