|Birth: ||Aug. 30, 1926|
Los Angeles County
|Death: ||Apr. 16, 2010|
Los Angeles Police Chief. As head of the LAPD from 1978 to 1992, his tenure was marked by controversy. Raised in Glendale, California under poor circumstances, he gained an initial negative impression of the police after observing officers' treatment of his alcoholic father. Gates had his own brush with the law at 16 when he punched a policeman who had given him a ticket (he apologized, and was not charged). He went on to graduate from Franklin High School and then joined the US Navy, where he saw action in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he attended Pasadena City College, and was a pre-law student at USC when his wife's pregnancy created the necessity for a steady paycheck. He joined the LAPD in 1949, and was perhaps set on the path to leadership by his assignment as a driver for the legendary Chief Bill Parker. Gates' advancement was steady. As a lieutenant, he served as Parker's Executive Officer, and was an inspector involved in investigation of the Manson Family and Hillside Strangler cases. He was an early proponent of the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team concept, though he was always careful to point out that he invented neither the idea nor the equipment, giving due credit to Officer John Nelson. Promoted to Chief on March 28, 1978, Gates partnered with the Rotary Clubs to promote Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programs, and greatly enlarged the force, though he acknowledged that rapid expansion caused him to accept some marginal applicants. An opponent of "community policing", he believed that officers should mix with citizens no more than necessary, leading to what some perceived as a heavy-handed policy for dealing with drug abuse and gang violence. The bluntly outspoken Gates had multiple conflicts with Mayor Tom Bradley and the City Council, and contended with charges of racism against his department, fueled by growing racial tensions within the city and by questionable statements he sometimes made about minorities. The situation came to a head with the Rodney King case of 1991 and 1992. The acquittal of four LAPD officers charged with the beating of King touched off six days of rioting (April 29 to May 4, 1992) that caused 53 deaths and $1 billion in property damage. Fallout from the civil unrest forced Gates' resignation on June 28, 1992. He then worked as a consultant to a developer of police video games, was briefly a radio talk show host, and was in the private security business. His autobiography, "Chief: My Life in the LAPD", was published in 1992. He died of bladder cancer. (bio by: Bob Hufford)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Apr 18, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51289276
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