LOS ANGELES - A three-decade veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who is credited with cleaning up the image of the scandal-plagued Rampart Division was selected by the mayor yesterday to head the police force.
Deputy Chief Charlie Beck said he was humbled that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa selected him to succeed William Bratton, who decreased crime and improved race relations during his seven-year tenure.
Beck would become the city’s 55th police chief if the City Council approves the mayor’s selection, as expected.
“Chief Bratton did a tremendous job of building a team,’’ Beck said. “My team is not the same as his, but it is made of the same cloth, and it will achieve the same results.’’
Beck began his LAPD career as a reserve officer in 1975 and rose through the ranks to become deputy chief three years ago. He currently is in charge of detectives.
Bratton left the department for a private consulting job three years before the expiration of his second term.
Beck could be expected to continue two of Bratton’s priorities: community outreach and a crackdown on gangs. However, Beck will face a challenge maintaining morale since the city’s financial crisis means officers are facing a contract that offers no pay raises.
In 2003, Bratton appointed Beck captain of the Rampart Division, which was struggling with fallout from a 1999 scandal that uncovered corruption in its antigang unit. Observers credited him with burnishing the division’s image, in part by pushing community outreach efforts.
Beck’s appointment was welcomed by the police officers union.