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LAPD Chief Reappointed

 

Photo Credit: Getty

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck was  re-appointed today by the city Police Commission and will serve another five  years as head of the department.

The commission voted 4-1 to extend Beck's tenure, with the panel's  longest-serving member, Robert Saltzman, casting the dissenting vote. Saltzman  is the only member of the panel who pre-dates Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Saltzman said he believes the department needs fresh leadership, saying  Beck was not as open about sharing information with the commission as his  predecessor, William Bratton.

Other commissioners conceded that there were areas in which Beck could  improve, but commission President Steve Soboroff said the ``positives far  outweigh the negatives.''

Some commission members noted they were concerned about the fairness of  discipline meted out by the chief and echoed some of Saltzman's concerns about  transparency.

But those concerns were not enough for them to reject his bid for  another term.

Councilman Tom LaBonge, speaking to the commission before the vote, told  the panel he strongly supported Beck, saying the chief has seen the  department through ``ups and downs.'' LaBonge said he was confident Beck would  ``move the department forward.''

Beck has been on the defensive in recent weeks, with questions being  raised about the department's handling of crime statistics and about the  chief's role in the department's purchase of a horse from his daughter.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that an estimated 1,200 violent  crimes -- mostly aggravated assaults -- that occurred in 2013 may have been  downgraded to minor offenses in crime statistics reported to the federal  government.

LAPD officials said the misclassifications were inadvertent and the  result of the ``complex nature'' of fitting crimes defined under state law into  the ``FBI's coding system.'' The department has long recognized the problem and  has worked to reduce the error rate in classifying aggravated assaults,  officials said.

The skewed statistics do not change the department's contention that  crime has dropped consistently in the past 11 years, LAPD officials said, while  the miscoding of the crimes did not affect how they were ultimately prosecuted.

In the months after putting in his request for a second term, Beck also  found himself targeted in allegations -- some raised by a political blogger --  suggesting he may have intervened in a disciplinary case involving an officer  who was accused of having improper relationships with the chief's daughter,  LAPD Officer Brandi Pearson.

Another allegation raised questions about the department's $6,000  purchase of a horse that Pearson owned for use by the department's equestrian  unit. Officials said the sum was substantially below the going rate.

Department officials have denied any wrongdoing in either case, saying  Beck recuses himself from any involvement in matters involving his daughter or  son, who is also an LAPD officer.

Beck later acknowledged signing correspondence related to the  department's purchase of the horse, saying his previous comments that he had no  involvement were ``mistaken.''

Beck submitted a letter to the Police Commission in May officially  seeking a second term. He was required to submit an application to the  commission 180 days before the end of his first term, which is Nov. 17.

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