There’s something about cops that’s always intriguing: They think that 2 plus 2 always equals 4, well almost always. It’s that just the facts, M’am, literal-mindedness they need to turn hard evidence into theories of crimes and nail suspects.
A case in point is the appointment of Charlie Beck as Chief of Police.
Now Beck is a street cop, popular with the troops, immensely likeable and off to a great start in wooing the concerned citizens who are showing up at meetings all around the city for meet-and-greets accompanied by the mayor himself who continues to wear his imaginary LAPD badge as a fig leaf over his administration’s many failings.
But for some in the upper ranks of the LAPD and others with insider’s knowledge of how the process worked, the selection of Beck as Chief doesn’t add up
Even by the standards of how Bratton (with leverage from insiders) and Willie Williams (with grade inflation on oral interviews to boost his low scores) got to be in charge of the LAPD, the selection of Beck seemed like a “screwball” process.
Some facts stand out immediately.
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.
What supposedly happened in this curtailed process without clear requirements set down in advance for the job, itself extraordinary for such an important post, was that dark horse Michel Moore, who wasn’t on anybody’s short list, came out at the top of the finalists’ list Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell, Bratton’s well-liked No. 2, coming in second.
With two white guys at the top of the list and a couple of women deputy chiefs and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, who is black, in the running, Beck still jumped over all of them to reportedly complete the list of three submitted to the mayor.
In the minds of some in the know, with no offense to Beck, it just doesn’t add up.
The whispers among insiders is that Beck really didn’t make the list of three but was inserted into the third spot when the commission was confronted with the knowledge that the situation could turn into a controversy instead of a coronation because the mayor already had agreed to follow Bratton’s advice.
Here’s the way the City Charter defines the process:
recruitment and selection of qualified candidates for the position of
Chief of Police shall be administered by the general manager of the
Personnel Department, in cooperation with the Board of Police
Commissioners, through a system of open competition based on professionally accepted recruitment and selection standards. The general manager of the Personnel Department shall refer a group of at least six highly qualified candidates to the Board of Police Commissioners, which shall then provide a list of three recommended candidates, in ranked order, to
the Mayor for review and for appointment of one of them to the Office
of Chief of Police. At the request of the Mayor, the Board of Police
Commissioners shall provide the Mayor with an additional list of three candidates, in ranked order, from the group of candidates previously provided by the general manager of the Personnel Department.”
other words, if Beck’s appointment was always a done deal between the
mayor and Bratton, the problem was getting him on the short list of
finalists to avoid going back to the other three candidates from the
Personnel Department’s list of six.
It would have gotten ugly.
problem with all this is the one raised previously: Beck, by all
accounts, is a good cop and a good guy who will need all the help he
can get from the experienced command staff around him.
doesn’t need Bratton and his pals telling him what to do. And he
certainly doesn’t need the mayor, who was overshadowed by Bratton even
as he rode his coattails, upstaging him everywhere he goes, taking
credit for his achievements or taking the opportunity to politicize the
LAPD as he has every other department in the city.