A law enforcement veteran with 25 years of management experience has been appointed to serve as interim chief of the Los Angeles World Airports police division.

Michael Hyams, who most recently served as Airport Police assistant chief, took over as interim chief Jan. 15, airport officials said. He replaces former Police Chief George Centeno, who stepped down after more than 30 years of public service.

Hyams will assume all roles and responsibilities as head of the fourth largest police agency in Los Angeles County until the conclusion of the recruitment, selection and appointment process for a permanent chief, Sgt. Belinda Nettles said.

The Airport Police division is responsible for ensuring public safety and security at LAWA’s three airports: Los Angeles International (LAX), LA/Ontario International (ONT), and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation.

Until his official retirement next month, Centeno has agreed to assist LAWA to further develop Airport Police functions in the Airport Response Coordination Center and the Airport Department Operations Center at LAX, Nettles said.

Hyams has a diverse law enforcement background, which includes 25 years of senior management and supervisory experience and nine years as a police legal advisor and professional standards expert, according to Airport Police.

He previously rose through the ranks at the Newport Beach Police Department to captain and served as division commander for Patrol, Detectives, and Support Services. He has also served as executive director of the Orange County Superior Court, leading over 300 professional civilian staff and managing a budget of approximately $81 million.

Hyams is a 1977 honor graduate of the Los Angeles Police Academy, and a 1996 graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He is a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives and earned AAAE status as an airport certified employee in security.

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