The Los Angeles Police Commission appointed Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck to another 5-year term today.
The 4-1 vote included the dissent Robert Saltzman, the only commission member who was not appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. The mayor pledged his support to Beck despite a flurry of last-minute police controversies that include erroneous crime statistics, allegations that the chief intervened in cases involving his badge-wearing daughter, and accusations that he played favorites when it came to officer discipline.
None of it seemed to matter to the commission:
While Saltzman called for fresh leadership and criticized the chief for allegedly failing to share department information with the commission, President Steve Soboroff said the Beck's “positives far outweigh the negatives.''
Crime has continued a historic slide in L.A., as it has in most other large U.S. cities. The first half of 2014, however, saw a slight bump in violent crime in the city.
In a statement sent us today by city Councilman Joe Buscaino, the former cop says:
I am very supportive of the police commission's decision to reappoint LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to a second term. I judge him by the results I see in Watts at our public housing developments where the Community Safety Partnership has positively changed the culture of relations between the community and the police department. Over the last few years, Watts and the LAPD have each undergone a remarkable transformation for which I credit Chief Beck.
A onetime LAPD commander recently filed a lawsuit against the department accusing Beck of demoting him when he failed to follow through with the chief's alleged wishes and fire a cop.
And the department's approval of the purchase of a horse owned by his daughter made headlines: Beck said he knew nothing about it but made an about face when the Los Angeles Times came up with a document showing that the chief had signed off on the deal.
Another officer accused the chief of succumbing to blackmail by withdrawing discipline of a cop who allegedly had a relationship with his daughter. And on and on.
Given the timing of the scandals, it was hard to differentiate truth from politics, though they can sometimes be intertwined.
Meanwhile, Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said this in a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets:
We pledge to work with him to restore officer morale and reform the department's arcane disciplinary system. We also would like to see him become an advocate for competitive, market-rate pay and benefits for the men and women of the LAPD he is sworn to lead.
[Added at 3:16 p.m.]: Chief Beck issued this statement:
I am honored that after a thorough evaluation of my work as Chief of Police and the many accomplishments of the Department over the past five years, the Police Commission has given me the opportunity to continue the important work of keeping Los Angeles safe.
I am immensely proud to lead the men and women of the LAPD who work tirelessly every day to earn the trust of our communities and who risk their lives to protect those that live, work and visit the City of Angels.
The dedicated sworn officers and civilian personnel of the Department perform this mission effectively, constitutionally, and with the professionalism that the community expects. I thank the Mayor, the Police Commission, the men and women of the LAPD, and the community for supporting me through this process and their vote of confidence in my continued leadership of the finest police department in the world.
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said in a statement that the process to reconfirm Beck took three months, included “numerous” interviews with the chief and involved “intense” questioning at times.
“We looked at everything at LAPD,” he said. ” … He is the right person for the job, even though he recognizes that improvements must me made.”