City Council gets update on search for next police chief

LOS ANGELES — The president and vice president of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners updated the City Council on the search for the city’s next police chief March 7, with some council members sharing their input about what kind of person the city should hire for the post.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced in January that he will retire June 27, a year and a half before his term ends. He has led the department since 2009.

Police Commission President Steve Soboroff and Vice President Matt Johnson spoke at an early morning meeting of the Public Safety Committee and also at the City Council meeting, where many of the council members talked at length about what they would like to see in the next chief.

“We want the best chief that’s available. We want the best of the best of the best,” Council President Herb Wesson said. “And I don’t think that we care if the person is red, black, green or purple. We want the best. We also want to ensure that we have a chief that is creative and thinks outside of the box.”

Soboroff and Johnson told the council that the commission held six community meetings to get feedback on the search, and that they both have attended roll call at some police stations to get feedback from rank-and-file officers.

They said the commission — the civilian committee that oversees the department — will process the applications the Personnel Department receives for the job and come up with a system for ranking them. The commission will then turn over the top three applicants to Mayor Eric Garcetti to consider.

Soboroff insisted that the public meetings and feedback had altered his opinion on what kind of a person is needed, and also that he believed Garcetti did not already have a candidate in mind.

“I believe that [Garcetti] is very interested respectful and supportive of this process and open to the rankings that we come up with,” Soboroff said.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former LAPD officer, repeated his desire for the city to hire a woman as police chief.

“I agree that not only we should interview female candidates, but now is the time that we have the city’s first female police chief,” Buscaino said.


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