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LaChasse on permanent Burbank police chief appointment: I'm 'delighted'

April 11, 2013
  • Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse talks the media at a holiday season press conference.
Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse talks the media at… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

Scott LaChasse’s “three-year job interview” has come to an end.

Burbank’s interim police chief — brought to the helm three years ago of a department plagued by allegations of excessive force, discrimination and sexual harassment — was made permanent, effective immediately, officials announced Wednesday.

LaChasse on Wednesday said he was “delighted” with the offer, adding that the new title legitimizes the position and will allow him to continue — and finish — what he came to do.

When he started, LaChasse was charged with stabilizing the culture of the department, which according to a police-commissioned 2010 report, was beset by a “mutual disrespect and distrust” among personnel.

The department is still the subject of a years-long federal investigation into allegations of excessive use of force and misconduct among officers. In recent months, the department has continued to comply with subpoenas tied to the probe, LaChasse said.

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During his tenure, the law enforcement veteran instituted several reforms, including strengthening internal affairs investigation procedures, improving officer training and creating contemporary use of force policies and review procedures, said interim City Manager Ken Pulskamp, who made the decision to appoint LaChasse permanently.

The news came just hours after Tuesday’s general election, but Pulskamp said the move had been in the works for a while.

“Really since the day I got here, I’ve been sizing up Scott,” Pulskamp said. “He’s essentially had a three-year job interview — he’s come through with flying colors.”

In September, former City Manager Mike Flad suspended the search for a permanent chief after officials and community members said it was nonsensical to hire a replacement at the time given that Flad was leaving his Burbank post to assume the same role in South Gate.

But Pulskamp, who’s been filling in temporarily since December, is also on his way out. Officials expect to pick a new city manager in June, and Pulskamp said he doesn’t intend to apply.

But Pulskamp also said waiting for a new city manager would likely have delayed hiring a permanent police chief by more than a year. And spending resources on recruitment was unnecessary “when we had somebody who was being so effective,” he said.

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