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New Police Chief Won't Be Wasting Any Time Taking Command of LAPD

October 25, 2002|Richard Winton and Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writers

Fresh from a celebrity-studded going-away party in New York, William J. Bratton jetted to Los Angeles on Thursday, was fitted for his LAPD chief's uniform, and said he will quickly name three top aides to oversee the department.

Bratton will take the oath of office in a private ceremony at 8 a.m. today from City Clerk J. Michael Carey in Mayor James K. Hahn's office. He will then hop into a helicopter with Hahn to fly to an emergency management workshop in Lake Arrowhead.

"I am certainly looking forward to the professional challenge. I was anxious to get off the plane and get going," Bratton said Thursday. "I need to get the team in place to make organizational changes necessary to get us back in the crime game."

Even before Bratton's official swearing in, Cmdr. Jim McDonnell -- a lifelong friend who, like his new boss, served in the Boston police force -- had directed all 114 members of the Los Angeles Police Department's command staff to submit resumes, photos and lists of their top accomplishments, as well as written plans for the department's future

Bratton's first move, he said, beyond a public oath-taking on Monday at the Police Academy and a slew of networking and protocol events, will be to select three assistant chiefs, who will carry out his vision for the department. The chief-designate stressed that he has yet to make any final decisions on personnel.

Since Hahn picked him, Bratton has relied on McDonnell and Cmdr. Sharon Papa, whose friendship with the new chief dates back to the early 1990s when both were respective chiefs of the transit police in Los Angeles and New York.

"We are going to sit down and look at recommendations of who the stars are and who are the nonperformers," said Bratton, who plans an inventory of officers and assignments.

The command structure Bratton is considering would be less top-heavy, with more power devolved to those in the department's divisions.

Out of respect for their decades of service, Bratton does not plan to summarily remove several assistant and deputy chiefs appointed by former Chief Bernard C. Parks, sources said.

"Some people are going to retire. Some will be asked to retire," Bratton said, adding that Civil Service rules limit his ability to remove people immediately.

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