Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Bratton Takes Public Oath as LAPD Chief in Ceremonies at Police Academy
By LORELEI LAIRD, Staff Writer
William Bratton publicly took the oath as the City of Los Angeles’ 54th chief of police yesterday at a formal ceremony yesterday at the Los Angeles Police Academy’s Elysian Park grounds.
Bratton, who was officially sworn in Friday at a private ceremony in Mayor James K. Hahn’s office, had his badge pinned to his new LAPD uniform yesterday by Police Commission President Rick Caruso. The festivities also included a bagpipe procession, a performance by the Vocal Pro choir from the Performing Arts Center at Hollywood High School, and an aerial salute from two police helicopters.
“It is an honor to present you with this badge; wear it with honor and pride,” Caruso said. “And if I stab you, it’s only a sign of things to come.”
Bratton joked in response. “You can stick me anytime, as long as it’s not in the back,” he told the head of the department’s civilian oversight authority.
In the more serious speech that followed, Bratton said police need to “get back into the business of problem-solving,” saving lives rather than merely counting bodies.
“I’m going to talk very bluntly to you. The citizens of this city need you back on those streets, taking back those streets,” Bratton said. “We all need to be one city. We all need to trust each other again.”
Though he was not stingy with his praise for the LAPD’s officers, calling them “America’s best,” Bratton emphasized that the police need to earn the trust of the community.
“There is no police department in America that needs the community more,” he said. “The community deserves respect; they require it. You have to earn it.”
In remarks before the oath, Caruso outlined three goals for the LAPD under Bratton: reduce violent crime, improve department morale and bring the number of officers back up to the authorized maximum of 10,200.
“We are asking a lot of this man, but we chose him for that reason,” Caruso said. “He will make the LAPD proud and he will make Los Angeles proud.”
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, county District Attorney Steve Cooley and U.S. Attorney Debra Yang attended the ceremony, along with Hahn, law enforcement representatives, several city council members and Gov. Gray Davis.
Hahn and others speaking at the ceremony also acknowledged Interim Chief Martin Pomeroy for leaving his family and his retirement in Montana to serve as police chief while the city searched for a permanent replacement, noting that during his brief time in office, morale went up and crime went down.
“You have not been just a caretaker,” said Hahn. “You really have moved this department forward.”
Presented with the Police Distinguished Service Medal, Pomeroy said, “Words are inadequate to tell you what’s in my heart.”
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company