Regents choose LAPD inspector general for UC system oversight role

The inspector general for the Los Angeles Police Department, who for six years has played a key role in civilian oversight of the agency, will take on a new role as watchdog for the University of California.

The UC Board of Regents on Thursday approved Alexander Bustamante for a position in the president’s office, naming him senior vice president and chief compliance and audit officer.

Starting Sept. 5, Bustamante will operate as an “independent and objective officer,” leading efforts to audit and monitor the university system’s compliance with various rules and regulations in areas such as cybersecurity, sexual violence and harassment, and access for the disabled, according to a UC statement and documents. Bustamante will earn a base annual salary of $350,000.

“Alex Bustamante was selected for this critical position at the university based on his impressive career focused on legal and compliance matters,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “I’m confident his breadth of expertise and leadership will further strengthen UC’s oversight systems.”

A former federal prosecutor, Bustamante has worked as the LAPD’s watchdog since 2011. His office, which is independent of the police department, reviews police practices and policies, investigates when officers fire their guns or use other serious force, and serves as the investigative arm of the civilian Police Commission, which oversees the 10,000-officer LAPD.

Bustamante’s oversight role drew more attention in recent years as the Police Commission intensified its efforts to reduce shootings by officers. Findings by his office helped influence the commission’s decisions to revamp training and LAPD policy — including one that requires officers to attempt to de-escalate tensions in potentially violent situations — as the panel tried to drive down the number of police shootings.

Matt Johnson, the commission’s president, said Bustamante’s work led to “tangible improvements to policing in Los Angeles.”

“Alex shaped the Office of the Inspector General into a national model, and redefined what civilian oversight can and should be at a time when the nation’s attention is intensely focused on police accountability,” Johnson said.

In a statement, Bustamante said he was “honored and excited” to return to the UC system, where he earned his bachelor’s degree from Berkeley.

“I look forward to ensuring UC’s compliance systems are unequaled within academia,” he said.

Johnson said the Police Commission would work with the city’s Personnel Department to ensure that the search for Bustamante’s successor is thorough. He said he hoped to have the next inspector general in place within 90 days, but stressed that it was “essential” to find the right person for the job.

If necessary, he said, the commission would consider putting an assistant inspector general in the role until the search was complete.

”Finding the right successor is more important than finding one quickly,” Johnson said.

kate.mather@latimes.com

Twitter: @katemather


UPDATES:

4:05 p.m.: This story was updated with comments from Matt Johnson, the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission.

This story was originally published at 2:35 p.m.

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