Los Angeles deputy police chief Earl Paysinger was his final hours working in L.A.’s killing fields, says Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. Since 1976, this blood-stained stretch has suffered 100,000 shootings and 7,000 murders. “That’s more than some war-torn centers of the world,” says Paysinger, who has watched too many innocent bystanders and children get cut down. Chief William Bratton has named Paysinger chief of operations for the department. In a profile of Paysinger, Lopez says it’s not uncommon for him to work 12 hours or longer, get home late, field calls from his supervisors half the night and still roll out of bed at 4 a.m. to start the next day. He reads the L.A. Times and the Wall Street Journal, goes to the gym and punches in by 7. “I absolutely love every day of it,” he says.
“We’ve come a long way since the way things were when I started,” Paysinger says, but “there’s an enormous amount” of work remaining, including the “molecular reconstruction” of the way cops think.The new way to do business, he says, is to “dare to stick your hand out, whether someone takes it or not.” Without pastors, parents, activists and business leaders on their side, the cops don’t stand a chance, says Lopez. Paysinger gets angry, dejected and overwhelmed when he travels through the neighborhood late at night and sees children as young as 6 and 8 wandering the streets. “You want to herd them up, because you know something bad’s going to happen,” says Paysinger, whose other instinct is to go find the parents and throttle them.