Before retiring last winter from the Culver City Police Dept., former acting assistant chief Allen Azran assayed his relationship with Ted Cooke, the most controversial chief in department history.
For a decade and a half, Mr. Azran took the chief’s unique orders.
“Ted Cooke was – especially now, looking back – I would say Ted Cooke was a visionary,” Mr. Azran said.
Speaking with deliberation, as is his manner, each word by Mr. Azran was carefully carved.
“Ted Cooke really did for this city what maybe no one else could have done.
“I say that because, if you go back to when Ted Cooke became chief (arriving from the LAPD in the mid-1970s), the Culver City Police Dept. was very small, 50 or 60 officers.
“Culver City,” Mr. Azran said, “was a very high-crime town.
“The differences in crime stats between 1980 and 2000 are staggering.
“So Ted Cooke came to Culver City with a certain philosophy and style. All that we learned were the style and philosophy of Ted Cooke, which was pro-active policing.”
Mr. Azran said that Chief Cooke would use terms “like ‘fishing in the right pond, meaning not wasting your time.
“‘Be familiar with where the crimes are occurring and then look for criminal activity in those areas.’”
Mr. Azran said that principles of Chief Cooke’s crime-fighting “were ingrained in us.
“‘Don’t do things just because you can. Do things that make sense.’
“Amazingly visionary if you think about it,” and Mr. Azran accented each syllable.
(To be continued)