LAPD Chief Charlie Beck sworn in, for a second time, in ceremony at headquarters

Joel Rubin at LAPD headquarters (LA Times)
December 3, 2009
It was all pomp and pageantry at the LAPD’s downtown headquarters this morning as newly appointed Chief Charlie Beck was sworn in to office — for a second time.

Beck officially became the department’s leader a few weeks ago when the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s nomination of Beck.

Beck, 56, took the oath of office in a brief ceremony after the council vote. Today’s event was for show and celebration. Against the backdrop of City Hall, elected officials, department brass and a few hundred other guests filled the courtyard outside the LAPD’s gleaming new headquarters.

Mounted police sat atop their horses on First Street, which had been closed to traffic, while the department’s official band alternated between festive holiday music and traditional police marching tunes. An LAPD helicopter pilot showed off, flying in low circles overhead. Beck walked onto the stage to the plaintive drone of bagpipers.

The bunting-laced dais was packed with Beck’s family – a clan rooted deeply in the department. His father is a retired LAPD deputy chief, his sister a former department detective, his stepdaughter a young patrol officer and his son is scheduled to graduate from the LAPD academy Friday.

Many council members, civilian police commissioners and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca also attended. Beck’s predecessor, William J. Bratton, returned from his new job as head of a police consulting firm in New York City for the celebration. Next to him was Daryl F. Gates, another influential leader of the department who served for 14 years until 1992.

As before, Beck was sworn in as the 56th LAPD chief by Villaraigosa, who, in his remarks, called the new chief “the right man at the right time to shape this department in the future.”

Council President Eric Garcetti took up the refrain, saying Beck – a 32-year veteran of the force – had the trust and respect of the department’s nearly 10,000 officers needed to solidify reforms Bratton introduced.

“For the first time in many decades, what we are asking of this chief is to continue the momentum of reform, rather than be the first to usher it in,” he said. Beck “embodies the new era of LAPD.”

For his part, Beck hit familiar, self-effacing notes from the many speeches and town-hall talks he has given since being selected. Saying he was “humbled” by the responsibilities of the new post, he praised his officers for successes in pushing down crime and portrayed the LAPD as a vital agency “inexorably tied to the city” that wants – and needs — to collaborate with other city departments.

The morning kicked off a daylong series of celebrations. After the swearing-in, Beck planned to join hundreds of officers at a barbecue at the academy and tonight will be feted at a gala dinner hosted by the Los Angeles Police Foundation at the Getty Center.

[Updated at 2:34 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated the gala was being hosted by Villaraigosa.]

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