New Los Angeles police commissioner sworn in

first_img A recent report from the commission found that of the 584 recruits who graduated in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, only 6 percent were African-American. And most of the LAPD command staff is white. Though the department has been aggressively reaching out to people of color and the homosexual and transgender community, Saltzman said it is often management who makes the difference. And he noted that during his time at USC, he helped diversity the student body. “From the gay guy standpoint, I am thrilled,” Councilman Bill Rosendahl said during the swearing-in. “We as gays and lesbians have problems with the Police Department.” The five-member civilian Police Commission creates policy for the department and often sets the tone for high-profile investigations, including this year’s May Day melee at MacArthur Park involving police and immigration-rights protesters. During Wednesday’s meeting, the council pressed Saltzman on everything from the rotation of top brass to whether officers should live in the city. He cautiously told council members that he still needs to familiarize himself on the ins and outs of the department and policy matters. But he said he has been pleased with how the LAPD has handled the MacArthur Park case, pointing to its recently released report that offered a frank look at officer mistakes. Prior to joining USC, Saltzman served as special counsel to the Los Angeles County health director and was a senior deputy to former county Supervisor Ed Edelman. Saltzman was appointed to the city Ethics Commission in 2005. He is a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute’s board. “He has the academic background, both personally and professionally,” said Councilman Jack Weiss, head of the council’s public safety committee. “He is all together a tried and true, very careful, very deliberate … person.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Saying diversity is still one of the most pressing problems facing the LAPD, Robert Saltzman was sworn in today as the latest Los Angeles police commissioner, vowing to help make the department reflect the community. Saltzman, 53, who was unanimously confirmed by the Los Angeles City council, will replace commissioner Shelley Freeman, an openly gay banker who left to focus on her job. She was viewed as a champion of diversity who bluntly pointed out instances of poor management in the department. A former city ethics commissioner and associate dean at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law since 1988, Saltzman is also gay and says he, too, will focus on diversifying the 9,549-officer force. “Diversifying the police force is a significant problem, perhaps the most significant problem facing the force,” he told the council. “I view it as a very long, very difficult process and for me … one of the most important, if not the most important, issues.”last_img read more