Mayor Karen Bass swears-in Dominic Choi as interim chief of LAPD

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The top of a police ar

By JOSE HERRERA
City News Service

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Karen Bass swore in Dominic Choi on March 1 as the interim chief of Los Angeles Police Department, the first Asian American to hold the position.

The ceremony at LAPD headquarters took place just a day after former Chief Michel Moore, who was in attendance at the March 1 morning event, formally retired.

“The number one job of mayor is to keep Angelenos safe, and it is my honor to be here today, as we swear-in Dominic Choi as interim chief of police, as we work to do just that: keep Los Angeles safe,” Bass said.

After Choi was sworn in, his father pinned his new badge on his uniform.

“For me, today marks more than just a personal achievement — it symbolizes the progress that we’re making towards a more inclusive and representative law enforcement agency,” Choi said. “And it speaks volumes about the diversity that this city has — the vibrance and the dynamics that we all know it to be. And as we celebrate this milestone, let us recognize that our differences are our strength.”

On the afternoon of March 1, hundreds of uniformed and civilian LAPD employees gathered outside the department’s downtown headquarters and formed an Honor Cordon, saluting and cheering as Moore exited the building for the final time as chief. The Honor Cordon is considered one of the department’s highest tributes.
Moore said he plans to move away from Los Angeles to be closer to his daughter, though he will retain a consultant role with the city.

The Board of Police Commissioners selected Assistant Chief Choi as the interim chief of police, and he took on the role shortly after 8 a.m. on March 1, when he was formally sworn in as the department’s 58th chief.

Among those scheduled to attend the event were City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto, City Council President Paul Krekorian, Council members Traci Park, John Lee, Tim McOsker and Imelda Padilla.

Richard Tefank, executive director of the Board of Police Commissioners was also scheduled to be in attendance, as well as Carlos De La Guerra, managing senior assistant city attorney, Erich King, legislative director for Lee’s office, Matt Szabo, the city’s administrative officer, and Joe Buscaino, former City Council member.

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi was raised locally and began his career with the LAPD in 1995 after earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting from USC.

He was promoted to detective at the LAPD’s Harbor Division in 2001, to sergeant in the 77th Street area in 2002, lieutenant in 2009 and captain in 2014. In December 2017, he was promoted to commander and assigned to the Operations-Central Bureau. He was also appointed as the Department’s homeless coordinator and remained in that position until July 2019.

He became deputy chief in August 2019 and assistant chief in July 2021.

In January, Choi was appointed director of the Office of Operations, responsible for South Bureau Homicide Division, LAX Field Services Division, the Department Homeless Coordinator, Operations-Central Bureau, Operations-South Bureau, Operations-West Bureau and Operations-Valley Bureau.

Choi is married with three children.

According to LAPD, Choi’s leadership will mark a “pivotal” chapter in the LAPD’s journey, reflecting a dedication to inclusivity, community engagement and effective law enforcement practices.

In an early February news conference Choi said his priority will be to maintain stability in the department as the city continues its search for the new chief of police, as well as focusing on bolstering the LAPD’s ranks.

Choi also confirmed he would not apply to fill the position permanently, following rules that the commissioners established in their search for an interim chief.

Bass and the Board of Police Commissioners are to continue a nationwide search for the next chief of police who will lead the department through world events coming to the L.A. region, such as the 2026 World Cup and 2028 Olympics.

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