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Manhattan Beach Fire Chief Let Go Following Remarks

Jun 20, 2020 09:49AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The city of Manhattan Beach has fired Fire Chief Daryn Drum over a series of controversial remarks he made, the city announced on Friday night.

In a statement, Manhattan Beach City Manager Bruce Moe said that Drum was served a notice of termination and been relieved of his duties at the Manhattan Beach Fire Department.

“We need thoughtful leaders offering voices that are open and inclusive. Chief Drum’s recent comments do not reflect our core values as a city, and an immediate change of Fire Department leadership is in the community’s best interests,” stated City Manager Bruce Moe.

According to the statement, the city learned of controversial comments made by Drum in public settings on separate occasions over the past week.

During a meeting of regional public safety officials, Drum is said to have used the analogy of "not taking our foot off their throat" a number of times when referring to negotiations with an external vendor. The city provided a link to a portion of that meeting.

In addition, Moe cited remarks that Drum made during a local podcast regarding police interactions and civil unrest.

Moe did not highlight the specific remarks within the podcast. However, during a portion of the podcast, Drum referred to an episode of civil unrest following an officer-involved shooting that occurred in an agency where he had previously worked.

"In my humble opinion it was a 100 percent legitimate shooting" that "was portrayed in the media poorly," said Drum on the podcast.

Drum continued: “Chief Abell and I have had the conversation that previously, that you know, you’re one good shooting away from civil unrest, and now, it’s changed to - you’re one violent interaction, and the officer often times doesn’t control the level of violence that comes with that interaction, the person that they’re in contact with is really the one in control. If you comply, there’s no violence. If you respond with violence, then the officer has no choice. So with social media and the cameras, they're one violent interaction - regardless of whether it was appropriate or not - away from civil unrest."

Police Chief Derrick Abell will temporarily serve as Acting Fire Chief along with his current responsibilities, as he did prior to Chief Drum's hiring in April 2019.

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