A week after news emerged that the U.S. Department of Justice stated the LAPD might not be over its racial-profiling past, Chief Charlie Beck said improving "racial harmony" and "constitutional policing" are top concerns as he starts his second year as L.A.'s top cop.
In a Daily News op-ed column that at times to be directly aimed at those DOJ lawyers, Beck writes:
... We are an institution that can bring society together ... It is the mandate of this department to continuously improve on community and racial harmony through an unrelenting commitment to transparency and constitutional policing. We cannot break the law to enforce the laws.
Beck also notes a drop in crime on his watch, a $60 million budget cut to the $1-billion-plus department, and successes that included the arrest of "Grim Sleeper" serial-murder suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. last summer.
In a surprise revelation (at least to us), Beck said he regularly gets in patrol cars and rides along with beat cops:
I make it a point as often as possible to work patrol shifts in a black-and-white alongside the men and women of the LAPD all over the city. Besides the fact that I love being on the streets with my officers and the people of our town, nothing gives me more satisfaction and useful information than spending time in the field with the great people on the LAPD.