Saying detectives need a champion, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton has chosen Cmdr. James McMurray his deputy chief in charge of detectives.
A 34-year veteran of the force who most recently has headed the department's internal affairs division, McMurray is one of the few top commanders to rise through the detective ranks.
Streamlining the LAPD's investigative function is a key goal for Bratton, who has said he is concerned that the 1,500 LAPD detectives make up 20% of the department but make only 2% of the arrests.
Bratton has said he also wants detectives to be more involved in interrogations and wants more detectives working nights and weekends. He has expressed surprise that many LAPD divisions have only one or two overnight detectives, despite the fact that most violent crime occurs between 10 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Monday.
It will be McMurray's job to oversee those changes in the coming months while helping coordinate specialists and anti-gang detective functions with division-level investigators. He must also meld detectives, who have traditionally been isolated from the rest of the department, with other department specialists and patrol officers.
McMurray, 58, joined the LAPD in 1969 and the command staff in 1989 as a patrol captain, heading up the Newton and Rampart divisions. A year later, he became the commanding officer in charge of Juvenile Division, with responsibility for investigating physical abuse, sexual exploitation and narcotics violations involving children.
He served as captain of the Van Nuys Area Division in 1994, where he oversaw 325 sworn and civilian employees.
Rising to commander, McMurray was in put in charge of the LAPD Detective Services Group, with 600 sworn and civilian personnel.