Former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates died Friday morning after a long fight with bladder cancer.
The 83-year old former leader of the nation’s second largest police forces was credited with instituting the SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team approach to crisis situation and starting the DARE (Drug Awareness Resistance Education) programs to stem the growing number of youth involved with illegal substances.
He joined LAPD in 1949 and for a short time, served as a driver for Chief William Parker. He became chief in 1978 and held that position for 14 years.
Gates resigned after the 1992 riots, sparked by the not guilty judgments of four officers involved in the Rodney King beating from the previous year.
Another casualty of the King verdict and its aftermath was Susan Clemmers, one of the first officers on the scene of the King beating and a defense witness for the officers in both their criminal and civil trials. On July 6, 2009, Klemmers walked into the lobby of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station and committed suicide.