The News Behind the news:
Willie Williams LAPD’s First Political Police Chief (1943-2016).
In this interview Williams describes the political issues he faced during his first year as head of the Los Angeles Police Department and was recorded one year after he became Chief. He was the first Chief to be an LAPD outsider as former Philadelphia Police Commissioner. Williams succumbed to cancer the last week of April 2016. Read more below…....
Watch the Program:
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Appointed After 1992 Riots and Charter Reform
Williams was appointed in 1994 by LA’s first African-American Mayor Tom Bradley, himself a former LAPD Lieutenant who was Mayor for 20 years and active in Democratic politics. He was roundly criticized for his role in handling the Rodney King Riots of 1992. Bradley campaigned for City Charter Reform Proposition “F” to make the LAPD Chief a political appointee, exempt from civil service protections. Critics warned of the danger posed by police policy manipulation should a new Mayor’s political agenda take priority over public safety, the rule of law and the law enforcement process.
Proposition “F” and Political Consequences?
Ironically, following Republican Mayor Richard Riordan’s election, his appointed police commissioners denied Chief Williams a second 5-year term, replacing him with Bernard Parks a long time LAPD insider who worked his way up through LAPD ranks. But as fate would have it Parks too was denied a second 5-year term by the next Mayor James Hahn who had promised the police union a 3/12 work week (3 days on 12 days off). Although creating hardships in the organization it became a political mandate for the administration.
“Trail Blazer” and “Guinea Pig”
According to the L A Times Willie Williams described his role as Chief in Los Angeles as a “Trail Blazer” and a “guinea pig”. Indeed, he was first of four new Chiefs to test the consequences of Proposition “F” and the politicizing of law enforcement policies.
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