Los Angeles Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa’s first order of business was an hourlong private meeting with Police Chief William Bratton, reports the Los Angeles Times. Rumors had been circulating in New York that the popular police chief might bolt from the West Coast and run for mayor there. Villaraigosa asked Bratton to remain as chief. Not only did Bratton say yes, he told the mayor-elect that he might want to be considered for a second term when his first expires in late 2007.
“We share a common vision for the LAPD,” Villaraigosa said. “Based on the fact that we need more police officers, better technology and support for community-based police efforts to build trust.” Flashpoints ahead include Villaraigosa’s choices for the Police Commission; the current commission has been largely deferential to Bratton. Unclear is how influential Councilman Bernard Parks will be. Parks was Bratton’s predecessor – and has been a frequent department critic. After losing in the runoff, he became a Villaraigosa supporter. There is the question of whether Villaraigosa can succeed where outgoing mayor James Hahn repeatedly failed: Substantially increasing the size of the LAPD. With a wave of retirements beginning in 2007, Bratton sees a “ground zero” opportunity to promote one-third of the department’s top commanders, creating a new generation of like-minded officers who could carry his legacy forward.