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Chief Bratton to Resign in October, Search for New Chief Begins

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In a media availability session around noon today, LAPD Chief William Bratton officially announced his resignation, effective as of October 31st, so he can pursue a career in the private sector. He joined Los Angeles in October of 2002 and will soon join Altegrity Inc., a worldwide private security firm based in Falls Church, Virginia.

"You and I committed to five overarching goals in 2002, and as of today, we can all take justifiable pride and satisfaction in knowing that we have in large measure met and continued to expand their impact in our ultimate purpose for being: to protect and to serve all the residents of this great City," he wrote in an open letter to officers and employees of the department. Those five goals were reducing crime, working on terrorism initiatives, implementing the Federal Consent Decree, growing the force by an additional 1,000 officers (an unfinished goal, but one in progress) and "Bias-Free Policing," which the ACLU contends is a goal not reached.

"The recent Harvard Study and Los Angeles Times poll have conclusively shown that a significant majority of all Angelinos feel that you are succeeding," he told the department.

Whoever the next Chief of Police will be is up to Mayor Villaraigosa. LA Weekly's Jill Steward predicts the new chief could come from within the department's own ranks.

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City Council President Eric Garcetti says the next chief's priorities should be "making sure the culture -- that has changed pretty dramatically inside the department -- is rooted into every new hire that we make: making sure that they are community-based, and community-focused, that they understand civil rights as well as public safety -- those are the lessons that will take some time."

His full letter to the department is below:

Earlier today, Wednesday, August 5th, I met with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to inform him of my intention to resign my position as Chief of our great Department effective October 31st, so that I may pursue new professionalization of policing opportunities in the private sector. There is never a good time to leave a job and a Department that you love and enjoy, but there is always a right time. That time has now come for me professionally and personally to seek new career challenges. Since my appointment as Chief of this extraordinary Department in October 2002, by then Mayor James Hahn, we have travelled together on an exciting and successful journey - through good times and bad - meeting crises, challenge and opportunity with consistent optimism, confidence and resolve.

You and I committed to five overarching goals in 2002, and as of today, we can all take justifiable pride and satisfaction in knowing that we have in large measure met and continued to expand their impact in our ultimate purpose for being: to protect and to serve all the residents of this great City. We committed to reduce crime, fear, and disorder, and we have done that. We committed to keeping the City safer from terrorism and we have done that while establishing national best practices and initiatives. We committed to full implementation of the Federal Consent Decree, and while it took longer than originally anticipated, we have done that. We campaigned to grow the Department by 1,000 officers and with the focused leadership of Mayor Villaraigosa and the support of the City Council and voters we are doing that. We also committed to Bias-Free Policing, to ensure that all the residents and visitors to our City of Angels would be the benefactors of constitutional, compassionate, consistent policing in every neighborhood. The recent Harvard Study and Los Angeles Times poll have conclusively shown that a significant majority of all Angelinos feel that you are succeeding. It will not be easy to leave because, while much has been done, there is still much more that can be done. But having met the personal and professional challenges that I set for myself, I feel that this is an appropriate time for new leadership to move the Department forward and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Thank you for the honor, the privilege and the enjoyment of working with you, and for the opportunity to tell your story during these past seven years. I hope that each of you in some way, no matter what your position, felt that you were part of what I believe will be a very special time in the history of the Department - our Department - a Department that is without question second to none. It has truly been an honor and a privilege to be your chief.

All the best,

WJB