Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bratton Speaks Out: Crime Fighting Gains in Jeopardy

Retired police Chief Bill Bratton is the only person to lead the two largest police forces in the United States, New York and Los Angeles. Bratton came to prominence as Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner. Bratton’s adaptation of James Q. Wilsons “broken window” theory brought about an unprecedented reduction in crime. His introduction of CompStat has been credited with revolutionizing police work.

Bratton recently lamented the reductions in crime fighting resources and personnel. He expressed concern that the advances in law enforcement that have impacted crime rates around the country may be in jeopardy. During a recent interview with PoliceOne.com, Bratton spoke of his concern for policing in these difficult economic times.

"New York City, with its counter-proposed budget, will have dropped from 41,000 officers down to around 34,000 officers this year, which brings them back to a 1990 staffing level. Los Angeles with 9,900 officers, because of cutbacks, budget is no longer paying officers overtime — they are giving them comp time instead — and that effectively reduces the size of the force by almost 700 officers. They still have 9,900 because they are giving them so much time off in lieu of overtime."

"That brings them back to levels when I was Chief in 2002. That type of decline is going to take years to make up for, in fact, because right now there is no sense that cities are going to be doing a turn-around in the near future. So as you look out over that ten-year period of time, the loss of personnel that we’re experiencing now make take almost a decade to recoup those losses, if in fact, some places ever do that."

"The issue also is that there is so much that is available to help in crime fighting, crime prevention, reduction efforts that are available in this profession now — whether it is technology or forensics or any of those other advances — that will no longer be affordable to police agencies. So, it’s ironic that just as we are finding additional medicines to deal with the problem of crime, we can’t afford them. That’s going to hold us back also."

For full interview: http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/2056048-American-policing-in-the-next-decade-A-conversation-with-Chief-Bill-Bratton/

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