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Chief Beck Makes His Political Debut

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L.A. police chiefs don't need to win over the public before they get the job, but new LAPD head Charlie Beck is trying to do so in the face of accusations his appointment was too much of a mayoral power play, under departing Chief Bratton's influence.

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The L.A. Weekly reports on the discontent:

In this sometimes-bizarre city, prospective chiefs don't meet and greet the public before they get the job. The campaigning happens after the mayor has made a selection from a short list created by the Police Commission. Beck's an insider, sure, but one whose own evolution took him from company man to reformer -- and he isn't a problematic choice for most.

Rather, for some City Hall critics, a problem lies with a backroom process that was so rapid and, perhaps, so prejudiced toward the man backed by Bratton that few outsiders applied for what is the brass ring of the police world....

While tiny Beverly Hills conducted a three-month, nationwide search just for a new city manager, the nation's most prestigious policing job was all but filled after about a month. Community meetings to gather input for the mayor-appointed Police Commission, which chose three finalists, were not half as well-publicized as Beck and Villaraigosa's after-the-fact town hall meetings....

While two anonymous outsiders were on a list of semifinalists, such big-gun names as San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon and Miami Police Chief John Timoney did not turn up as finalists. The process was seen by some as a mayoral ramrod down the public's throat of Bratton's favorite soldier.

Ron Kaye at his website of local news, politics, and commentary has more on discontent over the Beck selection process:

There was no nationwide search by a headhunting firm as has been the practice (and is being done to find someone to run the DWP) and it only took a month or so to pick the next chief based on a couple of interviews each with the mayor.

Bratton indicated for months that Beck was his favorite and made it perfectly clear in the end that the Chief of Detectives was his first and only choice for a successor.

His top cronies from the Police Executive Research Forum, Chuck Wexler and Miami Chief John Timoney, formerly chief in Philadelphia, also apparently weighed in with their own advice to help Beck move up the list where he ranked well below a host of other candidates based on overall command experience.

Timoney slipped into LA late in the process and met with commissioners with the story being put out that he was applying for the job. Yet, he didn't make the cut despite credentials far more impressive than any of the LAPD candidates, raising suspicions he wasn't there as a candidate but as an adviser.

Past City of Angles blogging on Bratton's leaving and Beck's arrival as LAPD chief.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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