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Los Angeles Has New Police Chief - 2002-10-12


The Los Angeles city council has confirmed a former New York police official, William Bratton, as the new chief of the troubled Los Angeles police department. The new chief promises to implement reforms and rebuild the community's faith in his department.

He has been credited with reducing the crime rate dramatically in New York, where he served as police commissioner under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. But Mr. Bratton faces other problems in Los Angeles: a police force that was scarred by a scandal after a handful of officers admitted to planting false evidence and lying in court, and many minority residents who are deeply suspicious of their police force.

Mr. Bratton was selected by Mayor Jim Hahn as the man who, in the mayor's words, can remove the tarnish from the badge of the city's officers. Friday, the Los Angeles city council voted 14 to one to confirm the appointment. "Ladies and gentlemen, the council hereby confirms the 54th chief of police of the Los Angeles police department, Mr. William J. Bratton," he said.

Mr. Bratton is a supporter of community policing, which means putting officers into neighborhoods to deal with problems as they arise, rather than simply responding to emergency situations. He has gained the support of most elected officials and community leaders through a series of private meetings in recent days.

Mr. Bratton says he will apply some of the same methods in Los Angeles that he used to reduce the crime rate in New York, including careful tracking of criminal activity and focusing resources on problem communities.

Mr. Bratton will be sworn in as chief October 28, and will serve a five-year term. The mayor had refused to renew the contract of former chief Bernard Parks, and the only "no" vote on city council came from councilman Nate Holden, a close friend and supporter of Mr. Parks.

The first task for the new chief is to recruit new officers to a department depleted by sagging morale.

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