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Dodgers hire former police chief Bratton to come up with security plan

He is retained amid pressure to upgrade safety measures at stadium and surrounding areas after last week's attack on Giants fan. Dodgers have not had a head of security for four months.

April 06, 2011|By Bill Shaikin
  • William Bratton removes the stars from his uniform in a symbolic move to signal the end of his tenure as Los Angeles police chief.
William Bratton removes the stars from his uniform in a symbolic move to… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

The Dodgers on Wednesday hired former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton to develop what the team called a "security blueprint" for Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.

The Dodgers retained Bratton amid pressure from civic leaders to upgrade ballpark security because of a parking lot attack last week that left a San Francisco Giants fan critically injured.

Bratton will lead a consulting team but will not join the Dodgers as head of security, a position the team has left vacant for four months.

"I am pleased to have the opportunity … to consult with the Dodger organization on the security posture at Dodger Stadium," Bratton was quoted in a late-afternoon news release issued by the team.

Rival cities and fans come together to denounce attack on Giants fan at Dodger Stadium

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said neither Bratton nor team owner Frank McCourt would be available for interviews Wednesday. Rawitch declined to comment on when Bratton might conclude his work or when the team might hire a head of security.

For the first time since 2005, the Dodgers opened the season without a full-time security chief. Rawitch said the club does plan to fill the position.

The Dodgers last December dismissed Ray Maytorena, a former Secret Service agent who had overseen the club's security operations. Maytorena was one of at least 22 front-office employees to leave the organization over the last two off-seasons.

Giants fan sent text message saying he was 'scared' before beating

The Dodgers consolidated his responsibilities under Francine Hughes, vice president of stadium operations. According to the team's media guide, Hughes "joined the Dodgers in September 2009 following nearly 15 years in commercial real estate."

As the baseball season approached, the Dodgers hired on an interim basis Shahram Ariane, director of campus safety at the Claremont Colleges. Ariane had preceded Maytorena as the Dodgers' security chief.

"He's the person currently running security at Dodger Stadium," Rawitch said.

Editorial: In wake of brutal beating, fans hold key to a safer Dodger Stadium

Ariane said Wednesday that he is "consulting" for the Dodgers and has done so "for the past couple of weeks." He said he remains in his full-time job in Claremont and said his work for the Dodgers would be short-term.

"It's a temporary measure until they implement some long-term measures," Ariane said.

Pat Courtney, spokesman for Major League Baseball, said the league entrusts each team to hire qualified security personnel, in compliance with the law in each city and in concert with local law enforcement agencies. Courtney said executives from the commissioner's office regularly review stadium issues with officials from every team.

Bryan Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic and Giants fan, suffered a fractured skull in a parking lot beating at Dodger Stadium after last Thursday's season opener. Stow remains in a coma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and doctors say they are not certain whether he can recover full brain function.

In response to the incident, the Giants plan to upgrade security at AT&T Park when the Dodgers play in San Francisco next week.

"We are adding more police and security inside and outside the ballpark for those games," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' senior vice president of ballpark operations.

On Saturday, McCourt called the parking lot beating "tragic" but said he was satisfied with security at Dodger Stadium.

"I'm quite confident that all of our measures were in place," McCourt said. "You could have 2,000 policemen there, and it's just not going to change that random act of violence."

That stand drew sharp criticism from civic leaders.

City Councilman Ed Reyes, whose district includes Dodger Stadium, on Tuesday called the incident a "black eye" and urged the Dodgers to reassess their security protocol.

On Monday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich contended that a "lack of security" in the parking lots contributed to the beating.

McCourt now has asked Bratton to review the team's security measures.

"There is no one better to lead a top-to-bottom review of our current practices," McCourt said in the statement, "and make recommendations to be implemented now and into the future."

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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