archive archive

Bratton: Police Change Must Come ‘From Within’

New York’s departing top cop says effective reforms will get nowhere unless the nation’s police leadership makes it happen. “This is a time of great opportunity,” said Bill Bratton who is ending a four-decade career as one of the country’s most influential police managers this week.


Closing Down L.A. Schools: What Just Happened?

The unprecedented decision by Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines to shut the city's more than 900 schools yesterday, has left a lot of people here in LA gap-mouthed, and wondering why over 650,000 students needed to be pulled out of school buses and sent home during rush hour, over what turned out to be an empty threat. The threat came in the form of emails to school board members, and mentioned both assault weapons and explosives, thereby […]


Can the LAPD's Charlie Beck be “A Chief For His Time?”

In many ways, the six- year tenure of Charlie Beck as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been a triumph. In October, Beck went to the White House with 130 other law enforcement leaders to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the future of criminal justice, and it was Beck who was chosen to speak with the president on the group's behalf. Today, under the leadership of Beck and his mentor and predecessor, William J. Bratton, […]


Fear and Loathing in the LAPD

The transformation of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the past two decades from a once-feared “occupation” force into a community-conscious law enforcement agency is one of the country's most riveting stories. Award-winning author Joe Domanick's critically acclaimed new book, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, raises the question of whether the reforms begun by Chief Bill Bratton, and continued by his successor Charlie Beck, have changed the behavior of rank-and-file cops—and whether LA's experience […]



Before Ferguson, it seemed a puzzle. Since the early 1990s, crime in the United States had fallen sharply. Yet public opinions of the police had not improved. Minorities in particular continued to take a critical view of police trustworthiness and fairness, despite the fact that minority communities benefited most from the crime decline. What, asked the small number of police officers and academics who puzzled over such things, was going on? Post-Ferguson, minority skepticism seems a lot less puzzling. Increased […]


Why Police Need ShotSpotter

Nearly 80 percent of the shooting incidents that occur in the United States go unreported to 9-1-1 call centers. Moreover, even when reported, the provided information generally lacks accuracy. While not all incidents result in death, the statistics expose a serious impediment to police and other law enforcement agencies. When information relating to shooting incidents is either unreported or inaccurate, law enforcement will likely fail to apprehend the suspect—thus perpetuating criminal activity and advancing societal fear. In response, a number […]


When Cops Take Their Beefs to Work

If you live in the New York metropolitan region, you’re aware that officers in the New York Police Department (NYPD) were recently engaged in an unofficial slowdown, writing fewer tickets, handing out fewer citations for so-called “quality of life” crimes, such as jumping a turnstile or drinking alcohol in public, and making fewer misdemeanor arrests. The unofficial slowdown was a response to the perception that Mayor Bill de Blasio has been disrespectful to and unsupportive of the NYPD in the […]


Bill Bratton in New York, Take Two

When a deranged black man named Ismaaiyl Brinsley killed two New York Police Department (NYPD) officers two weeks ago, he did more than take their lives. He also transformed the dynamic surrounding the effort by New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio to transform an embattled NYPD in 2014. Before the murders of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, demonstrations over police-killings of black men had created a powerful momentum both nationwide and in New […]


Can a Big Dose of Community Policing Fix ‘Stop-and-Frisk’?

The controversial “stop, question and frisk” strategy should be reviewed and refined with the principles of community policing in mind, a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute suggests. Supported by a U.S. Department of Justice grant, the report was assembled to help guide “law enforcement on how to conduct pedestrian stops in a manner that promotes crime control objectives while minimizing negative outcomes that can ultimately undermine police effectiveness.” At a program yesterday to discuss the new publication, […]