A deputy police chief who was once a finalist to head the Long Beach Police Department was reduced to the rank of commander last week, city officials said.
Charles W. Clark, deputy chief of the Executive Operations Bureau heading the 650-officer department's Internal Affairs, Training and Community Affairs divisions, was demoted effective Saturday, Assistant City Manager John Shirey said.
The decision "was given a lot of long thought," Shirey said, adding that he could not comment further. Police officials also refused to discuss reasons for the demotion. Clark, who was at home on sick leave, had no comment.
Clark was among three final candidates to head the department two years ago when Police Chief Charles Ussery retired. Clark competed against Cmdr. Jerome Lance and Lawrence L. Binkley, who at the time was a commander with the Los Angeles Police Department. Binkley won the job.
Although the Internal Affairs Division investigates officers for alleged wrongdoing, Clark is generally considered popular with many rank-and-file officers. "He's straightforward," said Mike White, a board member of the Long Beach Police Officers Assn. "He's honest and people respect that."
Clark also personally headed the department's initial investigation into assertions of impropriety by a fellow deputy chief, David Dusenbury. Officer Jack O'Neil said he was interviewed twice by Clark. Dusenbury was absolved after a three-week investigation by a private investigator, who was hired by the city manager. Shirey said Clark's demotion was unrelated to any investigations of other officers.