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The Honorable Bernard Parks

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Information about The Honorable Bernard Parks

Profile image of The Honorable Bernard Parks

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Police Chief
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream, Chili Beans
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1943
Birth Location:
Beaumont, Texas

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Police Chief
City Council Member

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream, Chili Beans
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1943
Birth Location:
Beaumont
See how The Honorable Bernard Parks is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Los Angeles city councilman Bernard Parks was born in Beaumont, Texas, on December 7, 1943; his family moved to Los Angeles while Parks was still young. While attending Holy Spirit High School, Parks played football and served as the class president. After graduating from high school, Parks attended Los Angeles City College from 1961 until 1963 before being hired at General Motors. Parks then enrolled in Los Angeles’ police academy, and in February of 1965, was sworn in as an officer at a time that police cruisers were being desegregated.

Parks was promoted to sergeant in 1970. That same year, Parks also began attending Pepperdine University, where he earned his B.S. degree in 1976 in public management, and simultaneously earned his M.A. degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. While attending college, Parks was promoted to lieutenant, and in 1977, became a captain with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). By 1980, Parks was serving as commander, and in 1988, he was named deputy chief of police for Los Angeles. In 1992, Parks became assistant chief of police; two years later, following an institutional reorganization, Parks returned to the role of deputy chief. In August of 1997, Parks was named Los Angeles chief of police, a position he held until 2002.

In his various executive roles with the police department, Parks was responsible for overseeing task forces on anti-terrorism, internal affairs, and organized crime. As chief of police, Parks overhauled of the department, initiating a community policing network; he also worked to stem corruption within the LAPD, sending former police officers to jail for gross violations of the law. During his tenure as chief of police, crime in Los Angeles fell by thirty-five percent.

After leaving the police department, Parks successfully ran in 2002 for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council. While serving in this office, Parks worked to modernize the Los Angeles International Airport and to bring the National Football League back to Los Angeles.

Parks is a member of several local, statewide and national law enforcement organizations, as well as a founding member of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation, which aims to foster growth and understanding between black police officers and their communities. Parks is an accomplished speaker and is widely considered to be an authority on criminal justice issues.

See how The Honorable Bernard Parks is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Bernard Parks' interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his father and paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks contemplates how his parents might have met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his father's life in Los Angeles, California and career in law enforcement
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks details the integration of black policemen into the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his parents' reactions to racism in their workplaces
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls growing up in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Bernard Parks lists his siblings and cousins with whom he grew up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the neighborhood in which he grew up in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his family and the daily routines of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls his childhood activities, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls his childhood activities, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls moving to the West Side of Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his father's talent for building things
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks lists mentors and impactful people from his life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls playing football for St. John Vianney High School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his social life as a student at St. John Vianney High School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his aspirations and interests at St. John Vianney High School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his years following his high school graduation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his father's law enforcement career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains his decision to join the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Bernard Parks remembers learning about the extent of racial divisions while in the Los Angeles police academy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Bernard Parks comments on tensions between police and the black community in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the Los Angeles Police Department killing of Leonard Deadwyler in 1966
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Bernard Parks' interview, session 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains why he decided to become an officer of the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the racial biases that were part of the examination process for joining the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains how police were viewed by black people in Los Angeles, California and attempts to remove corruption from the department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about how the Los Angeles Police Department served as a model for reforming other police departments
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about de facto segregation within the Los Angeles Police Department, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about de facto segregation within the Los Angeles Police Department, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the biggest challenges he faced as a police officer in the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about pressures from the black community and the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his promotions and how he prepared for them
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the educational backgrounds common for police offers in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his promotion to sergeant
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes community issues affecting the Los Angeles Police Department of the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls the general perception of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. within the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls reactions within the Los Angeles Police Department to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about mistreatment of the public by police officers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects upon police officers' reactions to criticism from minority communities
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about completing his college education while working for the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains his promotions within the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the accountability he tried to instill as he rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the late Los Angeles, California Mayor Tom Bradley
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the history of community policing and its deterioration in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes misconceptions about methods of community policing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the need for policing to involve crime prevention and education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about obstacles to promotion within the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his efforts to strengthen relations between the Los Angeles Police Department and communities it serves
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks remembers his and other police officials' response to the 1992 Rodney King beating
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the Rampart scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about the Rampart scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of the Honorable Bernard Parks' interview, session 3
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about Daryl Gates' tenure as Los Angeles, California chief of police
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks remembers his reaction to the 1992 Rodney King beating
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the role of the police in the criminal justice system
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains his position on keeping records on officers' use of force
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the process of selecting the chief of police in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks explains how Daryl Gates was selected as chief of police in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about Willie Williams' tenure as chief of police in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his priorities after his 1997 appointment as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes how he reformed accountability processes for officers in the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls the creation of the LAPD Cold Case Homicide Unit its role in solving the Grim Sleeper serial killer case
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls the Rampart scandal
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the outcome of investigating corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart Division
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes the aftermath of the United States Department of Justice's consent decree for the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects upon the public's various responses to his handling of the Rampart scandal
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recounts former Los Angeles, California mayor James K. Hahn's decision not to rehire him as chief of police
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects on the need for institutionalizing reforms within the Los Angeles Police Department
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks recalls his election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2002
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes programming he created as a representative for Council District 8 in Los Angeles, California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - The Honorable Bernard Parks programming he created as a representative for Council District 8 in Los Angeles, California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about issues faced by his constituents in Council District 8 of Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his plans to retire
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - The Honorable Bernard Parks outlines his philosophy of public service
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects upon the 2008 presidential election of HistoryMaker The Honorable Barack Obama
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - The Honorable Bernard Parks reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - The Honorable Bernard Parks talks about his family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - The Honorable Bernard Parks describes how he would like to be remembered