Daryl Gates, Controversial LAPD Chief, Dies at 83

Gates was at the helm during the 1992 LA Riots.

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Daryl Gates, former LAPD chief, dies at 83

Daryl F. Gates, the rookie cop who rose from driver for a legendary chief to become chief himself, leading the Los Angeles Police Department during a turbulent 14-year period that found him struggling to keep pace with a city undergoing dramatic racial and ethnic changes, has died, the LAPD announced Friday. He was 83.

The controversial chief, whose tenure ran from 1978 to 1992, spent his entire four-decade career at the LAPD, where he won national attention for innovative approaches to crime fighting and prevention: He instituted military-style SWAT teams to handle crises and the gentler DARE classroom program to prevent drug abuse. These initiatives, emulated by police departments across the United States, and other advances, such as a communications system that reduced police response times, bolstered his reputation as an exemplar of modern law enforcement. President George H.W. Bush called him an "all-American hero."

A proud emblem of progress to some, he was a disturbing symbol of stagnation to others. When the city went up in flames over the acquittal of four white officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King, he was castigated as a leader out of touch with the changing realities of the city, yet to the end he remained righteous about his authority to police it.

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