As he prepares to leave office, Los Angles Police Chief William Bratton is battling the City Council in an effort to protect what is considered among his most important legacies: increasing the size of the police department, reports the Los Angeles Times. Bratton plans to address the council Tuesday in an attempt to dissuade it from following through on a proposal to halt hiring of new officers and suspend the department’s recruiting efforts until January. The proposal, which has gained considerable support in the last week, is aimed at helping to close the $405-million budget shortfall facing the city.
The suggestion that the city can save money by shrinking the Police Department hits a raw nerve with Bratton, who steps down at the end of the month. During his seven years on the job, he has pushed relentlessly to add officers to the department. Those additional cops, the chief has said, have played a large role in the department’s success in reducing crime and improving community relations. Bratton’s rhetoric has irritated some council members, who argue that he fails to recognize the severity of Los Angeles’ financial crisis. “Which part of ‘We can’t afford to continue hiring’ doesn’t he get?” Councilwoman Jan Perry said.