William J. Bratton announces he will resign as LAPD chief

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton listens as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announces Bratton's resignation. At right is John Mack, a member of the Police Commission.

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton listens as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announces Bratton's resignation. At right is John Mack, a member of the Police Commission.

His decision to leave at the end of October takes the city’s political and police leadership by surprise. During his tenure, Bratton dramatically reshaped the department and pushed down crime rates.

By Joel Rubin
5:36 PM PDT, August 5, 2009
William J. Bratton today abruptly announced his plan to resign as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to take over as head of a private security firm.

Bratton, who has dramatically reshaped the LAPD and pushed down crime rates since taking over in 2002, is expected to step down at the end of October.

Standing beside Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and John Mack, the head of the civilian board that oversees the LAPD, at a packed City Hall press conference, Bratton claimed he had accomplished what he set out to do as chief, but said it was difficult nonetheless to move on.

“There is never a good time to leave, but there is a right time,” Bratton said. “It is the right time.”

Bratton’s decision took the city’s political and police leadership by surprise. As Bratton flew back to Los Angeles on Tuesday night after finalizing the terms of his new job in New York, aides to his boss, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, said the mayor knew nothing of the planned departure.

Bratton informed the mayor of his decision to resign late Tuesday night, shortly after Villaraigosa returned on a flight from Iceland, where he had been vacationing for the last week. Villaraigosa did not provide any details of the conversation Wednesday, but a source familiar with the situation said Bratton was steadfast in his decision to leave.

A week ago, Bratton scheduled a meeting with the mayor for today, but did not specify what he wanted to discuss.

“With Chief Bratton at the helm, the Los Angeles Police Department transformed itself into a beacon of progress and professionalism, a department seen as a partner, not an adversary, no longer bound by the misdeeds of the past,” Villaraigosa said.

Likewise, Mack along with other members of the Police Commission , as well as the deputy and assistant chiefs whom Bratton entrusts with the day-to-day operation of the department, knew nothing of Bratton’s planned resignation until the chief informed them Wednesday morning.

“I’m really in shock. It’s a great loss for the city and the LAPD,” Mack said in an interview. , “Bratton has done an amazing job of turning around this department in the aftermath of a tortured history and really created a new department for the 21st century.”

Commissioner Alan Skobin echoed Mack, saying that Bratton “is leaving with a long list of accomplishments and on his own terms. . . . There isn’t anyone who can argue credibly that this department isn’t in better shape than it was before he arrived. That being said, there’s still much work to be done and I am saddened that he won’t be around to do it.”

Bratton, 61, who leaves with more than three years remaining in his second term, will become the chief executive of a newly formed subsidiary of Altegrity, a company with a significant presence in a secretive industry that provides businesses and government agencies with intelligence-gathering and other investigative services. Bratton’s group, called Altegrity Security Consulting, will focus on working with local governments internationally and in the U.S. to help build and improve police forces, said Michael Cherkasky, the head of Altegrity.

Cherkasky and Bratton know each other well. Before becoming chief, Bratton worked as a consultant for Cherkasky in a similar role to the one he will now assume, advising governments in several countries on how to reform and build modern police forces. He also worked with the team of consultants that Cherkasky had assembled to monitor the LAPD for the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a consent decree forced on the department after the Rampart corruption scandal. As LAPD’s chief, Bratton worked closely with Cherkasky, who remained the lead monitor overseeing the LAPD until the decree was terminated last month.

When Bratton returned to the public sector to become LAPD police chief, he and Cherkasky expressed confidence that they would become partners again when Bratton left, Cherkasky said. Occasional, informal discussions turned serious in recent weeks after the consent decree was lifted and the two were no longer bound by ethical considerations.

Cherkasky, in an interview, acknowledged that he and Bratton had been discussing the new job in earnest for the past several weeks. Bratton dismissed a question Wednesday regarding the appearance of a conflict of interest because Cherkasky was still monitoring the LAPD and urging the federal judge to end the consent decree while he and Bratton were in discussions.

Posted by on Aug 5 2009. Filed under News, Policing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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