LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — in his 39 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, Chief Michel Moore says he has never faced a bigger challenge in his career than the one in front of him now.
“I know in policing that you’re never going to satisfy anyone,” he said.
Moore said that, in addition to the work needed to address complaints from the public, there was a lot of work to do within the rank-and-file of the department.
“Our people are hurt, they’re tired,” he said. “They’re emotionally drained, they’re in fear of their safety on a number of levels and how, as a chief, do I work with them to recognize it, acknowledge it and also pave a path forward.”
And that path forward is what Moore said he was going to emphasize, instead of progress and improvements that have been made in the past.
“The public right now is not in a position that it wants to hear what we’ve done,” he said. “They’re in a position of wanting to hear what we’re going to do.”
And while he said he would love to have the up to $150 million proposed to be cut from the LAPD’s budget, he said that he understood that the city could not afford it.
However, he said, additional cuts would be devastating and would force the department to stop hiring — cutting its workforce by 600 police officers and nearly 300 civilian workers.
“Those, I don’t think, are in the best interest of the city,” he said.
But he said he supported efforts to dispatch non-LAPD personnel for calls pertaining to mental health and homelessness.
“I’m not only OK with it, we’ve been asking for it,” Moore said. “How do we get there? We can’t get there quickly enough.”
As for the recent spate of civil unrest the city has seen, the chief said the department was fast-tracking investigations into complaints of excessive use of force by officers against protesters.
“My commitment to do the right thing is because the public deserves nothing less,” he said.
Though he pushed back against criticism from Washington that the department lost control of the city — allowing looting and vandalism — pointing to a statistic from the 1992 uprising.
“Sixty-three people in LA were murdered in the civil unrest of 1992,” he said. “That number was zero on the days [of unrest earlier this month].”
Ultimately, Moore said he will continue working t0 improve the department.
“I do this for the love of this organization, it’s why you do your job,” he said. “I’m stubborn. There’s a poster in my office it speaks about the people who are crazy enough to think they’ll change the world are the ones that do.”