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LAPD appoints interim chief while commission searches for permanent replacement

Assistant Chief Dominic H. Choi will not be allowed to apply for the permanent chief position; Choi stated his goal is to manage a smooth transition for the department

Los Angeles Police Interim Chief

Dominic H. Choi speaks after being named interim chief of the Los Angeles Police Department at City Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, in Los Angeles. Mayor Karen Bass looks on at left. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via AP)

Gina Ferazzi/AP

By Stefanie Dazio
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Assistant Chief Dominic H. Choi was unanimously appointed by the civilian Board of Police Commissioners. Choi, the son of Korean immigrants, will be the first Asian American to head the agency when he begins his role on March 1.

“I’m very happy to be the first Korean American interim chief of the Los Angeles Police Department,” he said, “and I proudly represent that community. But just to be absolutely clear, my role is to represent all communities within this city.”

The appointment follows the surprise retirement of Chief Michel Moore.

Choi will be the interim chief as the mayor and police commission spend the next six to nine months searching for a permanent replacement — among the LAPD’s ranks and nationwide — to head up the department of nearly 9,000 officers during the 2026 World Cup and the 2028 Olympics.

Moore will stay on as a consultant for an unspecified period of time.

In taking this role, Choi is not allowed to apply for the permanent chief position. He pledged to set the stage for a smooth transition for the next person.

“My philosophy as interim chief is not to go in there and turn the place upside-down and make significant change,” he said during Wednesday’s news conference announcing his appointment.

Choi started his policing career in 1995 and was promoted in 2021 to assistant chief, which is the rank just below chief. His roles in the department have included serving as the agency’s homeless coordinator.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, applauded Choi’s promotion.

“The appointment of Assistant Chief Dominic Choi to lead the LAPD is an excellent choice that will instill confidence amongst the rank and file during this interim period while the search for a permanent Chief takes place,” the league’s board of directors wrote in a statement.