Larry Mantle

Bill Bratton's Chief Skill

It's the day after the LAPD Chief's blindsiding news of his departure with three years left in his term. Though the surprise is starting to wear off, civic leaders are still trying to process what it will take to replace the popular leader.

It's only fair to give significant credit to Bratton for decreasing Los Angeles' violent crime rate, but I think his most unique skill is in the political realm. This is a man who has been able to get at least grudging approval from the City's civil rights leadership, successfully push for hiring more officers, and build rank-and-file morale among members of the force. I find that an astonishing accomplishment. It also demonstrates how great political skill can translate into practical accomplishments.

How can the Chief's successor walk that political tightrope so effectively, while not looking like he or she is performing a balancing act? Perhaps it's unfair to expect a new chief to do it, but if a successor doesn't, heavy criticism will follow.

What would you like to see in the choice of a new LAPD Chief? What should be the highest priorities for hiring a successor?

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