Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore announced his retirement on January 12, 2024, marking the end of a significant era in one of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies. Moore’s tenure, which began in 2018, has been characterized by several tumultuous events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread protests over racial injustice, and intensified scrutiny over police use of excessive force and civilian killings.
Moore’s departure was unexpected, particularly since he was reappointed last year for a second five-year term. Despite stating he did not plan to serve the full term, the announcement of his retirement came as a surprise.
Challenges and Criticisms During Moore’s Tenure
- Response to George Floyd Protests: Moore’s leadership was notably tested during the protests following George Floyd’s murder in 2020. The LAPD faced severe criticism for its handling of the demonstrations. An independent report lambasted the department for its outdated tactics and failure to implement reforms promised after previous incidents of mishandled protests. The protests in LA, while mostly peaceful, had instances of violence and crime, leading to injuries, accusations of rights violations, and several lawsuits against the police. More than 100 officers were reported injured, and many businesses suffered damages or looting.
- Controversial Incidents: Moore’s tenure also witnessed incidents that sparked significant controversy. One notable incident was the fatal shooting of Mely Corado, an innocent bystander, during a standoff at a Trader Joe’s in 2018. This incident, among others, led to criticism of Moore’s leadership and the department’s approach to conflict situations.
- Debate Over Proposition 47: Moore’s time as chief coincided with ongoing debates over Proposition 47, passed by California voters in 2014. This proposition reclassified certain felony theft offenses as misdemeanors, leading to arguments about its impact on crime rates, particularly concerning a surge in smash-and-grab robberies. While critics blamed the proposition for increasing crime, supporters argued that it did not prevent prosecution of shoplifting and petty theft.
Legacy and Impact
Despite the challenges, Moore is recognized for his data-driven approach and efforts to navigate the department through complex and changing policing landscapes. His tenure saw significant efforts to reconsider the use of force and implement reforms, especially in the wake of the George Floyd protests.
Moore acknowledged both his successes and failures during his tenure, highlighting the broad spectrum of issues he faced.
Transition and Future Prospects
As Moore steps down in February, he will continue to serve as a consultant while the city searches for his successor. The Board of Police Commissioners will appoint an interim chief and conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
The new leader will face the crucial task of overseeing security during the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. Moore’s departure offers an opportunity for the LAPD to continue evolving its practices and policies in response to the changing demands of public safety and community relations.
Personal Note and Conclusion
Choking up during the announcement, Moore revealed plans to move closer to his daughter out of state, describing his service in Los Angeles as a “distinct honor and privilege”. His retirement closes a chapter marked by considerable challenges and evolutions in policing, setting the stage for a new era of leadership at the LAPD