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Kenneth Garner, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) died on Sunday morning. Sources told the Los Angeles Sentinel that he was found at his home and the apparent cause of death was a heart attack.
A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Garner had been a police officer with the LAPD for 31 years, a resident of Los Angeles and an active member of the community. As deputy chief, Garner was in charge of the Operations-South Bureau which included 77th Street (Jesse Brewer) station, Southwest, Southeast and Harbor; the significance of this position is that it included the neighborhood where Garner grew up – he was hailed as returning home to serve his community.
Garner was well known and respected in the community. He worked tirelessly to improve the relationship between the community and LAPD. Not only was he involved as an officer and a resident, he also had an adult daughter, Lauren, in whom he had immense pride. He was a past member of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation (LAPD’s African American Police officers Association), a current member of the Association of Black Enforcement Executives (ABLE) and still found time to volunteer as a coach for youth basketball, baseball and football.
Councilman Bernard C. Parks, former Chief of LAPD, who knew Garner and worked with him shared his sentiments this way, “I think it was very an unfortunate set of circumstances because he was such a young man, very talented and so much more to give to the city of L.A., and to lose him at this time is a loss to the department and the city.”
Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. the executive publisher of the Sentinel expressed his sorrow at the passing of Garner and said, “He left a big void in our community and it will take a long time, if ever, to fill the void that has been left by his passing – not only through his professionalism and his experience in the department but his friendship with the community. It’s second to nothing that we’ve seen in law enforcement.”
Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner was 53 and will be sorely missed throughout Los Angeles and the law enforcement community.