Okay, so I am still in shock from finding out the news that L.A.P.D. Chief Kenneth O. Garner, Commanding Officer, South Bureau (above) died last night at his home.  Garner was one of the L.A.P.D.’s highest ranking Blacks and was only 53.  I had the pleasure of knowing him and can tell you that his commitment to the city of Los Angeles, South Los Angeles in particular was strong and unwavering.  He’s one of a handful of Blacks at the L.A.P.D. that I credit with helping change my perspective on the police department.  It’s a sad day for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles (CBS Local News)

Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner, who served more than 30 years with the LAPD, died Sunday morning at his home. He was 53 years old.

Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Kenneth O. Garner, commanding officer of the LAPD’s South Bureau and one of the department’s highest ranking black officers, died unexpectedly Sunday at his home. He was 53 years old.

“Deputy Chief Garner began his career with the Department over three decades ago and served the community with both distinction and honor,” Los Angeles police Chief Bill Bratton said. “All of us mourn his passing but take comfort in the knowledge that he lived his life and helped countless others along the way.”

It was unclear why Garner died. Longtime friend Carl McGill, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles County Inc., said he thought it might have been a heart attack.

An autopsy is pending.

Garner started with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1977. In March 2008, he was promoted to commander of the South Bureau, which encompasses the Southwest, 77th Street, South and Harbor stations, as well as the South Traffic Division.

He became deputy chief in July 2007, a month after celebrating 30 years on the force.

“Los Angeles has suffered a great loss with the death of Deputy Chief Garner. Chief Garner’s profound allegiance to the LAPD and the community warrants the appreciation and gratitude of all Angelenos,” said Paul Weber of the police union.

“The man and women of the LAPD join the community in offering our deepest sympathies and prayers to the Garner family as they endure this painful loss.”

Garner was born in Hot Springs, Ark. He is survived by his daughter, Lauren, his mother and father. Funeral arraignments are pending.