In the first of what are expected to be many departures from the top levels of the Los Angeles Police Department, Assistant Chief David Gascon announced Thursday that he is leaving the force after 31 years.
Best known as the face of the department during the murder investigation of O.J. Simpson, Gascon appeared before a gathering of several dozen department officials, including new Chief William J. Bratton.
"He has served this organization honorably," Bratton said. "He has seen the best of times, the worst of times. He has helped to position the department to move beyond the worst of times."
Gascon's announcement comes days after Bratton dressed down top commanders at a staff meeting, insisting on absolute loyalty to his vision for the LAPD, including top-to-bottom reform and open exchange of information with the public and media.
Gascon, 53, was one of three assistant chiefs who served under former Chief Bernard C. Parks and was widely expected to be replaced if he stayed in the LAPD. Bratton told top brass this week that he planned to make a historic number of promotions because of many anticipated retirements.
Gascon said he intends to continue teaching part time at UCLA, work with nonprofit agencies and develop entertainment-related projects.