Asian and Pacific Islander American community leaders, friends, family and colleagues joined Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa on the Los Angeles Police Academy Field yesterday morning as the Department’s highest-ranking Asian American police officer, Terry S. Hara, was officially promoted to Deputy Chief. Deputy Chief Hara is the first ever Asian Pacific Islander American in the history of the Department to achieve the rank of Deputy Chief, and will serve as Commanding Officer of Operation West Bureau.
The prestigious and culturally rich ceremony was presided by actress Tamlyn Tomita (The Karate Kid Part II, The Joy Luck Club, 24) whose father was a former LAPD sergeant, and featured greetings by LAPD officers in the various Asian Pacific Islander languages spoken at the Department. Police Commission President Anthony Pacheco and Commissioner John Mack were present and commended Deputy Chief Hara. Also in attendance to congratulate Deputy Chief Hara were Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Dennis Zine and Councilmember Bill Rosendahl.
Chief Bratton stated that it was his privilege to make this promotion and he expects Deputy Chief Hara to make West Bureau the safest it has been. Chief Bratton committed that, during his tenure, “there will be no glass ceilings left in the Department.” He affirmed, "there will be no problem in accomplishing this as there is no shortage of extraordinary talent in the LAPD ranks.”
Deputy Chief Hara’s children proudly looked on as their mother, Gayle Hara, pinned the badge on her husband. Deputy Chief Hara said he is proud to serve the community and is honored to be a role model to other officers in showing them they, too, have the opportunity to promote and grow.
When Deputy Chief Hara joined the Department in 1980, there were approximately 60 Asian Pacific Islander officers. Today, there are more than 750 Asian Pacific Islander officers. The LAPD aggressively pursues Asian Pacific Islander candidates in an effort to cultivate a Department which reflects the communities it serves. In order to boost recruitment efforts and to showcase the Department’s Asian Pacific Islander officers, the LAPD has also partnered with the nation’s leading Asian language television station, LA 18/KSCI-TV, in providing vital public safety information to the Asian Pacific Islander community in their own native language.