To replace Charlie Beck, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will choose between a Latino, an African American and the son of a Basque immigrant. Each would bring a different political benefit.
The Los Angeles Times takes a close look at the three finalists to succeed Charlie Beck as police chief. As young cops, the three were taught a harsh style of policing that emphasized crackdowns and arrests. They have since disavowed that strategy. All three use similar catchphrases: building ties with residents, investing in youth sports and academic programs, assuring immigrants that the police department wants to help them, not deport them. For Mayor Eric Garcetti, each of the veteran cops brings political benefits. Robert Arcos would be the first Latino police chief of a city that is nearly 50 percent Latino. Bill Scott, who left LAPD to lead the troubled San Francisco Police Department, is African American. Michel Moore, whose father was a Basque immigrant, was in the LAPD’s top echelons when the other two candidates were named to their first station commands. Insiders say his breadth of experience and mastery of subjects from crime statistics to budgets are second to none.
Arcos has the backing of some powerful Latino politicians, while a coalition of African American pastors and community activists is supporting Scott. Garcetti expects to pick the new chief by the end of the month. The City Council will vote on Garcetti’s choice. In selecting three men with decades of experience in the LAPD, the commission signaled its desire to stay the course set by Beck and predecessor William Bratton, who remade the department under a federal consent decree. Among the challenges the new chief will face: how to improve relationships with black and Latino residents, who are critical of fatal police shootings and complain about bearing the brunt of the LAPD’s enforcement operations. “It’s a nice, diverse pool, with the exception of no female,” said Fernando Guerra, a professor at Loyola Marymount University.