"I think our relationship with the LAPD is based on professionalism, and the fact that we've been honest and forthright, nonviolent," says Mario Brito, the movement's main liaison with the police department.
"They actually came out with a different pattern of operating, and that should be applauded. The NYPD should learn something from the LAPD," Brito says.
But if this sounds too good to be true, it might be. Protesters have scoffed at the mayor's announcement that the demonstrations "can't go on indefinitely."
While negotiations are ongoing, eventually one side will have to give. Some protesters have even begun preparing for a police raid.
"It's in the back of everybody's mind here," says Occupy organizer Taylor. He helped arrange a march Nov. 9 that ended at LAPD headquarters, where the group protested the police brutality at other Occupy camps and brandished signs saying things like "LAPD, we come in peace."
"Let's just say the government has a tendency to say one thing and act in another fashion," Taylor says, explaining that the camp is planning for the worst-case scenario.
"But at the same time, I don't think LAPD really wants to come in here," he continues. "We're just all pissed off at all the other police departments and unfortunately LAPD has to hear about it, and luckily they've been very understanding."
Beck hopes to keep it that way, although he adds, "That piece of ground just isn't sustainable. Protecting the ecology is one of my goals, along with protecting protesters' First Amendment rights and ensuring the day-to-day happenings at City Hall go on with minimal interruption."
He expects that the camp probably will move on its own once heavy winter rains turn the lawn to mud, but some protesters say otherwise.
"The mud is a concern, and we're working on a plan to deal with it, but we're not moving," Taylor says.
Should conflict arise, Beck says, the department will use force only as an absolute last resort. If some protesters actively want a confrontation, LAPD will "do its best" to convince them that isn't in the best interest of their message.
"We don't want to arrest anyone," Beck says. "If it comes to the point where people want to get arrested, then that's what we'll do, but only because they want to" in order to make a statement.
Beck says his police department will employ nonlethal force if necessary, but he does not expect that to happen. "Using force — that's not my goal. The true measure of strength is when you restrain it."
If he manages that while closing down the encampment in the Civic Center, Charlie Beck will be one of the few big-city police chiefs to have done so during the Occupy movement, at the same time giving Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council political bragging rights.