Four-and-a-half years after becoming Los Angeles Police Chief, William Bratton has found the job far more difficult than he imagined, USA Today reports. Crime and violence are down on Bratton’s watch. Gangs still grip neighborhoods with fear, racial tensions are taut and drug problems fester. By his own acknowledgement, Bratton still wrestles with the task of reforming the character and culture of a police department that continues to make headlines for excessive use of force. “Trying to get it right, get crime down and at the same time improve relations, that’s proving to be an extraordinary challenge,” Bratton says.
Bratton, 59, is probably America’s most visible cop after turns running the departments in three great cities. He is the only person to serve as chief in both New York and Los Angeles. He started policing in Boston and rose to head the force there. He expects to get a second, five-year term when his first expires in October, and would be the first chief to do so. The decision is due in July from a five-member civilian Police Commission. “I think he will get a second term and should get a second term,” said civil rights lawyer Connie Rice. “It’s going to take a while to reprogram and recode that culture. This is the first chief I’ve seen with both the capacity and will to do it.” Charles Whitebread, law professor at University of Southern California, says Bratton has “done a fairly good job” transforming the force’s culture from one of isolation from citizens.