How many people applied to be LAPD chief? Details on the hiring process remain secret

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 7, 2024: Dominic H. Choi has been named new LAPD interim chief at City Hall on February 7, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. Mayor Karen Bass is on the left.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
Dominic Choi is named interim chief of the LAPD on Feb. 7 at City Hall. Mayor Karen Bass is at left. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

For the record:
4:59 p.m. July 10, 2024: An earlier version of this article said Robert Arcos left the LAPD as a deputy chief. He was an assistant chief.

Interviews for the position of Los Angeles Police Department chief began weeks ago, but city officials have not said exactly how many candidates have applied.

In response to an inquiry by The Times, the Police Commission confirmed only that there were "more than 25" candidates from across the country. It declined to comment further.

Two sources familiar with the recruitment process, who were not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity, said the actual number is in the mid 30s.

During previous chief searches, the city has been more transparent about the process. The names of those applying are occasionally withheld to protect the identities of those who are working as chief in other cities, but the commission has historically released the number of applicants for one of the most high-profile jobs in law enforcement. For example, the last chief's search drew 31.

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Mayor Karen Bass will hire the next chief, choosing from nominees provided by the commission and an outside hiring firm. The deadline to apply closed late last month; initial interviews with candidates started a few days later.

The city initially said the hire would be finalized by late August or early September, but that timeline, now in question, could stretch later into the fall.

Those who have confirmed to The Times that they have applied or intended to apply include Assistant Chief Blake Chow, who oversees LAPD special operations; Deputy Chief Emada Tingirides, commanding officer of the department’s South Bureau; Deputy Chief Donald Graham, who heads the Transit Services Bureau; and Robert Arcos, a former LAPD assistant chief who works for the district attorney’s office.

Art Acevedo, who has served as police chief in Houston and Miami, is considered a serious contender; former police leaders from New York City and Seattle are also said to have applied.

The search began with the February retirement of former Chief Michel Moore. One of his former assistant chiefs, Dominic Choi, was picked as interim leader. Moore has stayed on as a consultant on the chief’s search, and Choi has said he will not seek the job permanently.

The job is one of the toughest in law enforcement, experts say.

Read more: Who should be the next LAPD chief? Public shrugs as city asks for input

LAPD chiefs have a national voice in shaping public safety policy and face daunting challenges at home. Violent crime like homicides and robberies are up from this time last year; the number of shootings by officers has also increased, raising concerns from the Police Commission.

A job description released by the Northern California firm hired to run the search said the ideal candidate is forward-thinking and “driven to implement best policing practices to reduce crime and increase community trust, including supporting alternative response models.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.