Eulogy for a chief: ‘The Los Angeles Police Department was Daryl Gates,’ says successor Charlie Beck

— Richard Winton (LA Times)

4/27/2010

Inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck paid tribute Tuesday to his deceased predecessor, Daryl F. Gates, the 49th chief of the Police Department.

“There will never be another like Daryl,” Beck said during the private funeral for Gates, who died this month after a short battle with cancer at the age of 83.

“Daryl was the Los Angeles Police Department,” he continued. “The Los Angeles Police Department was Daryl Gates.”

Beck said Gates led a far smaller department when the crime rate was high and the murder rate was triple what it is today.

“It was the most difficult of times. The time we policed by the thin blue line,” Beck said. “For too long, the city expected too much out of too few.”

Beck said he is often asked why Gates still means so much today to so many officers.

“Daryl loved this place,” he said. “He loved it because he respected the men and women of the LAPD. He loved them unconditionally.”

He concluded: “The chief is dead. Long live the Los Angeles Department.”

The service began earlier in the day with a funeral procession wending its way through the streets of downtown L.A. Bagpipes echoed as a hearse, accompanied by motorcycles and mounted officers, made the short journey to the cathedral.

Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa walked behind.

The street in front of the LAPD administration building was a sea of blue as men and women in uniform passed by. Gates’ body was carried in a pecan-colored casket engraved with Gates’ name, badge, rank and serial number.

A riderless horse walked in front of the black hearse. At the intersection of Temple and Hill streets, two massive Los Angeles Fire Department ladder trucks were erected in an arch for the procession to walk under.

A line of stretch limousines moved beneath them along with hundreds of officers. The sound of television helicopters buzzing overhead filled the air.

Gates led the LAPD from 1978 to 1992.

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