William Bratton's First Speech
text as published in Daily News


from the Daily News, 10/4/02

Chief to enforce vision
Bratton shares mayor's reformed goals for department

Here is Los Angeles Police Department Chief-designate William Bratton's full statement Thursday:

"I did not bring my interpreter with me, so I hope the Boston accent with some New York nuances will not be too difficult to understand. But I'm certainly going to work on changing that so that I can fit more closely into this city.

"I want to thank the mayor from the bottom of my heart, both personally and professionally, for the opportunity that he is presenting to work with him to implement a vision that he has articulated so well for what this city can be, what it is capable of achieving.

"And I cannot even begin to express to you the pride I feel at having been chosen from among this stellar group of police professionals that applied for this position. Some of the best and brightest in American policing sought to lead what is widely perceived to be one of the best and brightest police departments in this profession.

"John Timoney, Art Lopez. To be in the company of such individuals is an honor in and of itself. But to be selected from that group for this assignment is something that I am eternally grateful for.

"The mayor has talked about his vision. The reason I applied for this position -- to return to public service, an area that I love and which I enjoyed so much when I was in public service for so many years -- is because that vision is a shared one. The belief that community policing is the philosophy that needs to be embraced by America's police forces and one that the LAPD has expressed so much support for -- its unions, its leadership, its rank and file, and, certainly, the citizens of L.A. -- have responded to the vision of community policing that I share with the mayor. Partnership, problem-solving, prevention, with the emphasis on prevention.

"The LAPD, in the '60s and '70s, the era when I was first coming into the business -- 32 years ago, October 7th, 1970, I joined the Boston Police Department as a 23-year-old recruit, one day after my 23rd birthday. I had grown up on images of the LAPD, 'Dragnet,' 'Badge 714,' 'Adam 12.' All of the TV shows of that era celebrated an organization that set the standard, for so many years, of the profession that I wanted to join.

"And the professional model of policing that shaped so much of the '70s and '80s was designed and implemented here. That model, that emphasized rapid response, random patrol and reactive investigation, for 30 years was the model. But now community policing has shown itself to be much more effective in reducing crime and disorder and fear.

"And the goals of the LAPD, the goals of this mayor, are quite clearly by embracing community policing, by building on the foundation of the consent decree. He has referenced that it is a foundation and not the ceiling, and it will be more than a foundation. It will be integral to everything that we do in the LAPD during my time as police chief, as I believe deeply that the department and the city, officers and citizens, will benefit from the consent decree and its quick and full implementation.

"I had the privilege of spending almost a year working as one of the monitors, an opportunity to get into the LAPD in a very intimate way, and that intimacy is what propelled me to apply for this position. The intimacy with just how good this department is, how truly extraordinary the men and women of this organization are.

"It had its couple of tough years, but I think it's fitting that this ceremony is being held here in this station, in the division where the LAPD, in one of its finest hours, exhibited what it is truly capable of and what it is desirous of doing. Putting itself between the danger and the citizens. The thin blue line. That term was created here by a former chief, and it's appropriate because it's a city that has very few police. But with very few police, it makes up for that with the professionalism and the skill of its members.

"Chief Pomeroy, who was rightfully applauded by all of you, is a perfect example of that. I feel honored to be able to succeed him and all he has done over these intervening months to hold this department together in very critical times. Marty, I know how much you love this place, and I promise you and the other 9,000 LAPD and all that came before you that I will not let you down, this mayor will not let you down, that together we will build on the legacy and the traditions and the skills. And we will take that -- the most famous shield, the most famous badge in the world -- and whatever little varnish, a little tarnish exists, it will be wiped clean, and that it will be the most brilliantly shining badge of any in the United States.

"That's our commitment to you and to the members of the LAPD. And to citizens, the mayor has made it quite clear -- that he will not tolerate abuse, racial profiling, anything that does not, in fact, work to prevent crime and disorder and the safety of all citizens of all colors and ethnicities.

"Mr. Mayor, I cannot extend to you or to the members of the Police Commission enough thanks for the honor that you are bestowing on me. And my compliments to the members of the Police Commission on the process that you put us through. I've gone through a lot of processes, and I've never gone through one that was as comprehensive and, I might point out, as fair as what you put together and which we responded to. It was reflective of this city and this department and the commission -- a truly professional endeavor, one that I think I benefited from because I had to prepare for it. And in that preparation, I think I am much better prepared for the position that you are allowing me to go before the City Council to seek to attain."