LAPD Chief Beck Riding Off to Retirement

January 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Saying it is time for fresh leadership of the agency he’s called home for four decades, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck stunned colleagues Friday by announcing he will retire June 27, a year and a half before his term ends.

“Serving the citizens of Los Angeles for over 40 years has been the honor of a lifetime,” Beck wrote in a statement on his Twitter account.

“Leading the men and women of the LAPD — my family — has been a privilege I never thought I’d be worth of. Today, I am announcing my retirement effective June 27th of this year.

“I plan on working every day until that day as the chief of the greatest law enforcement agency in the country,” he said. “I believe we are in the right place to support my decision, and give the next generation of LAPD leaders an opportunity to lead.

“The department is ready for fresh eyes to take our organization to even higher levels. Thank you Los Angeles for allowing me to serve your for all these years. God bless all of you, and God bless the Los Angeles Police Department.”

Beck publicly announced his retirement plans at a late-morning news conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti that was called to announce 2017 crime statistics. Beck’s surprise announcement appeared to catch some members of his own command staff off-guard.

Invoking a journalism phrase, Garcetti quipped that Beck’s announcement late in the news conference was a classic example of “burying the lede.”

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck kicked off the New Year riding a horse in the Rose Parade, in June he’ll be riding off into retirement. (EGP Photo by Fred Zermeno)

Garcetti said Beck “is a man who has led with his heart. This is a man who has been forged in steel, whose family lives and breathes policing, and yet he is one of the most humanistic people I know.”

Beck said a number of reasons were behind his decision, including his belief that there is a strong field of candidates to replace him both internally and nationally, and the right leaders are in place to conduct the search.

“One of the secrets of bull riding is knowing when to get off the bull,” Beck said. “And I think this is the right time to get off the bull and put somebody else back on it. For the reasons I said. We have the right people to make a selection from, and the right people to make the selection, and those things are key and they don’t link up that often.”

Beck also said his decision to stay in the job until the end of June will give the city time to choose a replacement without the need for an interim chief, which he said would not be healthy for the department.

Beck, who will turn 65 this year, has been chief of the LAPD since November 2009. His latest five-year appointment was set to end in November 2019.

Beck leaves with a mixed bag of results on crime. According to the statistics released Friday, violent crime rose for the fourth straight year in 2017, following 12 years of declines. But the homicide rate improved, down to 282 in 2017 from 294 in 2016, and down from 293 in 2010, Beck’s first full year as chief. The previous three years all saw rises in homicides, going from 251 in 2013 to 260 in 2014 and 283 in 2015. Homicides peaked during his tenure in 2012 with 299.

Although there have been fluctuations, homicides have drastically fallen overall since the city’s all-time high in 1992 of 1,092, and are down from 647 in 2002.

Beck noted that 2017 was the eighth year in a row the city experienced less than 300 homicides, a streak that had not been matched since the 1960s when the city had about 1 million fewer residents.

“Am I proud in how we’ve done on homicides? Absolutely,” Beck said.

Beck joined the department as a reserve officer in March 1975. He became a full-time officer in March 1977. He was promoted to sergeant in 1984, to lieutenant in 1993, to captain in 1999 and commander in 2005. Be became a deputy chief in 2006, achieving the same rank his father attained at the agency.

As a deputy chief he oversaw the department’s South Bureau, and later became the chief of detectives.

Beck has been under fire in recent years, with activist groups such as Black Lives Matter calling for his ouster in response to what they call a dramatic rise in police shootings of black suspects.

Activist Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles was among those who took to social media to hail his pending departure.

“Thank you to our partners who stood with us to make this happen,” she wrote as she reposted a Black Lives Matter Twitter message cheering the announcement.

Weekly Los Angeles Police Commission meetings have often been forced to adjourn or go into recess over the past two years as activists shouted from the audience, typically directing their anger at the chief.

But Beck has held the support of Garcetti and most of the Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD.

“Under his leadership he has helped to make the LAPD the preeminent law enforcement agency in the world,” commission president Steve Soboroff said. “His focus on community policing has resulted in creating, maintaining and expanding the great relationships the department has with the diverse
communities of Los Angeles. The many successes in programs that have been implemented under his leadership will serve as a testimony to his skill as a leader.”

Commission vice president Matt Johnson also praised Beck’s leadership of the department.

“He implemented department-wide training on de-escalation, implicit bias and dealing with the mentally ill, outfitted every officer in the field with Tasers and body-worn cameras and expanded our community policing initiatives,” Johnson said.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson thanked Beck for his service.

“In a career that has spanned more than four decades, he has exemplified the spirit of `to protect and to serve,”’ Wesson said. “He leaves the LAPD on a path of progress.”

Councilman Joe Buscaino quickly advocated for the department to be led by a woman

“It’s time for Los Angeles to have its first female chief of the LAPD,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “I urge the Police Commission to seek out qualified women candidates to lead the nation’s second-largest police department.”

The board of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union for LAPD officers, issued a statement wishing Beck well, even though the union has often butted heads with the chief on management issues.

“While we may not have always agreed with Chief Beck, we appreciate his commitment and dedication to the LAPD,” according to the union. “We urge Mayor Garcetti to appoint a new chief who’s committed to reducing violent crime, addressing our officer understaffing crisis and preparing the LAPD to secure our city during the 2028 Olympic Games. Any new chief must also be an advocate for rank-and-file police officers while also building upon our strong community relationships.”

Resolution Seeks to Officially Declare Los Angeles a ‘City of Sanctuary’

September 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Two City Council members introduced a resolution today seeking to brand Los Angeles a “city of sanctuary” dedicated to “protecting the human rights of all our residents.”

The move by Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Gil Cedillo follows their receipt of a report on Thursday that civil rights attorney Peter Schey submitted to the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, and Equity Committee, which Cedillo chairs and which Wesson is a member of. The report included a series of recommendations for the city to undertake in response to recent immigration policies announced by President Donald Trump.

While there is no legal definition of a sanctuary city, it generally applies to municipalities that limit cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement. Embracing the term has become a way for cities to openly defy Trump, who has threatened to cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.

“It’s a declaratory statement of our values, of our vision, of our commitments,” Cedillo told City News Service.

At the committee meeting Thursday, Cedillo said he intended to submit a sanctuary city motion, but what was submitted at the City Council meeting was a resolution. A motion generally changes an existing law or creates a new one, while a resolution is generally a public declaration that does not change or create any laws. Cedillo said he submitted a resolution because declaring the city a sanctuary does not require any change in laws.

It’s not certain when the resolution would come up for a vote.

Although Los Angeles has long limited its cooperation with the feds on immigration, it has not taken on the official label of sanctuary city, and it is unclear how much support the resolution will have from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The mayor has resisted calling for Los Angeles to embrace the term because he says it is often used by those looking to harm cities that have friendly immigration policies.

“It is not a term that has meaning,” Garcetti said in an interview on radio station KNX Thursday. “I’m not going to buy into a frame that somebody else who’s attacking immigrants uses.”

Cedillo said he agreed with the mayor’s assessment but believed they could find common ground.

“We agree with the mayor. The mayor has been an extraordinary champion in this area, and has been absolutely responsive from the beginning, and I think we are in concert, and his points are well taken,” Cedillo said.

The Los Angeles Police Department has had a longstanding policy of not initiating contact with an individual based solely on his or her immigration status and does not give immigration agents access to its jails or inmates unless they have a federal warrant. Because of those policies, Los Angeles is often referred to as a sanctuary city, though it has never officially embraced the term as other cities have, including San Francisco and Santa Ana.

Schey, a civil rights attorney, argued in the report that Los Angeles has wide discretion in setting its own policies on immigration and that because none of its current laws are in violation of federal law, Trump’s “showboating about penalties against sanctuary cities has no basis in law and is primarily intended to dazzle his base and intimidate local officials.”

Schey also told the committee that embracing the term was an important symbolic move.

“People seem to have strong views on this name thing. My stance has always been that’s what’s important. Ultimately, yes, that sort of symbolic statement, ‘We are a city of sanctuary, we are a city of refuge,’ etc., I think it’s important. It sets a certain tone,” he said.

Cedillo said part of reason for introducing the resolution was in reaction to the Trump administration’s move Tuesday to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which has shielded immigrants who were brought to the country illegally when they were children from deportation.

“With the changed circumstance, with the announcement on Tuesday, it turned out that we had a scheduled immigration committee meeting, and it turned out that we had a report from our advocate, and it turned out we had a deeper understanding of what it is to be a city of sanctuary,” Cedillo said. “We are confident there will be no fiscal impact on the city, no adverse consequences on the city and we want to send that message to the (DACA recipients) who are here to continue to be engaged in the civic life of this city.”

The resolution cites the LAPD’s policy on immigrant enforcement, Trump’s DACA announcement, and the city’s history of adopting policies protecting all of its residents regardless of immigration status as some of the reasons for the resolution.

Schey’s report also recommended the city take steps to help immigrants in the country illegally and DACA recipients from being detained by federal officials by facilitating legal advice and representation for them. The report also recommended the city enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance, and decriminalize minor offenses likely to be committed by low-income residents.

La Falta de Vivienda Lleva a la Ciudad a un ‘Estado de Emergencia’

September 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Llamándolo un “estado de emergencia” debido a la falta de vivienda desenfrenada en Los Ángeles, el alcalde Eric Garcetti y miembros del Ayuntamiento dijeron el martes que planean gastar $100 millones o más para luchar contra el problema.

Garcetti dijo que las personas sin hogar que duermen en el césped del City Hall son un símbolo “de nuestra intensa crisis en la ciudad”, y dijo que quiere que la ciudad asigne inmediatamente $13 millones en servicios y subsidios de alquiler para las personas sin hogar de la ciudad.

Varios miembros del Ayuntamiento dijeron que presentarán una moción cometiendo alrededor de $100 millones en fondos de la ciudad para hacer frente a la falta de vivienda, aunque dijeron que aún tienen que averiguar dónde se encuentra el dinero y si éste se gastará anualmente o a través del tiempo.

Garcetti, quien ha prometido liberar un “plan de batalla” en cuanto a la falta de vivienda,

dijo que quiere la ciudad gaste $100 millones por año en servicios, de acuerdo a una carta que envió lunes al Oficial Administrativo de la Ciudad, Miguel Santana.

Garcetti escribió que él ha estado trabajando la Junta de Supervisores del Condado de Los Ángeles, Home for Good, la Autoridad de Servicios para Desamparados de Los Ángeles y otros para desarrollar un enfoque “separados pero coordinados” para la ciudad y el condado que se pondrá en marcha en las próximas semanas.

Mi objetivo es que estas estrategias produzcan las inversiones necesarias, incluyendo $100 millones cada año para vivienda de apoyo permanente, vivienda rápida y vivienda provisional para las personas sin hogar, escribió Garcetti.

Si bien se espera que estos esfuerzos concluyan en el invierno, “nosotros no podemos esperar hasta terminar este proceso de planificación crítico”, de acuerdo con la carta de Garcetti.

“ Tenemos que hacer todo lo que podamos ahora para quitar a la gente de las calles y en viviendas con los recursos que tenemos disponibles”, escribió el alcalde.

Dio instrucciones a Santana para planificar un potencial de $5 millones para gastar en proporcionar los subsidios de vivienda de alquiler a corto plazo que podría “rápidamente re-instalar” alrededor de 1,000 indigentes de seis a nueve meses, junto con otros $5.1 millones para hacer lo mismo con los indigentes veteranos de guerra.

También propuso gastar $665,000 para ayudar a abrir refugios de invierno un mes antes, mantenerlos abiertos un mes después y ofrecer servicios de 24/7 horas cuando este lloviendo.

Garcetti también propuso asignar $1 millón en ayuda para crear instalaciones regionales donde las personas sin hogar podrían almacenar sus pertenencias, laven su ropa, se bañen y obtengan referencias a servicios.

Otro millón se debe pagar para el trabajo de acumulación de datos para un “sistema de entrada coordinado” que ayuda a gestionar los recursos para los indigentes de manera que equipos de emergencia puedan pasar más tiempo buscando a personas sin hogar.

Agregó que estos y otros pasos iniciales podría “darnos el impulso necesario para lograr un progreso real durante el próximo año”. También dijo que necesitan prepararse para las “severas condiciones climáticas” esperadas de El Niño este año.

El presidente del consejo municipal Herb Wesson dijo que los miembros del Comité de la falta de vivienda y la pobreza, que es co-presidido por los concejales José Huizar y Marqueece Harris-Dawson, presentaron una moción pidiendo $100 millones para ser dedicados a los servicios para los programas de vivienda de apoyo y refugio para desamparados, especialmente permanentes.

Se espera que el movimiento para pedir un estudio de cómo la financiación podía ser aprovechada “para asegurar una fuente de ingresos permanente para apoyar el programa”, según la oficina de Wesson.

Santana lanzó recientemente un informe que indica que la ciudad ya gasta unos $100 millones no planeados debido a la falta de vivienda, una mayor parte de los cuales se utiliza para respuestas policiales al problema.

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