The longest-serving police chief in California, Ted Cooke, has retired after 27 years heading the Culver City Police Department in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Times reports. The newspaper says that 71, always kept a distance, not just from his officers, but from most of the people he encountered in his career.
Cook may be remembered for having hired a disgraced Los Angeles Police Department officer after the Rodney King beating and for issuing permits for concealed weapons to celebrities. His unconventional attitude toward other law enforcement agencies has drawn praise and criticism.
In 1994, Cooke hired former LAPD Officer Timothy Wind. Wind could find no redemption for his involvement in the 1991 beating of Rodney King – despite three acquittals, Cooke hired Wind as a community relations officer – an unarmed position – and defended Wind’s actions. “I felt that I didn’t see any reason not to give him a new job,” Cooke said. “A guy’s got to work and provide for his family.”
Cooke was criticized for being the only police chief in Los Angeles County to deny the district attorney access to departmental investigations of officer-involved shootings. “I think it’s important for the public to have confidence that, when the police officer is using deadly force, they’re doing it in a legal fashion,” said Richard Doyle, head deputy of the district attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division. “It’s very gratifying to know…. In Culver City, we don’t know.”