LOS ANGELES -- The nationwide hunt for L.A.'s next police chief has narrowed to a handful of contenders who have deep ties to the Los Angeles Police Department, setting the stage for another insider to likely get the job.
The Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD, began conducting closed-door interviews Wednesday morning, a source familiar with the process confirmed.
The source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the confidential search, confirmed that the list of candidates being interviewed includes LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore, Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, Deputy Chief Phil Tingirides and former Assistant Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur.
But more than four interviews would take place Wednesday, the source said.
The interviews mark a key step in the months-long search for the next LAPD chief, and signal that the Police Commission will likely offer Mayor Eric Garcetti its list of top-three candidates well ahead of schedule. Chief Charlie Beck retires June 27; commissioners have said they hoped to give Garcetti their list around June 1.
Thirty-one people applied for the job. Beck, along with some police commissioners, have said they believe a department insider -- or someone who recently left the LAPD -- would be the strongest candidate.
Selecting Beck's replacement will be one of the most closely watched decisions made by Garcetti -- one laced with sensitive matters of race and gender, and ever-present concerns about crime rates, now heightened by the mayor's potential presidential bid. Garcetti will select the chief from the list of candidates narrowed down by the Police Commission.
The commissioners embarked on a citywide listening tour earlier this year, soliciting input at community meetings, City Hall and in smaller, more private settings. During the public forums, many residents and elected officials emphasized the importance of hiring someone who is familiar with L.A.'s diverse neighborhoods and can relate to the people who live there. It was also important, some said, for the next chief to understand the history of the city's still-evolving relationship with the police.
The next LAPD chief will have to confront some of the most intractable problems facing the city and policing overall, including ongoing concerns over how officers use force, a sharp rise in homelessness, allegations of racial profiling, a stubborn uptick in crime and friction with a White House angry at the city's "sanctuary" policies that limit cooperation with immigration agents.
Beck, who followed his father's footsteps in joining the LAPD and forged a career that spanned four decades, announced in January that he would step down before the end of his second, and final, five-year term. The speculation over his successor began almost immediately.
Moore, a longtime LAPD veteran and one of three assistant chiefs, leads the department's Office of Operations, which oversees the majority of officers and their response to crime.
Arcos heads the LAPD's Central Bureau, ground zero for two of the most pressing issues facing the department and the city: addressing homelessness and reducing fear among immigrants.
Tingirides is in charge of the department's South Bureau, where he has earned the respect of many residents who know him on a first-name basis.
MacArthur, who retired in 2015, spent 35 years at the LAPD, where she helped implement reforms required by the consent decree and focused on officer training.
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