Drama Over LAPD Chief Bratton's Political Endorsements
It's frowned upon for police chiefs to endorse candidates during campaigns. But so far, Chief William Bratton has endorsed candidates appearing on next Tuesday's ballot, including City Attorney hopeful Jack Weiss. “If Weiss gets in, he is going to owe Bratton,” warned former Chief Daryl Gates in an LA Weekly story by Daniel Heimpel today. That would be a "real problem since one of the city attorney’s purported jobs is to rout out corrupt cops, including police brass," the Weekly notes. While there are not hard and fast rules limiting a police chief from making endorsements--Bratton does his while in off-duty mode, in a suit, not uniform--the Christopher Commission led by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher in the early 90s to clean up the department said this in their report: “Because the Chief’s office is inherently powerful, it is unseemly for the Chief to use that position to influence political process,” it said. “It is particularly ironic to create a system to insulate the Chief from improper political pressure, and then have the Chief use that protected position to campaign on behalf of politicians who thereby become indebted to him.”
Two weeks ago, the Weekly took on Bratton's approach to crime statistics. They weren't buying the whole "crime is down to 1956 levels" thing.