Scores of police officers and community members gathered Thursday afternoon at the Los Angeles Police Department Northeast Area Community Station to bid farewell to Capt. Bill Murphy following his promotion in late February to the post of commander.
The station’s senior-most officer led the LAPD’s Northeast division for nearly five years, helping turn it into the city’s top station in everything from violent crime reduction to a striking social media strategy that has become the talk of the entire police force.
“He came here as a man of character and is leaving as a man of character,” LAPD Central Bureau Deputy Chief José Perez, whose command extends over the Northeast as well as the Rampart areas, said in a brief speech during the farewell ceremony, referring to Murphy.
The Boston-born commander’s successor, Jeff Bert, will have “big shoes to fill,” Perez added, but he's “up to the job.”
Thursday was Murphy’s last day at the Northeast station. On Saturday, he will begin his new assignment as the commander of the LAPD’s personnel and training, including the Police Academy. Murphy will be based at the LAPD headquarters downtown.
Murphy received glowing tributes from a host of speakers, including City Council members Ed Reyes, who will be termed out this year, and Tom LaBonge. An official from the office of Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif), who represents the sprawling and recently redrawn 34th District stretching from downtown Los Angeles to the neighborhoods of Huntington Park and Bell Gardens, presented Murphy with a certificate of recognition for his outstanding service to the community.
In a short speech at the end of the hour-long ceremony, following a sumptuous barbecue lunch, Murphy praised the Northeast community as the best he's encountered in his career with the LAPD. The reason, he said, is that Northeast L.A. has always been "community oriented."
Members of the Northeast Area’s Community Police Advisory Board, who met with Murphy monthly to discuss crime statistics and crime reduction strategies, presented him with a gigantic greeting card whose symbolism was underlined by this farewell message printed inside:
“If you wanted a smaller card you should have done something less impressive.”