The nationwide hunt for L.A.'s next police chief has narrowed to a handful of contenders who have deep ties to the Los Angeles Police Department, likely setting the stage for a department veteran to get the job, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD, began conducting closed-door interviews Wednesday morning, a source familiar with the process confirmed.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the confidential search and requested anonymity, confirmed that the list of candidates being interviewed includes LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore, Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, Deputy Chief Phil Tingirides, and former Assistant Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur.

Another source, who also requested anonymity, said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott was also scheduled to be interviewed.

The interviews mark a key step in the months-long search for the next LAPD chief and indicate that the Police Commission will probably send Mayor Eric Garcetti its top three candidates well ahead of schedule. Chief Charlie Beck retires June 27; commissioners have said they hoped to give Garcetti their list around June 1.