Remembering Daryl Gates
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Daryl Gates this morning in his home in Dana Point at age 83. He had been suffering with bladder cancer that had spread to a bone in his hip. Friends alerted me to the fact that hospice had been called in within the past few days. You can read the Wikipedia entry on Daryl HERE.
A GREAT GUY
I knew Daryl through my best friend, Larry Moore, a 31-year LAPD officer before retiring. The Daryl Gates I knew was a great guy, a great cop and a great leader.
A "COP'S COP"
News accounts of Daryl's passing describe him as "controversial", "a disturbing symbol of stagnation" and "combative", which is not surprising. Those who knew him and worked for him have a much different view. They found him to be an excellent leader, a good friend and a man unafraid of taking on the politicians. They describe him as "a cop's cop" for good reason.
Daryl is credited with creating innovative policing tactics and programs, among them Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT), Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH). These programs thrive today and became models for other police departments around the world.
MY FRIEND'S CHAMPION
The last time I saw Daryl was on a drizzly, overcast morning in Glendale at the funeral of my friend, Larry Moore. Daryl had been one of Larry's biggest champions as he did his job as Athletic Director at the Los Angeles Police Academy, near Dodger Stadium. After the service he took the time to seek me out, offer condolences and chat for several minutes about our friend.
RETIRED UNDER A CLOUD
Daryl retired in the wake of the Rodney King riots and was replaced - very inadequately - by Willie Williams, who was more a token appointment than a real police chief. The contrast between Gates and Williams could not have been more stark. Williams was held in such low regard by the rank and file that I saw him described by a member of the command staff while making a retirement speech during his tenure as a "400 pound park ranger". That referred to the fact that he couldn't pass the firearm test required by all LAPD officers to carry a gun so the City Council at the time had to give him special permission to carry a weapon. His contract wasn't renewed when it expired after five years, but the morale damage to the department persisted until Bill Bratton was appointed to the job several years, and several chiefs, later.
I will always remember Daryl Gates, a fellow Franklin Panther, as a fine man, honest to his convictions and loyal to his officers and the city they served. I will remember Daryl Gates as a friend.