Echo Park and Silver Lake will start the new year with a shakeup in law enforcement as two long-time senior lead officers take retirement. Senior Lead Officers Bobby Hill, who covers Echo Park and Elysian Valley, will retire in January after nearly 30 years with the department, while Al Polehonki, who covers Silver Lake and Franklin Hills, will follow suit in February after working more than 30 years with the LAPD , said Capt. Will Murphy with the Northeast Division. Other officers will fill in for Hill and Polehonki while the process of finding permanent replacements begins for positions that Murphy considers “critical” for neighborhood policing.
The LAPD’s Senior Lead Officers act as the neighborhood cop, keeping an eye on very local crime trends and serving as the main contact between residents and the department.
There is always a chance that Murphy’s request to find permanent replacements for the two senior lead positions won’t be approved by the department, leaving him down two officers. But Murphy said he is counting on the popularity of senior lead officers among residents and city council staff to help him get the go ahead and start the competitive selection process to fill the two positions.
However, that process could take several months to complete. In the meantime, temporary senior lead officers will be assigned to Echo Park and Silver Lake. “The positions won’t remain vacant,” said Murphy. “They will be filled by others with similar experience.”
In addition to neighborhood crime fighting, Hill, the Echo Park senior lead officer, also made a name for himself last year after the city agreed to pay him $4 million to settle a harassment lawsuit against the LAPD.