LAPD Chief Michel Moore receives second term
The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday reappointed Chief Michel Moore to a second term as head of one of the nation’s largest police departments.
The five-member commission made its unanimous decision during a closed session, knowing that Mayor Karen Bass, who in her role wields considerable power over the boss and the department, supported the move — albeit with some reservations.
In a letter sent to the commission on Monday, Bass, who took office in December and has campaigned for more accountability and transparency in the police force, said she believes Moore shares her desire for the department to stop recruiting “reform-minded” improved people. and change how it responds to calls involving the mentally ill.
She added that she expects the department “will deliver.”[s]specific actions for other goals, such as partnering with a new municipal security office she founded and streamlining the recruitment process to ensure new officers hit the streets more efficiently.
And Bass underscored public statements by Moore that he intends to step down after two or three years to make way for a new boss ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. If he does so, she wrote, “a nationwide search will begin and a new chief will be selected.”
In a statement, Moore said he was grateful for the commission’s unanimous decision and touted the progress he says the department had made during his first term. He also acknowledged his critics’ concerns and said he “listened carefully” to discussions with Bass about necessary reforms.
“There is much work to be done and I welcome the opportunity to continue this important work,” he wrote.
Before the vote, Commissioner Steve Soboroff hailed Moore as a leader who has guided the department through, among other things, the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the national policing crisis sparked by the 2020 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer had been triggered.
The vote came after just weeks of public hearings on whether to accept Moore’s bid for a second term, an unusually rapid pace for a civilian body that has taken months to consider whether to reappoint previous bosses.
On Tuesday, the panel heard from dozens of people who called in to the remote meeting and overwhelmingly opposed Moore’s reappointment. Richard Tefank, executive director of the police commission, said the panel deliberated privately for about half an hour before reaching its decision.
The decision to retain Moore had been widely expected, as commissioners had signaled their support for him, describing him as an effective police officer with the skills needed to run a complex organization like the LAPD.
However, Bass’ feelings towards Moore were less clear. And given her campaign promises to make the department more accountable, speculation mounted as to whether she supported Moore when three people died in police custody earlier this year. One of the men was Keenan Anderson, who died several hours after an officer repeatedly tasered him. LAPD officers also shot dead two people in separate incidents in South LA
Critics used the deaths as evidence to back their claim that Moore’s department had not done enough to root out a culture of aggression among officers, saying he was unfit for a second term. In the weeks leading up to the vote, some embraced the social media-powered “No More Moore” campaign.
In her letter to the commission, Bass highlighted the three deaths in custody and said the fact that all three men appeared to be in the midst of a mental health crisis when they met officials “underscored the need for continued and significant reform of the City moves closer to public safety.”
As mayor, Bass does not have the direct authority to fire a police chief, which is a power reserved for the Police Commission and City Council. However, she can replace commissioners with persons of her choice.
According to the city charter, the city council has the power to veto the decision of the commission. But such an attempt would be a steep climb, as 10 votes are required for a veto. Seven of the council’s 15 members — Bob Blumenfield, Paul Krekorian, John Lee, Tim McOsker, Traci Park, Monica Rodriguez and Kevin de León — have expressed support for Moore or said they would not seek to overturn the commission’s decision cancel.
Moore faces challenges, including running a department that is missing several hundred officers below its allotted strength of about 9,500 officers, a gap created as the city grapples with killings and shootings above pre-pandemic levels. And Commissioners Eileen Decker and Maria “Lou” Calanche urged Moore about his poor record in promoting women at Tuesday’s meeting. Recent figures from the department show that women make up just 17% of the LAPD’s senior staff.
In Moore, the police commission chose to retain a veteran leader and an insider – a veteran who rose through the ranks of the department. He has a firm grasp of the department’s troubled history as a racist, abusive agency and its push to get by it over the past two decades, even during its time under a federal consent decree.
At the same time, however, Moore’s reappointment means clinging to a leader who carries the baggage of previous political stumbling blocks and who has been professionally hurt by a range of challenges – including rising violent crime, the COVID-19 pandemic, controversial shootings by the Police, the blasting of a south LA neighborhood by a clumsy bomb squad and predictive police software that critics say unfairly targeted blacks and Latinos who had committed no crimes.
Melina Abdullah, a frequent sparring partner of Moore, bemoaned people’s “short memory” when evaluating the chief’s first 4½ years as chief. She argued that Moore pushed “this community police narrative” even as his officers continue to use aggressive tactics at demonstrations, despite numerous studies and reports blaming the department for how it responded to protests in 2020 and earlier.
“He wants police in every pew and on every park bench. And that’s not the role of the police,” said Abdullah, a college professor and prominent civil rights activist who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement. She added that the city deserves a leader “who invests in real public safety beyond the police and understands that this means spending money in other areas.”
Moore’s supporters counter that his ability to handle many challenges at once, most of which were not caused by him, is a reason for his reappointment.
Times contributor Kevin Rector contributed to this report.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-31/lapd-chief-moore-receives-second-5-year-term LAPD Chief Michel Moore receives second term