LAPD Chief Michel Moore to step down at end of February

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore announces
LAPD Chief Michel Moore announces his retirement at a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced Friday that he will step down as head of the LAPD at the end of February, with city and department officials expected soon to begin the process of finding a new leader to take over one of the most challenging jobs in law enforcement.

At a news conference with Mayor Karen Bass, Moore said he was proud of his career at the department and choked back tears.

“During my tenure, I know I’ve made mistakes and missteps,” Moore said. “But I’m also confident that my work has seen success across a broad spectrum of topics unmatched by any other law enforcement agency in this country.”


Bass praised Moore and thanked him for his work, saying he made the decision to leave recently.

“Chief Moore let me know that his timeline was moving up to spend more time with his family,” Bass said. “This means, of course, that the police commission will have to appoint an interim chief and a nationwide search will be conducted now because his timeline was moved up and that was unexpected.”

Bass said she had asked Moore to “serve in a consulting capacity to assist an interim chief,” and that he had agreed to the offer.

Moore has endured a series of department controversies in recent months, including a string of officer misconduct incidents and a whistleblower complaint that alleged that two detectives were ordered to investigate Bass shortly after her election. Moore vehemently denied the allegations.

Before his reappointment in January 2023 to a second five-year term as the city’s top cop, Moore said he would serve for two or three years before turning the department over to a new chief ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games.

Moore said at the time he wanted more time to finish the job he started when he took over the department in 2018. Moore said he wanted to continue reforms on use of force and diversity and avoid a “haphazard” transition before the Olympics, which are set to start soon after his full second term would have expired. He said he would spend the next few years laying the groundwork for a succession plan.


At Friday’s news conference, Bass said that Moore approached her last month to discuss his future. He expressed an interest in moving with his wife to be closer to their daughter. Bass said Moore’s consulting role would be “very important” for the department.

An interim chief to fill in for Moore will likely be chosen by the Police Commission.

“It has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve for more than four decades on the finest police department in the world and for the last 5½ years as chief,” Moore said. “Some six years ago, when the opportunity to seek the position of chief of police occurred, I was filled with excitement, humility and a genuine belief that my leadership and ability to serve the people of this great city as well as the members of this department were there.”

Bass reappointed Moore to a second five-year term over the concern of critics who argued that the scope of scandals that have plagued the department during his tenure reflected a poor track record for any leader.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, right, and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, right, and LAPD Chief Michel Moore at Friday’s news conference.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Moore’s backers say the department has embraced reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other flash points from 2020, including expanding community outreach efforts and placing new limits on pretextual traffic stops that Moore said “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 has also defended his record of promoting female officers, pointing out a series of recent appointments of female officials, including one to deputy chief.


The latest LAPD data indicate that crime is trending downward, and Moore had enjoyed the public support of Bass and the Police Commission. Bass praised Moore as coming up with innovative strategies in response to a post-pandemic crime spike in crime, and said he acted to quell follow-home robberies.

Former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that Moore had had a “great career” and “did a very difficult job very well.”

In recent months, though, the department has been roiled by allegations that one of Moore’s assistant chiefs surreptitiously tracked an officer with whom he’d been romantically involved, and by a scandal involving gang unit officers suspected of thefts and illegal stops.

The episodes renewed questions about management and oversight of the nation’s third-largest police department.

Then last month, two detectives in the LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division filed complaints alleging they were ordered to investigate Bass, possibly at Moore’s behest. The claims are being investigated by the inspector general’s office.

Moore denied the allegations, telling The Times: “I have no such knowledge of any alleged investigation nor would I initiate any such investigation.”


The 63-year-old Moore secured the police chief’s job in 2018 after nearly four decades with the LAPD, rising through the ranks and becoming known for his statistics-driven policing approach. He was at the helm at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a marked rise in violent crimes and homicides in L.A.

Art Acevedo, former head of the Major Cities Chiefs Assn., who led departments in Austin, Texas, Houston and Miami, said Moore’s retirement would be “well deserved.”

“The work he has done in Los Angeles when it comes to best practices in policing is important,” Acevedo said, noting that Moore, like his predecessor, Beck, has kept the door open to other departments and shared the knowledge for the betterment of policing nationwide.

Moore pledged a more compassionate approach to policing following his appointment by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Early in his tenure, he weathered severe criticism for his handling of mass demonstrations in Los Angeles over the deaths of Floyd and other Black Americans killed in police custody. Officers were repeatedly accused of using heavy-handed tactics against protesters who took to the streets.

Moore has also faced the challenge of running a department that is several hundred officers short of its allotted strength of 9,500 officers, a gap that made it harder to keep police on the streets.

Bass, who took office in December 2022 after campaigning on the promise of bringing more police accountability and transparency, said previously she believed Moore shared her desire to see the department improve its recruitment of “reform-minded” officers and change how it responds to calls involving the mentally ill.


But Moore’s leadership has come into question as several of his top commanders and closest confidantes have become caught up in scandals. One assistant chief retired under a cloud of suspicion, after being caught having sex with a subordinate in a government car.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, center, and Mayor Karen Bass, right,
LAPD Chief Michel Moore was appointed to a five-tear term by Mayor Karen Bass, but he will retire at the end of February.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Another LAPD captain was found to have leaked confidential details of a sex crime victim and her police report to the alleged perpetrator, then CBS head Les Moonves.

In 2022, a jury awarded a female Los Angeles police commander $4 million in damages for a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city over a nude photograph that was doctored to look like her and shared around the department.

In 2021, a botched fireworks explosion by the department’s bomb squad leveled a South L.A. neighborhood. Moore faced withering criticism over the incident. Last July, he issued a statement promising to improve the department.

“This neighborhood is resilient, and we will continue the work of repairing our relationship with this community we have sworn to protect and serve,” Moore said at the time. A number of lawsuits and claims have been filed against the city by residents whose homes were badly damaged.


Times legal affairs reporter Kevin Rector contributed to this report.