By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Then who might be our next police chief? Sometimes such answers are guessable: Riordan seemed to want Parks even before he was elected mayor.
Things aren‘t that clear now. Hahn’s said nothing, so the city might do the kind of nationwide search that netted the luckless Willie Williams in 1992.
Parks himself doesn‘t seem to have many top assistants who’d fill the bill. One reason for this is that the chief literally abolished the number-two rank of assistant chief early after taking office. The ranks now jump from two-star deputy chief to four-star Bernie chief.
But some LAPD-associated names are mentioned. One is Mark Kroeker‘s, who left the force in 1997 to become the successful, outspoken chief of Portland, Oregon. Kroeker would be the best of both worlds in the eyes of many: He was a well-thought-of senior LAPD officer, yet -- some hope -- he’s worked outside the culture long enough not to be its prisoner. But Kroeker isn‘t of minority extraction, and may even feel that bosky Portland is a better place to complete his career than his old hometown. And his good LAPD record is shadowed by his having been a member of former Deputy Chief Robert “Bible Bob” Vernon’s church.
One possible complete outsider is San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano, a 25-year SDPD veteran. Bejarano has a Latino background, and his apparent success in the headlining Danielle van Dam kidnap-murder has brought him national fame. Again, the question is, would he give all that up for what could easily be a mere five-year term as L.A.‘s top cop?
Probably uninterested in the job for the same reason is L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, just re-elected to an all-but-unopposed second term. Baca applied for the LAPD-chief job back in 1992, and finished just out of the running. Since then, though, he’s become the most respected L.A. sheriff in generations. Even under the new term limits, he‘s got another possible 12 years in office ahead of him -- which would get him into his early 70s. The new police chief would serve a maximum of 10 years. But of course no one’s nailed that second five-year term yet.
Not too many names come up within the current LAPD roster. One is that of Commander George Gascon (not to be confused with the more senior Deputy Chief David Gascon), who heads the LAPD Training Group. An Army veteran, Gascon is probably the only top staffer on the LAPD who is bilingual. He is also a veteran of the elite Democratic Party Coro Foundation‘s leadership-training program -- a qualification more typical of a council staffer than a police officer. He could be the choice of the Latino political faction.
Another interesting and even more outside-the-box possibility is Margaret York, the first LAPD woman to attain the rank of deputy chief. She commands Operations Central Bureau, one of the toughest assignments in the department. She is impressively connected to the downtown establishment (and is married to Judge Lance Ito of Simpson-trial fame). And of course she’d be the city‘s first woman chief. But some wonder whether she’s tough enough to boss the entrenched bureaucracy.
Otherwise, it‘s possible that the new chief might be someone whose name we have yet to hear in our city. The candidate search and the ensuing competition politics are certain to make City Hall’s summer doldrums unusually interesting this year.
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