Final goodbye to innovative former LAPD chief

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES An elaborate procession began at 8:30 a.m. through the streets of downtown L.A. The procession, which included /*Daryl Gates*/' family, Mayor /*Antonio Villaraigosa*/ and current LAPD Chief /*Charlie Beck*/, made its way to the /*Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels*/, where Gates' flag-draped coffin was moved inside just before 9 a.m.

A sea of men and women in uniform was there to honor the man they said revolutionized their department.

Gates died April 16 in Dana Point after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was chief from 1978 to 1992 and is regarded as one of the most outspoken and controversial leaders in the history of the department.

Gates is credited with taking the reins of a corrupt department and professionalizing it. He started the first /*SWAT team*/, as well as the anti-drug program /*DARE*/.

But his final years as chief were marred by the /*Rodney King beating*/ and the 1992 riots, but those closest to him said he changed the landscape of law enforcement for the better.

L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine, who once served under Gates as a police officer, said despite the controversy that followed him, the former chief was a tremendous leader.

"He was an innovator of law enforcement, well-respected, and a lot of people wanted to vilify him and say he was picking on minorities, he was picking on people," Zine said. "All he wanted to do was direct his officers to go out and put bad guys in jail."

Private citizens who stood to watch the procession all had their opinions of Gates, but whether they approved of him or not, they couldn't deny his contribution to law enforcement.

Several roads were closed due to the procession and funeral until noon. The burial, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, will also be private.

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