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LAPD Chief Announces Early Retirement

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in Jan. 2014 | photo by Scott L via Wikimedia Commons
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in Jan. 2014 | photo by Scott L via Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announced today he will retire June 27, two years before the end of his appointment.

"Serving the citizens of Los Angeles for over 40 years has been the honor of a lifetime,'' Beck wrote in a statement on his Twitter account.

"Leading the men and women of the LAPD -- my family -- has been a privilege I never thought I'd be worth of. Today, I am announcing my retirement effective June 27th of this year.

"I plan on working every day until that day as the chief of the greatest law enforcement agency in the country,'' he said. "I believe we are in the right place to support my decision, and give the next generation of LAPD leaders an opportunity to lead.

"The department is ready for fresh eyes to take our organization to even higher levels. Thank you Los Angeles for allowing me to serve your for all these years. God bless all of you, and God bless the Los Angeles Police Department.''

Beck publicly announced his retirement plans at a late-morning news conference with Mayor Eric Garcetti that was called to announce crime statistics. Beck's surprise announcement appeared to catch some members of his own command staff off guard.

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Invoking a journalism phrase, Garcetti quipped that Beck's announcement late in the news conference was a classic example of "burying the lede.''

Beck has been chief of the LAPD since November 2009. His latest five-year appointment was set to in November 2019.

Beck joined the department as a reserve officer in March 1975. He became a full-time officer in March 1977. He was promoted to sergeant in 1984, to lieutenant in 1993, to captain in 1999 and commander in 2005. Be became a deputy chief in 2006, achieving the same rank his father attained at the agency.

As a deputy chief he oversaw the department's South Bureau, and later became the chief of detectives.

Beck has been under fire in recent years, with activist groups such as Black Lives Matter calling for his ouster in response to what they call a rise in police shootings of black suspects.

Activist Melina Abdullah was among those joining a chorus of Beck opponents taking to social media to hail his pending departure.

"Thank you to our partners who stood with us to make this happen,''she wrote as she reposted a Black Lives Matter Twitter message cheering the announcement.

Weekly Los Angeles Police Commission meetings have often been forced to adjourn or go into recess over the past two years as activists shouted from the audience, typically directing their anger at the chief.

But Back has held the support of Garcetti and most of the Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD.

"Under his leadership he has helped to make the LAPD the preeminent law enforcement agency in the world,'' commission member Steve Soboroff said.

"His focus on community policing has resulted in creating, maintaining and expanding the great relationships the department has with the diverse communities of Los Angeles. The many successes in programs that have been implemented under his leadership will serve as a testimony to his skill as a leader.''

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson thanked Beck for his service.

"In a career that has spanned more than four decades, he has exemplified the spirit of 'to protect and to serve,''' Wesson said. "He leaves the LAPD on a path of progress.''

Councilman Joe Buscaino quickly advocated for the department to be led by a woman.

"It's time for Los Angeles to have its first female chief of the LAPD,'' he wrote on his Twitter account. "I urge the Police Commission to seek out qualified women candidates to lead the nation's second-largest police department.''

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