Chief Beck’s Leadership Called into Question by Captain

Has Chief Beck Become a Detriment and Liability to the LAPD?

Concerns about nepotism, favoritism, and the unfair treatment of some employees have been a silent topic of discussion among LAPD employees of all ranks ever since Chief Charlie Beck was appointed in 2009. Those silent discussions were elevated to a collective cry for help by LAPD officers over the past two weeks. The fear however, is that the officers’ message may have gotten lost among the salacious headlines, the slicing and dicing tactics of “cover and concealment” by the Chief, and the many rumors in social media.

The specific details of the recent headlined events are not relevant at this time. The critical issue for the commissioners must be the character of Chief Beck: Has he compromised his credibility to such an extent that now makes him a liability to the department? Has he lost the trust and respect of his employees? Has he abused his authority as Chief of Police, and if so, should the commissioners consider the concept of “Negligent Retention?” Can Chief Beck be trusted to be fair and impartial in adjudicating complaints involving honesty and integrity? To answer these questions, and to ensure that the critical facts are not confused, overlooked, or suppressed, here are the relevant issues that the commissioners must address:

In the reported matter of the sergeant who had inappropriate relations with his subordinate employees: Did the Chief, implicitly or otherwise, influence the outcome of that case? In the case of Officer Hillman, what message did the Chief send to minority communities when he reduced the penalty of an officer who made false statements and racist remarks? Did the Chief consider all the facts in that case, when he publicly refused to watch the video of the incident? Like Officer Hillman, who may no longer testify in a court of law, the Chief’s credibility is so damaged that the public will now view everything he says with skepticism.

On the matter of the Chief’s daughter selling her horse to the LAPD Mounted Unit, why was the Chief so adamant in the denial of his involvement? Would he have voluntarily admitted to his involvement, had it not been reported in the press? What message will the commission send to the officers if they accept the Chief’s explanation that he made a mistake? Is it reasonable for anyone, including the Chief, not to have seen the conflict of interest in this transaction from the inception? Based upon his now admitted role in the matter, the Chief has raised serious concerns about his own ethical conduct. This was not merely a serious lapse in judgment; it was a betrayal of trust at the highest level. LAPD employees are prohibited from accepting gratuity to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. The Chief sets the tone for the department, and the officers are expected to model his behavior; the Chief cannot be held to a lower standard than his officers.

The Chief recently declared, “I will continue to work with the commissioners to increase the department’s transparency.” The problem with this declaration is that this has been his commitment from day one. From the inception of his appointment in 2009, as reported in the press, he vowed to focus on “more transparency as LAPD Chief.” Although he did not “provide specifics about how he would improve transparency, he said it was a goal.”

Instead of a goal, this commitment to transparency has been reduced to a mere catch phrase, more talk than action. The Chief has repeated his so-called commitment to transparency several times between his appointment and the latest incident. Based upon his failures in the past, the Police Commission should be very skeptical about the sincerity of his pledge to be more transparent in the future.

In making his case, the Chief appears to be appealing for understanding, if not empathy, from the all of us who are parents because of what he perceived to be an attack on his family, who he felt did not deserve the level of scrutiny that is expected of him. This response from the Chief is particularly troubling, because it discloses the Chief’s inability to separate his “daughter” from “an LAPD employee,” who has engaged in questionable conduct. It is true that “anyone can make a mistake.” However, if the Police Commission accepts the Chief’s misrepresentation of his involvement in the horse incident as a mere mistake, it runs the risk of defending civil claims from hundreds of employees who have been terminated for making similar “mistakes.”

It is well appreciated that this is a very difficult decision for the Police Commission. The fact that Chief Beck is a “good guy,” and has a charming and charismatic personality makes it even that more difficult. However, among the many attributes of an effective leader, honesty and integrity trumps charisma. By his conduct, Chief Beck has betrayed the trust of his employees, he has compromised the credibility of the disciplinary system, and based upon his conduct, he may have now become a detriment and a liability to the Los Angeles Police Department.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times on November 6, 2009, during a Q&A with the Times Editorial Board, Chief Beck said, “A leader can never become more important than the organization,” and “If I ever become a detriment to this department because of my personality, because of something I did, then I’m gone.”

I think the majority of LAPD employees would say that we are now at that place and time, and it would be in the best interest of the department for Chief Beck to keep his promise.


Captain Peter Whittingham is a 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    Chief, have some self respect and remember what you said on November 6, 2009. You have become a detriment and will never again be respected by your officers after your false and misleading statement….among all of the other things that are finally being revealed.
    We all know the Police Commission is trying to create excuses to keep you so you will get your pension. Frankly, after the havoc you have caused throughout this Department, you do not deserve a pension. Think of all of the officers you fired for lying who lost their pensions. Why should you be any different? In fact, as the Chief of Police, you should be held to a much higher standard.
    DO THE HONORABLE THING AND JUST GO. Stop delaying the inevitable and stop putting the Inspector General and the Police Commission in an untenable position. You have lost the respect of your officers, your command staff, the LA Voters. Even BACA had the grace to not drag things out and further disgrace his Department. Make the right decision for once.

  • scarecrow

    Chief, speaking from personal experience, every time you or one of your cronies falsely accuses and sends an officer to a BOR based on false and misleading information, it is an attack on our families. Like you Chief, most officers have families and children to support and you seem to sleep perfectly fine at night knowing how many innocent officers were wrongly accused and terminated because of your policies. I love this common department term which I’m sure you know well. “You reasonably knew or should have known”. Well Chief…that exact statement applies to you. The penalty for making false and misleading statements has almost always resulted in termination of the accused officer. Why shouldn’t you be held to the same, if not, much higher standard?

  • scarecrow
  • Joe Shmo

    I seem to remember the Chief appointing a department risk manager in November of 2012. This department risk manager was to be placed in this position to assist with all of the internal departmental lawsuits that “I hold nobody accountable” Alex Bustamante discovered were not being looked into after command staff caused major payouts to the taxpayers because of their culpability in their egregious actions. Bustamante brought this to the commissions attention. Yet, Nothing has been done about this? What is the purpose of having an inspector general if there is no follow-thru or accountability? What is the purpose of the commission if there is no integrity?

    The first risk management czar was Beth Correa ( what a joke!), who was shady as they come. She ultimately left after getting drunk and doing cartwheels in a parking lot at a department Event! Good choice on Beth cheif! The next person that was appointed is like the ghost of Elvis. They say he is there but he is MIA. No one has seen any public or department effort for change made by this person. Where is he?

    In light of all the Chiefs lies and cover up on issues such as Theresa Evans, Lygagate, Hoopesgate, Newtongate, Shawn “Perjury” Hillman, the falsified reporting of crime statistics (wasn’t that why the previous fire chief was fired over falsified response times?) and finally My Little Pony Gate, you would think this risk manager czar would have appeared by now and be making some sort of statement assuring that swift action to correct these issues would be taken. BUT NO, what is being done is that all parties in the above cases have been assigned to home with pay an an effort to hide them( free paid vacations at taxpayer expense), keep press from them until the “political roller coaster” AKA Beck gets reappointed, is over. If thats not a dirty bird, I don’t no what is! Chief, We Have No confidence that you will change! Your nepotism, favoritism, cronyism is getting old. Your refusal to look at yourself and to hide from the truth is a statement that you are not a self actualized person who wishes to learn from your mistakes. Commission, stand by. You will reap what you sow. Steve Soboroff, you are letting the city down as you continue to take a stand. Where’s your leadership? You will be ultimately responsible for the demise of the department.

  • CityEye

    The PPL has been hiding like pussies and not speaking out. Not one person in this City has the guts to speak out and with a mayor who has been hiding a lot himself and no one is reporting that, its a shoe in for Beck. Beck will now feel the heat of the rank and file wherever he goes. The best way to show your disgust and lack of respect for a Chief and his command who have no integrity is to boo him just like you did Chief Parks. He’ll get the message

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    Soboroff’s decision was a huge disservice to the residents of LA and to all the cops out their who are being held to a much higher standard than their boss. The only one who had the guts to do the right thing was Salzman—the only one not appointed by Garcetti.

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    I have been speaking out. So have Dave Nunez,and Peter Whittingham. I agree that 3 out of 9600 is very pathetic. Where are the rest of you?

  • NoDirtyBirdies

    Unfortunately the way things were published in this blog it may be a hindrance. Using an LAPD manager who is not well respected by the troops as a leader to the movement hasn’t helped. Nor has using a murderous ex-cop who callously executed four innocent people as a poster boy for change. Finally, putting the personnel files of patrol sergeants and officers who have NO connections to command staff rings warning bells. Perhaps if Sergeant Marx and Detective Nunez distance themselves from this site and lead in another direction you may have more vocal support.

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    NDB. Please get your facts straight. Nunez has not been on ANY blog. None. And I did not comment on the ex-cop who murdered people. I did not put the personnel file of anyone on here. What I commented on throughout is a very broken discipline system, cronyism, nepotism, and COP who is not held to the same standards as his employees.

  • NoDirtyBirdies

    Never said you did any of the above. Just advising that alot of officers want to follow your lead and appreciate what you are trying to accomplish, just not through this particular forum. Thanks for your efforts.

  • NoDirtyBirdies

    To be clear my last post was to Sgt Marx, not this blog.

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    NDB Am not really a blogger, but I can see how this could become addicting..or is it addictive? I think people are so fed up and frustrated, that they need a place to vent. Is there a better place you can recommend? I really don’t know. Because I do worry people are being careless and could end up getting themselves in trouble or sued for defamation…they can’t just post any old thing without proof…And I know the Dept is watching.

  • NoDirtyBirdies

    Agree wholeheartedly.. do wish there was a safe place to vent.. we are all frustrated. I share the same concern about possible repercussions.. the Dept is always watching…

  • RW

    As much as we disliked Parks as chief, at least he greeted you when he saw you. I have come across Beck on a few occasions and he will not even look at you or greet you. He is in his own world.

  • CityEye

    I agree. Parks no matter if you disagreed with him on issues or not always had good manners

  • sararamirez

    Well said! Weak ppl no balls

  • sararamirez

    Why doesnt the PPL speak out and get rid of this corrupted liar! along with all of his staff.

  • cathy marx

    that is a very good question…to which I have no answer. many of us are asking ourselves the same question. My opinion is that some of the current PPL directors are afraid to speak out- and have forgotten the mission of the LAPPL..which is up on Google for anyone to see. And they also know that despite everything that was published about the COP, the Police Commission STILL recommended him for another term.