Police Commissioners Vote: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Gets Second T

Police Commissioners Vote: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Gets Second Term

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Los Angeles, CA -

The Los Angeles of 2014 is a much better city than say, the Los Angeles of a decade ago. ''Better'' of course is a subjective word, but I'm thinking it's safer, cleaner, fairer, and has a better reputation in other places.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck gets a lot of credit for that . He was reappointed to his second five year term as Chief today by the five member Police Commission, civilians appointed by the Mayor. Crime is down, respect for the Police department is up, and minority communities, who felt they were being ''occupied '' by previous LAPD regimes, no longer feel that way, if I may be so bold as to summarize the feelings of '' minority communities''. However, one of the five commissioners, who's been there 7 years, Robert Saltzman, believes it is time for new leadership saying he's tired of waiting for information from the Police that Beck's predecessor, Bill Bratton, was much more willing and able to provide.

Yes, Beck has acknowledged that he needs to do better in key areas, such as communicating problems to the Commission as Saltzman indicated. He knows the decades old disciplinary system, in which he's been accused of favoritism, needs to be revised and needs to be handled with more uniformity and clarity. He knows that the Police Protective League, the union, which largely supports him, has to be included in any of these discussions of reform. He said the ''hallmarks of a great department are transparency and trust. All this was discussed today in a retrospective, thought provoking Commission meeting, followed by a packed press conference in the Mayor's offices at City Hall. Beck said the '' reappointment process has been much more difficult than I anticipated.... there were lessons to be learned and boy did I learn those lessons. " He said it's time to put away politics and drama ( much of it created by himself) and move forward. On that there was unanimous agreement.

(FOX 11 / CNS) Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck was re-appointed today by the city Police Commission and will serve another five years as head of the department.

The commission voted 4-1 to extend Beck's tenure, with the panel's longest-serving member, Robert Saltzman, casting the dissenting vote. Saltzman is the only member of the panel who pre-dates Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Saltzman said he believes the department needs fresh leadership, saying Beck was not as open about sharing information with the commission as his predecessor, William Bratton.

Other commissioners conceded that there were areas in which Beck could improve, but commission President Steve Soboroff said the "positives far outweigh the negatives."

Some commission members noted they were concerned about the fairness of discipline meted out by the chief and echoed some of Saltzman's concerns about transparency.

But those concerns were not enough for them to reject his bid for another term.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, speaking to the commission before the vote, told the panel he strongly supported Beck, saying the chief has seen the department through "ups and downs." LaBonge said he was confident Beck would "move the department forward."

Beck has been on the defensive in recent weeks, with questions being raised about the department's handling of crime statistics and about the chief's role in the department's purchase of a horse from his daughter.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that an estimated 1,200 violent crimes -- mostly aggravated assaults -- that occurred in 2013 may have been downgraded to minor offenses in crime statistics reported to the federal government.

LAPD officials said the misclassifications were inadvertent and the result of the "complex nature" of fitting crimes defined under state law into the "FBI's coding system." The department has long recognized the problem and has worked to reduce the error rate in classifying aggravated assaults, officials said.

The skewed statistics do not change the department's contention that crime has dropped consistently in the past 11 years, LAPD officials said, while the miscoding of the crimes did not affect how they were ultimately prosecuted.

In the months after putting in his request for a second term, Beck also found himself targeted in allegations -- some raised by a political blogger -- suggesting he may have intervened in a disciplinary case involving an officer who was accused of having improper relationships with the chief's daughter, LAPD Officer Brandi Pearson.

Another allegation raised questions about the department's $6,000 purchase of a horse that Pearson owned for use by the department's equestrian unit. Officials said the sum was substantially below the going rate.

Department officials have denied any wrongdoing in either case, saying Beck recuses himself from any involvement in matters involving his daughter or son, who is also an LAPD officer.

Beck later acknowledged signing correspondence related to the department's purchase of the horse, saying his previous comments that he had no involvement were "mistaken."

Beck submitted a letter to the Police Commission in May officially seeking a second term. He was required to submit an application to the commission 180 days before the end of his first term, which is Nov. 17.

Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, congratulated Beck on his reappointment.

"We pledge to work with him to restore officer morale and reform the department's arcane disciplinary system," he said. "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."

The union and the city are locked in a labor dispute, focused primarily on salaries.

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