By Najee Ali
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has chosen a 36-year veteran as the new chief of the city’s police department. Garcetti announced June 4 that Michel Moore, 57, will be the 57th police chief of the department. The City Council still must approve the decision.
Garcetti’s selection of Moore is a choice that we welcome. All the finalists were highly qualified. But I’m not surprised at all by the mayor’s selection of Moore.
I was stunned when Moore didn’t get selected to replace Chief Bill Bratton when he retired. Moore has the knowledge and expertise to be a great chief. He is the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met in law enforcement.
South L.A. community leaders have a chief who grew up in the LAPD and knows our community. But Moore is already under attack from a handful of black activists who had a chance to advocate who they wanted to become chief but refused to engage in the process. Now they are complaining about the choice.
They also were quick to point out that as a beat cop Moore shot two men in separate incidents.
In 1985, Moore shot a man at a downtown loading dock who pointed a handgun at truck drivers and then aimed at him, the man survived, and at that time Chief Darryl Gates found that the shooting complied with department policy. A year later, while working as a security guard at a shopping mall in the San Fernando Valley, Moore killed a man who was firing a semi-automatic rifle in the parking lot. The man shot and killed his wife. The man then pointed the rifle at Moore, who shot him in self-defense and trying to save others from being killed.
So yes, Moore has shot and killed someone, but he only did what any one of us would do if we were placed in that same situation.
Moore later received the LAPD’s Medal of Valor, awarded to officers who display courage in the face of imminent peril, and continued to rise through the ranks of police officer, detective, sergeant and lieutenant working various patrol, investigative and administrative assignments throughout the city.
Moore was promoted to the rank of captain in 1998 and his assignments included assuming command at Rampart Area following the arrest of Rafael Perez and during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Upon his promotion to commander in 2002, his assignments were at Operations-Valley Bureau and later the assistant to the director, Office of Operations. In 2004, he was promoted to deputy chief and assumed the command of Operations-West Bureau, later transferring to Operations-Valley Bureau in 2005.
In 2010, he was promoted to assistant chief and was assigned as director of the Office of Special Operations. In that position, Assistant Chief Moore oversaw the Detective Bureau and Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, as well as citywide jail, property and security services operations.
In 2015, Moore was assigned as director of the Office of Administrative Services. In that position, he oversaw the department’s fiscal, personnel, training and various support operations including the department’s command center, communications and records management. He was also the chair of the department’s Use of Force Review Board, which evaluates all categorical uses of force, including deadly force and hospitalizations.
Most recently, Moore became the first assistant chief and was assigned as director of the Office of Operations. In that position, he oversees the department’s geographic bureaus and patrol divisions which provide uniformed and services within the city of Los Angeles.
Chief Bill Scott of San Francisco and LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Arcos, who were the other finalists for the job, are both great men and dedicated public servants. They will continue to do great work.
Garcetti made one of the most difficult choices in his political career with all these men being capable of serving as LAPD chief. But ultimately only one could have it and that’s Moore.
So, it’s up to South L.A. leadership to hold our new chief accountable. That’s why are calling for Moore to continue the implementation of community policing, de-escalation of use of force and more promotions of African-American officers to higher ranks within the LAPD, which is sorely lacking.
We should all give Moore a chance to see how he will lead. He has big shoes to fill in the retiring Chief Beck but if anyone can do it, Moore can.
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