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Koenig Selected as Director of Police Commission

Times Staff Writers

Cmdr. Dan Koenig was named executive director Tuesday of the Los Angeles Police Commission, the five-member board that provides civilian oversight for the LAPD.

Koenig, a 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department known as a knowledgeable and capable administrator who helped oversee recent department reforms, was selected unanimously.

“The executive director is as important as the selection of the chief,” said Police Commission President Rick Caruso. “You always want to hire people that are smarter than you are, and he’s a textbook at this place.”

Koenig, 54, helped to found the DARE antidrug program and wrote LAPD reports for the Mark Fuhrman task force after the O.J. Simpson trial and for the Board of Inquiry into the Rampart police scandal.

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“I look forward to this new assignment, and as a lifelong resident of the city of Los Angeles, I’m just thrilled to be asked to assist in this manner,” said Koenig, commanding officer of the Administrative Services group.

“It’s a good day for the Police Commission, it’s a good day for the LAPD,” said Chief William J. Bratton. “No one understands policy issues from a historical perspective better than Dan.”

In recent years, under the leadership of Caruso, a natty real estate developer known for his direct style, the commission has shown a flair for independence from the LAPD brass, particularly former Chief Bernard C. Parks, who was not offered a second term.

Jeffrey Eglash, the commission’s former inspector, said Koenig would be independent.

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“He is a good choice. In my experience as inspector general,” Eglash said, “as a commander in the LAPD, he was as receptive and supportive of a civilian oversight as anyone in the Police Department, and in many ways he stood out.”

Koenig brings to the job experience as the LAPD’s former point person for the implementation of a package of reforms negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice after the Rampart scandal.

Koenig will work with a board whose five members serve part time without pay and must deal with dozens of policy decisions weekly as well as review officer-involved shootings.

With a salary of up to $138,000, Koenig will oversee about 100 officers and civilians responsible for verifying that LAPD practices are in compliance with commission policies, as well as issuing permits for everything from massage parlors to marches to firearms sellers.

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Koenig replaces Joseph A. Gunn, a longtime City Hall insider and ex-LAPD commander. Gunn was a key player in the commission’s decision to deny Parks a second term, to sharply restrict police pursuits, and to curb police response to false burglar alarms.

One of Koenig’s first tasks will be to heal rifts with some council members that emerged as the commission has struggled with the alarm question.

Koenig served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy before he joined the LAPD. He served as officer in the anti-terrorism unit, as a gang enforcement coordinator and oversaw a Hollywood vice unit. Department officials said he was one of the early advocates of community policing.


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