Finally Hohman put down the phone and pointed his finger at Bosch. He was up. He was quickly shuttled into a corner office with a view of Union Station and the surrounding train yards. It was a decent view but not a great one. It didn't matter because the place was coming down soon. The department would move into temporary offices while a new and modern police headquarters was rebuilt on the same spot. The current headquarters was known as the Glass House by the rank and file, supposedly because there were no secrets kept inside. Bosch wondered what the next place would become known as. The chief of police was behind a large desk signing papers. Without looking up from this work he told Bosch to have a seat in front of the desk. Within thirty seconds the chief signed his last document and looked up at Bosch. He smiled.
"I wanted to meet you and welcome you back to the department."
His voice was marked by an eastern accent. De-paht-ment.
This was fine with Bosch. In L.A. everybody was from somewhere else. Or so it seemed. It was both the strength and the weakness of the city.
"It is good to be back," Bosch said.
"You understand that you are here at my pleasure."
It wasn't a question.
"Yes sir, I do."
"Obviously, I checked you out extensively before approving your return. I had concerns about your . . . shall we say style, but ultimately your talent won the day. You can also thank your partner, Kizmin Rider, for her lobbying effort. She's a good officer and I trust her. She trusts you."
"I have already thanked her but I will do it again."
"I know it has been less than three years since you retired but let me assure you, Detective Bosch, that the department you have rejoined is not the department you left." "I understand that."
"I hope so. You know about the consent decree?"
Just after Bosch had left the department the previous chief had been forced to agree to a series of reforms in order to head off a federal takeover of the LAPD following an FBI investigation into wholesale corruption, violence and civil rights violations within the ranks. The current chief had to carry out the agreement or he would end up taking orders from the FBI. From the chief down to the lowliest boot, nobody wanted that. "Yes," Bosch said. "I've read about it."
"Good. I'm glad you have kept yourself informed. And I am happy to report that despite what you may read in the Times, we are making great strides and we want to keep that momentum. We are also trying to update the department in terms of technology. We are pushing forward in community policing. We are doing a lot of good things, Detective Bosch, much of which can be undone in the eyes of the community if we resort to old ways. Do you understand what I am telling you?"
"I think so."
Copyright © 2005 by Hieronymus, Inc.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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