Deputy Police Chief Matthew V. Hunt, an Irish-born officer who rose through the ranks to become a finalist for Los Angeles' chief of police, announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this month after 31 years with the department.
Hunt, commanding officer of operations in the department's South Bureau, made headlines last year as a top contender for the post vacated by the retirement of Daryl F. Gates.
Although the job eventually went to Willie L. Williams, Hunt, 62, was a favorite even among those pushing for the appointment of a black chief, in part because of his years of service in South-Central. "He's more of a human being as opposed to a cop," former Police Commissioner Melanie Lomax said at the time.
Commander Art Lopez, assistant commanding officer of the South Bureau, said the staff was "kind of but not really" surprised by the news of Hunt's retirement. Lopez noted that Hunt would be retiring on a high note, "after the successful preparations for the verdicts" in the Rodney G. King federal civil rights trial.
Hunt has commanded the 1,283 officers of the South Bureau for about two years, and he also has more than 300 civilian workers under his command, Lopez said.