Big-City Police Chief Departures: End Of An Era?


Do departures of police chiefs in Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, and Seattle signal that an important era in U.S. policing is nearing an end? USA Today raises that question but provides no clear answer. Resigned L.A. Chief William Bratton says, “It’s a time of great transition.”

The chiefs who are leaving extended their tenure beyond the average of about 3½ years, says Geoff Alpert, a criminal justice professor at the University of South Carolina. The personnel changes come at a critical time in local policing, says Samuel Walker, a criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska. He says cities are taking a larger role in the national counterterrorism strategy and absorbing deep budget cuts to reintegrating veterans returning to the ranks from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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