Bratton, “Kevlar Man,” Says He’s In L.A. To Stay

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Quashing rumors that he would leave before his term ends in 2007, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton says he’s not going anywhere for the next four years. Bratton told the Los Angeles Times: “I just bought a million-and-a-half-dollar home. I get a pension out of this place after five years that’s worth a fortune. My wife has just changed jobs. We happen to like living in Los Angeles. Why would I want to leave?”

Bratton said the LAPD would be his last big-city chief’s job when he was named by the Police Commission last October. But rumors of his departure increased after the City Council refused last month to fund his plans to reorganize the LAPD and delayed for at least eight months funding to add 320 police officers to the 9,200-member force. A second defeat came earlier this week when the Police Commission – after lobbying by Mayor James K. Hahn and the City Council – reversed course on a Bratton-backed plan to stop responding to false burglar alarms.

Bratton dubbed himself the “Kevlar man” and said he was in for the long term. Kevlar is used in bulletproof vests. “If anything, they keep adding more Kevlar plates to my body armor here,” Bratton said. “I want to get out of the alarm business, so we can put more cops on the street. They don’t want to do that. I’m fighting for more cops. They don’t want to do that. I’m fighting for reorganization to get more cops affecting the streets. They don’t want to do that.”

Bratton, who scaled back some of his plans for reducing crime after the council balked at raising the police budget, said political obstacles in L.A. only make the challenge of improving the LAPD more appealing.

Ultimately, Bratton said, he will be judged by his ability to motivate officers and reduce crime rates, which so far this year include a 20% drop in murders and a 5% decrease in overall crime.


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