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Harry Bosch's life has intersected with a number of Police Chiefs during his lifetime. When Bosch's mother, Marjorie Lowe, was murdered in 1961, the Chief was the legendary William H. Parker who served from 1950 to 1966. He is the longest-serving Chief in L.A. history and probably would have served even longer, but he died of a heart attack while still in office. After his death the City Council named the old police headquarters in his honor.The low point of his career was probably the Watts Riots of 1965.

By the time Bosch started with the department in 1972, the Chief was Edward M. Davis who retired in 1978.  He was replaced for a three month period by Interim Chief Robert F. Rock. Daryl Gates was then hired and served from 1978 to 1992. Gates had started with the LAPD in 1949 and worked his way up through the ranks. His tenure as Chief was the second-longest in LAPD history. Thus, the majority of Bosch's early career was under Chief Gates. After the Rodney King riots, Gates retired and was replaced by Willie Williams who was supposed to clean up the mess after the riots. He was not entirely successful.

When Williams' contract was not renewed, Bayan Lewis served as Interim Chief for four months. Bernard Parks was then hired in 1997. During Parks' term as Chief, the infamous Ramparts Scandal erupted, severely damaging the reputation of the LAPD. Parks could not survive the scandal, and his contract was not renewed in 2002. Parks may have served as a model for Irvin Irving in some ways. He was also a lifelong LAPD cop, starting in 1965 and working his way up through the ranks. When his contract was not renewed, he ran for City Council and won. As a City Council member he frequently clashed with the Police Department. Bosch retired for the first time shortly before the end of Parks' term.

Yet another Interim Chief was hired, Martin Pomeroy, who served for five months in 2002. During Pomeroy's tenure he warned Bosch (via Kiz Rider) that he should back off his investigation into the death of Angella Benton. Pomeroy was succeeded by William Bratton who was often the target of Council Member Parks' criticism. Bosch, on the other hand, had lots of good things to say about his Chief in this time period, especially because Bratton allowed him to return to the department in 2004. In the Acknowledgements to The Narrows, The Closers, and Nine DragonsConnelly gave special thanks to Chief Bratton. He is the only Chief mentioned in this way.

When Bratton retired in 2009, Michael Downing served as Interim Chief for only two weeks. The City Council then appointed Charles "Charlie" Beck as Chief, a position he continues to hold today. Like Gates and Parks, Beck has served in the LAPD his entire career, starting in 1977. This made Bosch and Beck contemporaries in the department.

There is at least one confusing reference to the Police Chiefs in Bosch's stories. In October 2011 when he was directed to lead the investigation into the death of George Irving, the Chief called him and said, "Harry, it's Marty." This would appear to refer to Interim Chief Pomeroy, but he was long gone by 2011. In 2012 this is clarified when Bosch discusses Chief Martin Maycock (fictitious).  

By 2014 the Chief was Gregory Malins (fictitious). He had come up through the ranks at the same time as Bosch, but they had taken very different paths. 

The actual Chief of Police from 2011 to the present is the current incumbent, Charlie Beck. 

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