Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced last Friday that he will retire on June 27 after serving 42 years with the department.
It was anticipated that Beck, almost 65, would retire soon, but the timing of the announcement was a surprise. The chief said he wanted to give city officials months to select a successor, and he will be involved in the process.
Beck has served as chief of the LAPD since November 2009, after being appointed by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Under reforms implemented after the Los Angeles Riots in 1992, LAPD chiefs are limited to serving two five-years terms.
“The time is right for this city, with a strong mayor, a committed Police Commission and a unified City Council who will all help to choose the next police chief,” Beck said. “This command staff is at its best in generations as evidenced by the LAPD veterans who lead police agencies all over the country. This, and the department’s current leadership, create an outstanding pool of candidates who deserve an opportunity to lead.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti and many other city leaders praised Beck’s leadership.
“Los Angeles was in the most capable hands from the moment that Charlie Beck became chief of police,” Garcetti said. “Chief Beck embraced a steady path of reform at a tough moment for policing in America, even when there was criticism from both sides. He is one of the most honorable men to ever lead the LAPD, and he should be proud of what we’ve accomplished for the people of this city.”
“Chief Charlie Beck’s entire career has been about public service, and I’ve been proud to work closely with him,” said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “A son of a police officer and lifelong member of the LAPD, he has always seen policing as a way to transform communities and change the world. As chief, he built strong trust in L.A.’s neighborhoods, centered on the sound foundation of constitutional policing. He continues to be a valued partner of mine and the office I direct. All of us in Los Angeles owe Charlie a deep debt of gratitude for his decades of exceptional service.”
“Chief Beck has been protecting and serving our city for over 40 years, and has spent the last eight leading the 9,000 officers of the Los Angeles Police Department with courage, compassion and dignity. His work with our neighborhoods and commitment to the immigrant communities of Los Angeles has made our city stronger and our police force one of the nation’s greatest,” said Councilman David Ryu, 4th District. “He leaves behind big shoes to fill, and whoever follows Chief Beck must build on his legacy of serving our diverse city with respect.”
The city will conduct an international search for candidates, and will consider current members of the department. Potential candidates will be vetted by the Los Angeles Police Commission, which will provide recommendations to the mayor, who selects the new chief.
Since the announcement, speculation has surfaced about Beck’s successor. Former LAPD officer and current Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, 15th District, tweeted he hopes the city will hire the department’s first female police chief. While the city has yet to begin the application process, one candidate from the department with local ties who may be considered is Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala, director of the LAPD’s Office of Special Operations. Girmala previously served as commanding officer of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division.
“I think everyone is starting to imagine how we select next chief of police in the city of Los Angeles,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District. “Assistant Chief Girmala and I have known each other and have had a good relationship for years. I think she is stellar and is automatically in the running for this position. I don’t think anyone has any qualms whatsoever about selecting a chief of police if they are a woman or a member of a minority group. I think Bea Girmala certainly has the qualifications to be considered.”
Other potential candidates from the department that have been named in media reports include First Assistant Chief Michel Moore, Beck’s second in command, and Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas, who oversees the LAPD’s Office of Administrative Services.
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