LOS ANGELES, May 4 (UPI) -- The head of internal affairs at the Los Angeles Police Department has been reassigned in a shake-up in the department's upper ranks, police officials said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times changes involving three top officers "were made to get some fresh perspectives and diversity of thought."
The most high-profile move involves Deputy Chief Mark Perez, who had run the internal affairs division -- responsible for disciplining offending officers -- for several years.
Under Perez, the department moved away from its standard increasing punishment for repeat offenders to a strategy Perez said should help reform bad behavior by cops. The number of suspensions following disciplinary charges dropped dramatically, the Times said.
More officers were let go with warnings -- and an explanation of how their actions hurt not only the department but the officers themselves.
Beck said Perez's replacement, Chief Deputy Debra McCarthy, won't dismantle the system but will work to improve it.
"I still believe in using methods that reform behavior instead of punish it," Beck said.
Perez will be the head of training for the department, replacing Chief Deputy Terry Hara, who is moving into the vacancy left by McCarthy running the department's West Bureau, overseeing precincts in Hollywood, Venice and West Los Angeles.