Commission begins search for next chief

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Police Commissioners has begun the process of selecting an interim chief to replace Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore, who announced Jan. 12 he planned to retire at the end of February.

The commission met in closed session for five hours Jan. 19 and ended the meeting with an announcement that “no action was taken by the board.”

Prior to the closed session, the five-member board heard testimony from three individuals on the agenda. The comments were brief, limited to one minute.

Comments both encouraged the board to select a strong leader as interim chief and also criticized the board for not doing more to increase public engagement. 

The process of selecting an interim chief could take several weeks, but a decision must be made prior to Moore’s retirement.

Mayor Karen Bass told City News Service that there will be a three-front process to identify and select a new police chief.

She explained the police commission will be making a decision and selecting a national search firm to conduct the search.

“We are not opposed to an internal candidate, but as the nation’s second largest city we need to search wide to make sure that we get the best,” Bass said.

Bass added her office will conduct an extensive outreach process to gather input from LAPD officers, as well as residents of the city.

“I want to hear from the men and women of the force. What they want to see — not who — what they want to see in their next chief,” Bass said.

“In terms of myself, I want to see our department continue to be rooted in community-based policing,” she added.

The mayor noted she would like to see a push for mental health.

“We need to really strengthen mental health because if you look at so much of what officers have to do on a daily basis, it’s really not law enforcement related. It’s related to the fact that on every level of government there’s been a divestment in social services and safety nets,” Bass said.

“When things fall through cracks, they fall on the shoulders of the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department,” Bass added. “I do not think that’s fair.”

As part of its work, the Police Commission, under the leadership of President Erroll Southers, will be tasked with identifying and selecting an individual to serve as the interim police chief, as well as identifying the top three candidates for Bass to consider for the appointment.

Moore joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1981. He was promoted to captain in 1998. His assignments included assuming command of the Rampart Division after a police corruption scandal and serving in a top command capacity at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

He has served as LAPD chief since 2018, when he was appointed by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Bass said Moore will remain contracted with the city following his retirement to help with the transition to a new chief.

The next police chief will need approval by Mayor Bass, and then by the full City Council.

The Board of Police Commissioners issued a statement thanking Moore for his years of service to the department, praising his ;eadership.

“His leadership, as a longstanding member of the command staff, rising to the position of chief of police, has guided the department through many storms,” the commissioners said. “We are grateful for his time protecting and serving the people of this great city,” the statement added. “We hope you will join us in celebrating him and sending him into his next chapter with our deepest appreciation.”

Though officials gave no exact date for when the celebration will happen, the commissioners will have until the end of February, before the chief retires.

The Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing, LAPD officers, also issued a statement thanking Moore for his service and laid out the organization’s hopes for the next chief.

“We commend Chief Michel Moore on his 43 years of service to the Los Angeles Police Department and the residents of Los Angeles,” the union said. “His tenure was marked by unprecedented changes in the law enforcement profession, and we appreciated Chief Moore’s open-door policy that allowed the LAPPL to deliver the perspective of the rank and file on various issues.

“Although we did not always agree, we had a respectful and productive relationship. We wish Chief Moore and his family the best in his retirement,” the statement continued.

“In choosing a new chief, we urge the Police Commission and Mayor Bass to select an individual who’s committed to rebuilding the ranks of the department, reducing violent crime, and improving morale,” the union added.

“These are challenging times for our city, as well as for our profession and we will need a leader unafraid of speaking truth to power, who will advocate for our rank and file and the safety of all Angelenos.”