Thursday, October 25, 2012

Former LAPD Pat Gannon Named To Run Airports

Former LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon Who Headed the South Bureau Scores Top Job As Los Angeles World Airports Police Commander

By Diana L. Chapman

Former LAPD Deputy Chief Pat Gannon, who didn't want to retire from the Los Angeles police after 34 years but did so due to a pension plan he agreed to in his younger years, was named the top commander of Los Angeles World Airport's police division, officials announced Thursday.

Gannon, 56, who retired from the Los Angeles police department in August, immediately applied for the head post vying against dozens of other law enforcement candidates.

In his new post, Gannon will lead the fourth largest enforcement agency in the county and head Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT), Van Nuys general aviation (VNY) as well as aviation property in Palmdale. He will also be in charge of 1,100 police and security personnel whose duties include dealing with counter-terrorism, police patrols, protection of dignitaries, criminal investigations and explosives detection, according to officials.

"I just want to say that I am honored to be Chief of Police at the Los Angeles World Airports," Gannon said. "I have much to learn about the complexity of airport operations but I look forward to working with the 1,100 officers and security personnel you are entrusted in keeping the airport and the traveling public safe," Gannon emailed. "In addition, I am also confident that I can use my experiences, and the relationships I have made over the years, to help develop effective partnerships at the federal, state and local level.

"This coordination is key in the overall safety to the airport.

He won't be on the job for some time while he was goes through some training 
and receives several top-level clearances, he said.

Gannon might have been partly hired to smooth out decades of tensions that have existed between LAPD and LAX police officers who challenged each other jurisdictional rules and other issues. Gannon brings tremendous insight to the innerworkings of the LAPD that may allow for old wounds to be healed and new measures to be applied that may make amends of past situations.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa applauded Gannon's hiring.

"I am thrilled that Pat Gannon will be the next chief of the Angeles Airport Police," the mayor said in a released statement. "Pat served the Los Angeles Police Department with distinction for 34 years and supervised over 1,700 employees. He understands policing, homeland security, and understands the importance of policing while serving the interests of the community. The Los Angeles Airport Police are fortunate to have such a distinguished law enforcement expert to be its next chief."

Newly elected Councilman Joe Buscaino, who serves CD-15 and replaced Janice Hahn, worked under Gannon as a senior lead officer and became an LAPD officer because of Gannon's influence 15 years ago.

"As a 15-year veteran of the LAPD, and member of the Public Safety Committee and the Trade Commerce and Tourism Committee, I can say with complete confidence that Pat Gannon is the right person for this job," Buscaino said. "With over three decades of experience in the LAPD, Pat's leadership of the Airport Police will ensure LAX, LA/Ontario and Van Nuys airports will be safe, secure and prepared to confront the modern security challenges of the 21st century."

As a management leader, Gannon tended to be popular with the communities he served because he often consulted with residents and worked with them side-by-side to fight crime. When he left the LAPD, the deputy chief headed  its Operations-South Bureau serving 800,000 residents.

In addition to Gannon, the airport agency also appointed Michael T. Hyams as the new deputy chief of airport police.