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Joe Domanick

Can the LAPD's Charlie Beck be “A Chief For His Time?”

In many ways, the six- year tenure of Charlie Beck as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been a triumph. In October, Beck went to the White House with 130 other law enforcement leaders to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the future of criminal justice, and it was Beck who was chosen to speak with the president on the group's behalf. Today, under the leadership of Beck and his mentor and predecessor, William J. Bratton, […]


Comey's Bid to Silence Cop Critics Is Disgraceful–and Wrong

FBI Director James Comey disgraced himself last week when he claimed that criticisms of the police over the past year have contributed to the rise in violent crime. He added, in his October 23 speech at the University of Chicago, that he had no evidence to support this statement. Of course he doesn't have any. There is no evidence. Comey's claim sends absolutely the wrong message to the country. Without saying so directly, the message is: If you criticize the […]


Fear and Loathing in the LAPD

The transformation of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the past two decades from a once-feared “occupation” force into a community-conscious law enforcement agency is one of the country's most riveting stories. Award-winning author Joe Domanick's critically acclaimed new book, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, raises the question of whether the reforms begun by Chief Bill Bratton, and continued by his successor Charlie Beck, have changed the behavior of rank-and-file cops—and whether LA's experience […]



Before Ferguson, it seemed a puzzle. Since the early 1990s, crime in the United States had fallen sharply. Yet public opinions of the police had not improved. Minorities in particular continued to take a critical view of police trustworthiness and fairness, despite the fact that minority communities benefited most from the crime decline. What, asked the small number of police officers and academics who puzzled over such things, was going on? Post-Ferguson, minority skepticism seems a lot less puzzling. Increased […]


The LAPD and the End of Charlie Beck’s Honeymoon

By the summer of 2014, Charlie Beck should have been cakewalking on the road to being rehired for a second term as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). But it didn’t turn out that way. Instead, his reputation as a straight-shooting, stand-up guy with a sharp instinct for getting the right things done in the right way took a big hit—about which more shortly. But for most of his first five years as chief, that reputation had been […]


Bratton: 'No Quick Fix' for Oakland PD

Last month, the Bratton Group released a report on its “findings and recommendations” for reforming the Oakland Police Department's structure, tactics and deployment to make it more effective in preventing and reducing crime. Oakland PD Chief Howard Jordan had resigned a day earlier. The report was commissioned at a time when Oakland was among the most violent U.S. cities. The Bratton Group is headed by William Bratton, who served from 2002 to 2009 as chief of the Los Angeles Police […]