LOS ANGELES, CA — Earlier this week, Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff stated the following:
“Today, my fellow Commissioners and I completed the process of reviewing Chief Charlie Beck’s request for a second five-year term, and we granted him that request in a 4 yes and 1 no vote.
We received a great deal of help in our decision making process, and that help came from the people of Los Angeles. I want to thank each and every person who sent an email, wrote a letter, or came out to a community meeting to let us know exactly what they want, need and deserve in their Chief of Police. These comments made an impact on each of us and we are very appreciative for the assistance.
This process lasted approximately three months and included numerous interviews with Chief Beck. During those interviews, my fellow Commissioners and I drilled down on every issue facing the Los Angeles Police Department. No subject was off-limits, and I can tell you, at times, the questioning was intense. In the end, we knew we had to be thoroughly confident that Chief Beck is not a good leader for the Los Angeles Police Department, but a great leader.
How did we judge Chief Beck? We looked at everything at LAPD. Chief Beck is the chief executive officer at LAPD, and at the end of the day, he is responsible for this large law enforcement agency. We looked at his ability to keep this City safe and reduce crime, his ability lead approximately 12,600 sworn and civilian employees effectively, and his ability to plan for the future.
Chief Beck demonstrated to the majority of the Commission and proved during the last five years that he is a leader who understands law enforcement and the unique needs of every part of this City. Yes, law enforcement is law enforcement, but Mar Vista is not El Sereno, and Athens Park is not Canoga Park. Chief Beck understands that better than anyone…and he knows what works in each unique community. He is the right person for this job, even though he recognizes that improvements must be made.
The fact that my fellow Commissioners did not provide a unanimous vote on this decision is proof that this Commission is comprised of independent thinkers. Nothing more and nothing less. We consider ourselves very fortunate to be part of a group which not only respects, but values different opinions.
It is now time to move forward and allow Chief Beck to demonstrate his leadership of the LAPD. My fellow Commissioners and I are all committed to doing what is necessary to assist and support Chief Beck in his efforts to lead the LAPD for the remainder of his first term and look forward to him having a successful and productive second term.
Chief Beck will fulfill his first term, which ends on November 17, 2014. He will then be sworn-in for his second five-year term.”
Commissioner Soboroff’s Comments Regarding the Reappointment of Chief Beck
Thanks to each of you who are here or watching/listening today. I am speaking for all of your Police Commissioners when I say we appreciate and acknowledge every single person who weighed in with opinions during this process, either here or during one of our meetings in communities around Los Angeles), by mail, e-mail, telephone, fax, via the website we set up, or by writing a letter to the editor or the blog of your choice.
Some comments were positive, some were negative. Some were signed and some were anonymous. All were read and many forwarded to our Inspector General for further investigation. Some were determined to be valid, others just rumors that did not turn out to be substantiated.
But that’s Democracy, that’s open and transparent government. Put two Angelenos in a room and you can get three opinions! That’s what makes us great.
At the end of the day, each of the five of us has only two choices: the green button or the red one
We are all appointed by the Mayor, confirmed by the City Council, and our officers are elected like they were just a few minutes ago, and……we are all unpaid. Depending on your point of view that makes our opinions either priceless, or worthless!
But try we do, and I want to thank each of my fellow commissioners for taking their job and this process in the most serious and sincere manner. I also want to thank our staff led by Richard Tefank, the IG and his staff, the city attorney team, the Mayor and his good offices, as well as the Chief (and his scheduler!) for spending so much time with us. Insights of the LAPPL have been readily available and were appreciated!
Lastly but most importantly, special thanks for all you do to every single officer, civilian employee of and every volunteer to America’s finest Police Department. We appreciate you, respect you and feel your pain regarding some compensation issues.
Our job is to make our decision based on the entirety of Chief Beck’s term, weighing the pluses and minuses alike not just from the past few weeks, but since his first day as Chief in 2009.
So Let’s go back to November, 2009. In the words of the LAT lead story, …”Deputy Police Chief Charlie Beck, a 32-year LAPD veteran with strong support from rank-and-file officers and civil rights advocates alike, was chosen by by Mayor Villaraigosa to serve as the next chief of the Los Angeles Police Department… ” following in the very large footprints left by Bill Bratton.
The 2009 article continued “The choice comes at a time of uncertainty for the department as Beck will be given the task of sustaining Police Chief William J. Brattons hard-won gains amid dwindling city budgets….. now it is five years later: It’s August 12, 2014.
We are out of the Consent Decree, community policing is an imbedded part of the culture of the entire LAPD,
Homicides are at the lowest level in 55 years and although there are current questions as to the exact numbers in the category of aggravated assaults (which we have asked the Inspector to further examine and audit) a major reduction in crime has occurred over the last 11 years and is something we can all be proud of. When crimes hit record lows, and positive community partnerships hit record highs – good things happen.
Some point out that there are many reasons for crime reduction but it is Charlie Beck who has led community policing. Citizen complaints vs the LAPD continue to fall and we have high expectations that the new on-officer cameras will continue that trend. Our cadet programs are legendary, our community partnerships are at an all time effectiveness and our CPABS and Booster Clubs are Americas finest, Philanthropic foundation leaders in our city are supporting service providers that create deterrents to crime, and even in difficult budgetary times our citizens respond to the LA Police Foundation and other organizations to help our officers receive technology and other equipment they need for their and our safety. In the last five years the diversity of the department has increased substantially as have ties with various communities.
Los Angeles did not experience the Occupy problems that many cities struggled with, we enjoyed event after event like championship celebrations, huge concerts, and the Space Shuttle Endeavour parade which attracted 1.5 million attendees without an arrest. A huge backlog of rape kit processing was eliminated, and 8,000 trauma kits were deployed. Two weeks ago, a tourniquet from one of those saved an officers life.
During the last five years the Chiefs proactive stance on AB 60, the legality of ICE holds, and Special Order #7 has been felt positively by many groups in our diverse City. His efforts using Spanish media/social media for outreach and communication are of national significance. Similar outreach with other diverse communities, and working closely with the city attorney have also had positive effects in gang activity reduction.
I believe that the challenges that Chief Beck faces in his second term, are greater than they were in 2009. Officer morale, albeit effected by financial woes, must be improved. Some believe that the chief’s discipline standards and punishments are not consistent. Others point to some weaknesses in his communication and management skills.
True or not, perception counts and these are things that the Chief MUST do to restore complete trust in the LAPD. They are not easy things to do, and he must reset high expectations for those who surround him at the highest levels. Support of the rank and file, the command staff, this commission and the public will be required, and some will have to put aside their pre-election beefs for the greater good of our City. Just like the sign says “are YOU doing all YOU can?”
For my vote, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the current problems and perceptions of problems can best be dealt with by a man who has been a distinguished part of this department for 37 years, Charlie Beck.
BUT……to remind him every day of the shoes he has to fill to satisfy the skeptics and maintain the believers, I am loaning him this size 22 shoe, game worn by Shaq, to be put in a visible place in his office. It’s just a loan, so if he or I leave for any reason, with or without cause, I want it back!
Thank you and now let’s hear from the other Commissioners, starting with Vice President Paula Madison