LAPD chief William Bratton could be headed for Scotland Yard or the mayor's office — of New York City. Or he could stick around Los Angeles for another five-year term. "He denies none of the possibilities," says Sunday's New York Times. In the interview with bureau chief Jennifer Steinhauer, Bratton says that he likes living here. Campaigning originally to get the LAPD job was, Steinhauer wrote, "a humbling experience for someone whose ego has never been compared to the Dalai Lama’s." The piece notes that it has become sport in some L.A. circles to speculate on Bratton's future and the irritation in some quarters about the time spends outside the city, but calls him "perhaps the most popular Los Angeles police chief in a generation."
With major crime down 25 percent on his watch and relations between police officers and black residents improving, Chief Bratton, who is white, is poised to become the first chief granted a second term since term limits were imposed on high-ranking police officials in the early 1990’s.
"I think that Chief Bratton has done an extraordinary job," said the president of the City Council, Eric Garcetti, adding, "I expect him to comfortably sail to a second term."
"It is entirely possible he will end up back in New York," said John F. Timoney, the police chief of Miami and one of Chief Bratton’s closest friends. "I think he is quite content where he is, and he obviously wants to serve another five years. But at our age you are always looking for another challenge."
Chief Bratton, 58, said recently in an interview that running for mayor of New York, something he had considered twice before, was “not likely in my future.” He suggested he had gotten used to Los Angeles and actually liked it here.
"It is quite a life," he said. "We get to work on important things; you get to interact with a lot of extraordinary people."
On Bratton and Councilman Bernard Parks:
Unlike such officers in New York and elsewhere, the Los Angeles police chief serves at the pleasure of the mayor and the City Council, which counts among its more influential members Bernard Parks, the former police chief who was tossed aside and replaced by Chief Bratton. Mr. Parks, who declined to be interviewed for this article, has campaigned vigorously for Chief Bratton’s ouster.
"He will never get over the fact that he is no longer police chief," Chief Bratton said of Mr. Parks. "I don’t lose any sleep over it."
Chief Bratton’s East Coast frankness has not always sat well with people here, who generally prefer that their nasty asides and plotting behavior be conducted behind closed doors. Some of the chief’s detractors have grumbled about his travel schedule; he is rarely in Los Angeles for an entire week, preferring police conferences, lobbying in Washington and other trips. Should a scandal hit the police ranks here, his future could be threatened by those who may already be out to get him.
Yet his confidence about a second term seems grounded in a genuine popularity across a broad swath of the city.
Bratton also says: "I blow my own horn because I am good at it."
Photo: Monica Almeida/NYT