Seeking reappointment, LAPD Chief Moore says he may stay only two or three more years
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Monday that, if appointed for a second term as the city’s top cop, he would serve for two or three years before turning the department over to a new chief ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games.
In an interview with the Times, Moore said he wanted more time to finish the job he started when he took over the department in 2018, echoing a letter he sent to the Los Angeles Police Commission late last month formally requesting reappointment. The board has begun a review of the chief’s performance to decide whether to offer him another five-year term.
Moore expressed a desire to continue reforms on use of force and diversity but said he wanted to avoid a “haphazard” transition in the build-up to the Olympics, which would start soon after a full second term would expire. He said he would spend the next few years laying the groundwork for a succession plan in the department’s upper echelons.
“Succession planning is obviously meant to provide for consistency, anticipated needs and capabilities and delivery that the public can trust,” he said. “It’s such a critical role, and, in my view, it would be inappropriate for me to stay.”
Staying on the job an extra two or three years would carry no pension benefits, said Moore, who controversially retired from the department before his appointment as chief and collected a lump-sum retirement payment from the city of $1.27 million.
Moore’s potential reappointment has come under scrutiny in the days after Los Angeles Police Commission President William Briggs II said the board would vote on Moore’s request at its meeting Tuesday — prompting a public backlash that the process was rushed.
Briggs later backtracked, saying in a statement that the board had tabled the vote for a second Moore term at the behest of Mayor Karen Bass. The commission will discuss the matter in private at its virtual meeting Tuesday and has set aside a period for public comment.
Melina Abdullah — a professor at Cal State L.A., co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and prominent LAPD critic — said the public declarations of support for Moore by two commission members give the impression that his appointment has already been decided.
She called on Bass to extend the reappointment process to allow public input, “rather than them going into back rooms.”
“Instead of them getting into a room with a [Commissioner] Steve Soboroff and a Commissioner Briggs and Michel Moore, she should really engage with people in the community and ask them what they want,” Abdullah said, referring to Bass. She added that for real change, the city needs a chief “who is invested in real public safety beyond policing and understands that that means spending money in other areas.”
“We sometimes have short memories, but I want to remind folks of the detonation of those explosives in South L.A,” she said, referring to an incident in the summer of 2021 in which members of the LAPD bomb squad destroyed part of a neighborhood by exploding a stash of illegal fireworks. The episode was one in a series that has brought harm to Black and Latino neighborhoods, she said.
At the same time, she said, Moore hasn’t done nearly enough to root out what she sees as a legacy of anti-Black racism and violence within the LAPD, which has had a series of high-profile killings of Black people in recent years.
Moore soundly rejected the characterization of his department by some critics as being the most “murderous” in the country, saying the number of deadly encounters has declined as the LAPD tightened its use-of-force policy and improved officer training.
“During that period of time, rather than pulling back and going into some isolation, we continued doing our reforms,” he said.
Last year, the department had 31 shootings, 14 of which were fatal, down from 37 shootings in 2021.
In the new year, LAPD officers shot and killed two people within two days. In a third case, Keenan Anderson died Tuesday after officers used a Taser on him while trying to arrest him in Venice. Anderson’s family has called for the release of body-camera video of the encounter and plans to conduct an independent autopsy.
Moore said the department has embraced many of the reforms that emerged in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including expanding community outreach efforts and placing new limits on pretextual stops that “in my view, undermined public trust and confidence but also added little merit from a law enforcement standpoint.”
The LAPD has gotten more diverse under his watch, Moore said. He also defended his record of promoting female officers, a view shared by some within the department, saying the reality is that fewer women nationwide are going into law enforcement.
Throughout his tenure as top cop, Moore has generally enjoyed the backing of the city’s political establishment, especially former Mayor Eric Garcetti. Commissioner Soboroff, one of Bass’ political allies, has also signaled his support for Moore, saying the chief “understands community policing and police reform better than any chief in America.”
But Bass offered a more tepid response when asked about the possibility of bringing Moore back for another term, saying she wanted to evaluate him first. Before her election, Bass said her vision for accountability and transparency starts at the top with Moore, whom she has known for years and with whom she worked on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act when she was a member of Congress.
Last month, Moore sent an email to the board of the nonprofit Los Angeles Police Foundation, which raises money for the LAPD, suggesting that he had Bass’ “full support” as he sought reappointment. He later apologized for the comments after being contacted by The Times.
An aide to Bass said at the time that the mayor had not made a decision on the chief’s future.
Bass has kept mostly quiet in recent days on whether she wants Moore to serve another term. The two leaders met Monday, and Bass laid out her public safety priorities, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting.
The City Charter gives the five-member commission the authority to reappoint a police chief. The commission, whose members are selected by the mayor, is currently made up of appointees of Garcetti, who left office last month.
Bass has not yet nominated her own set of police commissioners, focusing instead in her first weeks in office on the issue of homelessness. In a brief statement Monday, she said she and Moore “will continue to have conversations regarding her vision of public safety and the future of the L.A. Police Department.”
Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, who was recently reappointed as head of the city’s public safety committee, was not available for comment, a spokesman said Monday.
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