Downey appoints first woman police chief

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Wave Staff Report

DOWNEY — The city has announced the appointment of the first woman police chief in the history of the city.

Leslie Murray was installed as the 12th chief of police in the city’s history last month, replacing Chief Dean Milligan who retired in December.

The swearing-in ceremony was a family affair. Murray was sworn in by her brother, Ed Kelly, a retired Downey police sergeant, who administered the oath of office. The badge pinning ceremony was conducted by Murray’s husband, Dan Murray, also a retired Downey police sergeant.

Chief Murray is a 31-year veteran of the Downey Police Department. She was raised in Norwalk and Bellflower, and attended Downey schools, graduating from Downey High School.

In 1990, she was hired as a Downey police officer and attended the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy. Upon graduation, she was assigned to field operations as a patrol officer. She later worked on sex crimes and as a child abuse detective before becoming the department’s training coordinator and community relations officer.

In 2000, Murray was promoted to sergeant, becoming the first female sergeant in the department’s history. As a sergeant she supervised field operations, the detective bureau, jail operations, the field training program, the department’s first information technology support team, the school resource officer program and was the department’s media relations liaison.

She was promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and captain in 2018.

Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Cal State Long Beach. She also is a graduate of the Sherman Block Institute, the LAPD’s West Point Leadership Program and is an FBI National Academy graduate.

She and her husband, Dan, have been married for 28 years and have four children and two grandchildren.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to select Chief Murray to lead our Downey Police Department into the future,” City Manager Gilbert Livas said. “Chief Murray’s professionalism, leadership traits and extensive law enforcement experience make her the right person for the job.”

Retired Chief Milligan called Murray “a longstanding and extremely dedicated member of the Downey Police Department.”

“I have the utmost confidence in Leslie and her abilities,” he added. “I have no doubt that she and her team will lead the Downey Police Department to new heights.”


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