Bratton Has Public, Officer Support; Needs Money


Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has failed to obtain money for additional police officers from city coffers or voters’ pocketbooks, says the Los Angeles Times. That leaves staffing levels proportionately far below those of other big-city departments. Bratton has made good – at least partially – on many of his other pledges. In Bratton’s first year as chief, the city saw a 21 percent decline in homicides. He promised a further 20 percent decline in his second year, something he has failed to deliver. In a final push to meet the goal, Bratton is curtailing training classes through December to put a 80 to 100 more officers on patrol. Michael Cherkasky, the court-appointed monitor overseeing the police department’s compliance with the Rampart scandal consent decree, said the LAPD has made substantial progress on such things as disciplining officers, documenting procedural operations, and monitoring gang unit activity. He said the department does yet have a mandated computer system for identifying rogue officers up and running.

The chief lost a fight with the City Council over funding for additional officers soon after his arrival, and his relationship with some council members is still rocky. Bratton is the first police chief in decades to have the simultaneous respect of his officers and the communities they police. “Daryl Gates related to the department, and Bernard Parks to the community. But they always chose one side or the other,” said Ramona Ripston of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and a frequent critic of the LAPD, citing two of Bratton’s predecessors. “The secret to Bratton’s success is that he understands the need to get both the public and his officers on board.”


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