Charlie Beck, the son of a police officer whose own career with the Los Angeles Police Department spanned four decades, will retire in June, ending an eight-year tenure as police chief before finishing out the remainder of his second term, the Los Angeles Times reports. Beck made the abrupt announcement, during a press conference Friday with Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss the city’s crime trends. Beck, 64, became chief in 2009, an appointee of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa who had the backing of the rank-and-file and civil rights advocates. It was the capstone of an unexpected career for Beck, who initially aspired to be a professional motocross racer before becoming a police officer.
Beck’s deep history with the LAPD — 40-plus years as an officer, two of his children and his father on the force — has influenced his often-paternalistic view of the department and its officers. He joined the department during a different era of policing, becoming an officer a year before Daryl Gates, a name reflecting the department’s hard-charging, racially charged past, became chief. Beck’s career will end at a time when officers are expected to be guardians, not warriors, and police seek strong, trusting relationships with their communities. Beck has witnessed some of the most defining moments in the LAPD’s past: the riots that erupted after the officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted, the Rampart corruption scandal, and the federal consent decree that followed. Like agencies across the nation, the LAPD has worked to reduce shootings by officers through revamped training and policies, and rolled out new technology such as body cameras in hopes of building public trust.