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LOS ANGELES

Redondo Police Get New Chief

September 05, 2002|JEAN MERL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Redondo Beach reached outside the city for a new Police Department leader, on Wednesday announcing the hiring of former Long Beach Chief Robert M. Luman.

After retiring from a 32-year career in Long Beach, Luman served for several months in 2000 as interim chief in Riverside, where the department was trying to recover from fallout from the 1998 police killing of a young black woman who had passed out in her car.

In announcing his appointment of Luman to the $132,780-a-year post, Redondo Beach City Manager Lou Garcia cited the new chief's "sterling reputation as a policeman and as an innovative police executive."

Luman, 55, will start his new job Monday. Over three decades with the Long Beach department, he served in nearly every role, beginning as a patrol and juvenile officer in 1968 and moving through the ranks with duties that included leader of the SWAT team, acting commander of special investigations and deputy chief.

In 1996, four years after the city manager fired Chief Lawrence Binkley, Luman, who had earned a reputation as a reformer and a builder of community trust, got the department's top job and held it until his retirement three years later.

Riverside, trying to turn around its department after the shooting of 19-year-old Tyisha Miller brought national outrage and a probe by the U.S. attorney's office, soon coaxed Luman out of retirement.

He was widely credited with stabilizing the department and implementing reforms during his eight months as interim chief.

Garcia said he also considered Capt. Steve Murdoch, saying he had done a "fine job" as acting chief since Mel Nichols' retirement last year, and was a "great policeman with a long, distinguished career of service to the department and the community." But Garcia said he opted ultimately for Luman's "broad experience."

The department's 108 sworn personnel and 81 other employees serve an ethnically and economically diverse city of about 63,000.

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