Cook Restoring Order to LBPD

Interim Long Beach Chief Randy Cook is honoring former Chief Mark Dunston's order to inactivate the department's STAR team. STAR stands for Special Tactics and Response. It was formed after two officers were killed responding to a domestic dispute in 1999. Cook says the team had good intentions...but he says officers don't need to be so heavily armed. "I think every patrol officer carrying an M-16 or a submachine gun is a little bit more fire power than we need in the City of Long Beach. That's not saying we don't need it at a point in time but I don't think every patrol officer oughta be carryin' a fully automatic weapon." Cook says at this time he is refusing requests to reactivate the team. "We will take a look at it, develop a threat assessement for the City of Long Beach and then we'll go from there as to what we'll train for," he says.

Along with those concerns, Cook has also ordered the evidence room to be closed. This after he found a hole in the ceiling that hasn't been fixed since last year. All evidence in felony cases is now stored in a vault at the county jail. "It has some misdemeanor evidence still in it. Our best, my best advice and the mayor has gone along with it along with District Attorney Caranna is to just close the vault down and it's not a vault it's just a closet, a large closet."

Despite problems, Cook has nothing but words of praise for the department's men and women, whom Cook says need better pay. "More than 19-thousand dollars a year. This department has 25 of the most dedicated rank and file officers I've ever worked with because for what little bit they're bein' paid the city gets a big bang for the buck." And that's why Cook is willing to buck the system until turning over the reigns to the next chief.