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Bratton's Firing of Aide Fuels Speculation

March 08, 2003|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton has fired a high-ranking deputy, fueling speculation that more dismissals could follow.

Roger Ham, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Information and Communications Service Bureau, is a civilian who served at the level of deputy chief.

Ham's dismissal was not because of his performance, said Deputy Chief George Gascon.

Rather, "it indicates the organization is going in a different direction," Gascon said. "We are looking for different skills."

He said Ham deserves praise for seeing that a new LAPD communications center was finished within budget and on schedule.

Ham, who aides said cleared out his desk on Thursday, did not return calls for comment.

Although several LAPD deputy chiefs retired with varying degrees of willingness after Bratton took office, Ham's sudden dismissal caught some department insiders by surprise.

Observers inside and outside the LAPD had early on predicted Bratton's command would bring a wave of firings, in keeping with his reputation for tough talk and frequent demands that managers be held accountable.

Ham was hired in 1998 to oversee the construction of new dispatch centers.

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