Subject Matter Expert
Los Angeles Police Department (retired)
Dennis Kato recently retired from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) after serving for over 32 years. His last assignment was as the commanding officer of Operations-South Bureau (OSB) where he oversaw the operations of four of the busiest community police stations in the City of Los Angeles.
Deputy Chief Kato began his law enforcement career when he entered the Los Angeles Police Department Academy in May 1987. After graduating from the Academy, he was assigned to Pacific Area for his probationary period where he worked in patrol and on the Beach Detail. Upon completing probation, he was transferred to 77th Street where he worked a variety of assignments in patrol, gangs and vice.
In January 1995, he was promoted to the rank of Detective and investigated burglaries, assaults, and domestic violence incidents at Southwest Area. He was also an investigator in the Newton Area-Field Enforcement Section of Narcotic’s Group and conducted homicide investigations at the Asian Crimes Investigations Section of Detective Support Section. Five years later, in April 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and was assigned to Harbor Area Patrol and eventually became the Officer in Charge of the Harbor Area Vice Unit. He was promoted to Lieutenant in July 2003 and was assigned to Southeast Area Patrol as a watch commander. Shortly thereafter, he was selected to be the adjutant to the Deputy Chief of Operations-South Bureau and then was assigned to oversee the gang enforcement efforts in South Bureau as the Bureau Gang Coordinator. He has also worked as the Adjutant to the Deputy Chief of Special Operations Bureau, OWB and Incident Management and Training Bureau.
He promoted to Captain in November 2007 and was assigned to 77th Street Division where he oversaw the day-to-day patrol operations in the Department’s largest Community Police Station. In July 2008, Kato was assigned to Metropolitan Division, as the Assistant Commanding Officer and one year later was elevated to the Commanding Officer of Metropolitan Division. He oversaw the operation of the Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, K-9 Unit, Mounted Unit, Crime Suppression Platoons and the Underwater Dive Unit. In January 2010, Kato was moved back to 77th Street Area as the Area Commanding Officer. He oversaw the entire operation of the Department’s largest and busiest Community Police Stations with over 400 sworn officers to manage.
In December 2012, Kato was promoted to the rank of Commander and assigned to OWB as the Assistant Commanding Officer. In 2015, Kato was assigned to the Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games organizing committee to oversee the security planning for the Games. The Special Olympics World Games hosted approximately 10,000 athletes from the around the world.
In March of 2016, after seeing a significant increase in the number of shootings and homicides, Kato was selected to create and oversee the Community Safety Operations Center (CSOC). Through the use of data analysis, the CSOC developed and coordinated crime fighting strategies for the four most violent stations in the City. During daily conference calls with the station commanding officers and their Bureau chiefs, the CSOC evaluated recent crime and evaluated the effectiveness of their strategies. By the end of the summer of 2016, the incidents of homicides and shooting victims had been dramatically reduced. In April 2, 2017, Chief Charlie Beck promoted Kato to the rank of Deputy Chief.
Deputy Chief Kato was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1959. He was raised in the city of Montebello where he graduated from Montebello High School in 1977. He received his Associate of Arts degree from East Los Angeles College and his Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Studies from the California State University at Long Beach.
Deputy Chief Kato is a resident of Torrance, California, where he lives with his wife and two sons.