William Bratton

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Bill Bratton
Bill Bratton at the seminar on his new book Collaborate or Perish! Lessons for Politics, Business and Public Services.jpg
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire[1]
Police career
Department NYPD
Years of service Boston PD (1970–1983, 1992–1994)
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police (1983–1986)
Boston Metropolitan District Commission Police (1986–1990)
NYC Transit PD (1990–1992)
NYPD (1994–1996, 2014–present)
LAPD (2002–2009)
Rank 5 Gold Stars.svg Commissioner of the NYPD
January 1, 2014 – present
23px Chief of the Los Angeles P.D.
October 27, 2002 – October 31, 2009
5 Gold Stars.svg Commissioner of the NYPD
January 1, 1994 – April 15, 1996
New York Fire Department Chief Rank.png Commissioner of the Boston Police Department
June 30, 1993 – January 1, 1994
New York Fire Department Chief Rank.png Superintendent-in-Chief, Boston Police Department
January 1992
4 Gold Stars.svg Chief of the New York City Transit Police
April 1990
4 Gold Stars.svg Superintendent of the Metropolitan District Commission Police
June 1986
4 Gold Stars.svg Chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police
May 1983
4 Gold Stars.svg Superintendent, Labor Relations
September 1982
4 Gold Stars.svg Superintendent, Inspector of Bureaus
May 1982
4 Gold Stars.svg Executive Superintendent
October 1980
US-O1 insignia.svg Lieutenant
March 1978
LASD Sergeant.jpg Sergeant
July 1975
Patrol officer, Boston Police Department
October 1970
Bill Bratton
Police Commissioner of New York City
Assumed office
January 1, 2014
Appointed by Bill de Blasio
Preceded by Ray Kelly
In office
January 1, 1994 – April 15, 1996
Appointed by Rudy Giuliani
Preceded by Ray Kelly
Succeeded by Howard Safir
Chief of Police of Los Angeles
In office
October 27, 2002 – October 31, 2009
Appointed by Jim Hahn
Preceded by Martin Pomeroy (Acting)
Succeeded by Michael Downing (Acting)
Commissioner of the Boston Police Department
In office
June 30, 1993 – January 1, 1994
Appointed by Ray Flynn
Preceded by Mickey Roache
Succeeded by Paul Evans
Personal details
Born William Joseph Bratton
(1947-10-06) October 6, 1947 (age 71)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Bratton (Divorced)[2]
Cheryl Fiandaca (1988–1998)
Rikki Klieman (1999–present)
Alma mater University of Massachusetts, Boston
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit 25px Military Police Corps

William Joseph "Bill" Bratton CBE (born October 6, 1947) is an American law enforcement officer and businessman, and the current New York City Police Commissioner, the second time he has held that position. He has previously served as the Commissioner of the Boston Police Department (BPD) (1993–1994), New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner (1994–1996), and Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) (2002–2009).

Bratton began his police career at the Boston Police Department before becoming Police Commissioner in New York City, where his zero-tolerance policy has been credited with reducing petty and violent crime. He moved to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2002 reforming the police after the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and crime was reduced.[3]

Bratton's policing style is influenced by the broken windows theory, a criminological theory of the norm-setting and signalling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior.[4] He advocates having an ethnically diverse police force representative of the population,[5] maintaining a strong relationship with the law-abiding population,[6] tackling police corruption,[4] being tough on gangs and having a strict no-tolerance of anti-social behavior.[7]

Bratton was approached by British Prime Minister David Cameron to become the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner in July 2011, but this was blocked by the Home Office on the grounds that said commissioner must be a British citizen with experience and knowledge of the United Kingdom's laws.[8] Bratton instead was offered an advisor role to the British government, which he accepted in August 2011.[9]

On December 5, 2013, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Bratton would return to the post of Police Commissioner in New York City.[10]

Early life and education

Bratton is from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Boston Technical High School, graduating in 1965. From there, he served in the Military Police Corps of the United States Army during the Vietnam War.

Police career


Bratton returned to Boston in 1970 to start a police career in the Boston Police Department, and was sworn in as an officer in October 1970. He was promoted to sergeant in July 1975 and to lieutenant in March 1978. In October 1980, at the age of 32 and ten years after his appointment to the BPD, Bratton was named as the youngest-ever Executive Superintendent of the Boston Police, the department's second highest post. He was dismissed as executive superintendent after he told a journalist that his goal was to be the Police Commissioner. He was reassigned to the position of Inspector of Bureaus, a sinecure which was responsible for liaison with minority and LGBTQ communities. He was later brought back into police headquarters to handle labor relations and 9-1-1 related issues.

Between 1983 and 1986 Bratton was Chief of Police for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, following which he became Superintendent of Boston's Metropolitan District Commission Police. Bratton was Superintendent in Chief of the Boston Police Department from 1992 until 1993, then he became that city's 34th Police Commissioner. He holds the Department's highest award for valor.

New York City

Bratton became the chief of the New York City Transit Police in 1990. In 1991 the Transit Police gained national accreditation under Bratton. The Department became one of only 175 law-enforcement agencies in the country and only the second in New York State to achieve that distinction. The following year it was also accredited by the State of New York, and by 1994, there were almost 4,500 uniformed and civilian members of the Department, making it the sixth largest police force in the United States. Bratton had left the NYC Transit Police returning to Boston in 1992 to head the Boston Police Department, one of his long-time ambitions.

In 1994, Bratton was appointed the 38th Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He cooperated with Giuliani in putting the controversial broken windows theory into practice. He had success in this position, and introduced the CompStat system of tracking crimes in New York City, which is used to this day as a focal point in the development of law enforcement policy. Some have argued that CompStat has created perverse incentives for officers to allow crimes to go unreported,[11] and has encouraged police brutality, citing that complaints by citizens that involved incidents where no arrest was made or summons was issued more than doubled during the Giuliani administration.[12]

During Bratton's tenure, a new tax surcharge enabled the training and deployment of around 5,000 new, better educated police officers; police decision-making was delegated to the individual precincts; a backlog of 50,000 unserved warrants was cleared; and, in 1995, New York's housing and transit police were merged into the New York Police Department. Bratton was also instrumental in the return of the standard NYPD uniform shirt from light blue to the dark blue it had been prior to 1972—and which was also the uniform color Bratton himself had worn as a police officer in Boston.[13]

Bratton resigned in 1996, while under investigation by the Corporation Counsel for the propriety of a book deal that he signed while in office as well as accepting multiple unauthorized trips from corporations and individuals. These offenses were generally considered minor.[14] Front and center were alleged personal conflicts with Giuliani, partly due to Giuliani's opposition to some of Bratton's reforms and partly due to Giuliani's belief that Bratton was getting more credit for the reduction in crime than Giuliani.[15]

The experiences of Bratton and New York Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Maple were used as the inspiration of the television series The District.

Los Angeles

Bratton worked as a private consultant with Kroll Associates, also known as LAPD's Independent Monitor,[16] until his appointment by the Mayor of Los Angeles James Hahn as the LAPD's 54th Chief of Police in October 2002. Bratton was one of three candidates recommended to Hahn by the Los Angeles Police Commission under Commission President Rick J. Caruso.[17] Under Bratton's tenure, crime within the city dropped for six consecutive years.[18]

On June 19, 2007, the L.A. Police Commission reappointed Bratton to a second five-year term, the first reappointment of an LAPD chief in almost twenty years.

Bratton has been criticized for his extensive travel; in 2005, he was out of town for a full third of the year on both official and personal business.[19]

In March 2009, Councilman Herb Wesson proposed an amendment[20] to the City Charter, allowing Bratton to serve a third consecutive term as Police Chief.

United Kingdom

On September 11, 2009, he was awarded with the honorary title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II "in recognition of his work to promote cooperation between US and UK police throughout his distinguished career".[21] On 12 August 2011, Bratton said he was in talks with the British government to become an adviser on controlling the violence that had affected London the prior week. He said he received a phone call from U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, and that he would continue speaking with British officials to formalize an agreement.[22] Cameron initially wanted to appoint Bratton Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis of London, but was overruled by Home Secretary Theresa May, who insisted that only a British citizen should be able to run the Service.[23][24]

On December 4, 2013 (one day before his return to New York City was announced), Bratton appeared on the BBC's Newsnight programme to discuss policing, and in particular, the possibility of him one day leading the Metropolitan Police. Asked if he was still interested in the job, Bratton said: "That remains to be seen. I happen to be, I think, a good friend and admirer of your current commissioner (Bernard Hogan-Howe). ... And understanding that you have got political issues that are being wrestled with at this time over there. ... I've made it quite well known that at some point in my life that if the position were to open that would be certainly something I would take a look at. The position is not open and is not likely to open for a few years and in the meantime I think you have got somebody in the position there that's doing a pretty good job."[25]


On December 27, 2012, he was hired as a consultant for the city of Oakland, California.[26] On January 13, 2013, The Oakland City Council approved the hiring of Bratton with a vote of 7-1.[27]

Return to New York City

On December 5, 2013, New York City mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named Bratton as New York City's new Police Commissioner to replace Raymond Kelly after de Blasio's swearing-in on January 1, 2014. The New York Times reported that at Bratton's swearing in on January 2, 2014, the new Police Commissioner praised his predecessor Raymond Kelly, but also signaled his intention to strike a more conciliatory tone with ordinary New Yorkers who had become disillusioned with policing in the city: "We will all work hard to identify why is it that so many in this city do not feel good about this department that has done so much to make them safe — what has it been about our activities that have made so many alienated?"[28]


Bratton Technologies, Inc.

Bratton co-founded and previously served as CEO of Bratton Technologies (www.brattontech.com), a venture backed company that operates BlueLine, the first secure, global law enforcement professional network. BlueLine was modeled after LinkedIn[29] and today serves as a platform where officers can find each other by name or expertise and safely communicate.[30]


On August 5, 2009, Bratton announced that after nearly seven years he would be stepping down as chief of police for the City of Los Angeles, continuing to serve as chief until October 31, 2009.[31]

Bratton moved back to New York City to take a position with private international security firm Altegrity Risk International, serving as a Chairman of a new division where he would consult on security for police departments worldwide.[32]


Bratton became the Chairman of Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm based in New York City on September 16, 2010. In November 9, 2012, Bratton stepped down as Chairman and was retained by Kroll as a Senior Adviser. Bratton continued working with public entities and private organizations facing complex security or investigatory challenges. Kroll is one of Altegrity, Inc.’s three core businesses.[33]


As of June 27, 2013, Bratton joined NBC News and MSNBC as an analyst specializing in criminal justice policy and practice, domestic intelligence gathering and the role of local law enforcement in counter-terrorism. His analyses appeared across the various platforms of NBC News and MSNBC and their digital properties.

The Bratton Group

As Chief Executive Officer of the Bratton Group LLC, Bratton provided a wide range of collaborative consulting, leadership, management and public safety network services to both the public and private sector in the U.S. and abroad.

Crest Advisory

Bratton joined Crest Advisory on 5th November 2012.[34] Crest Advisory provides expert advice to prospective police and crime commissioners (PCCs), criminal justice agencies and the security sector. Crest’s team offer a fusion of policy expertise, political insight, delivery experience and communications support to help communities prevent crime, fear and disorder.[35]

Homeland Security Advisory Council

Bratton is the Vice Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, whose members provide advice and recommendations on a variety of homeland security issues to the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Policing style

Since 1990 in New York City, Bratton adopted a zero tolerance policing policy. This manner of policing has won both plaudits and criticism,[36] but the implementation of zero tolerance policy coincided with a reduction of petty and serious crime in New York City by 2001.

Bratton has stated that racial tensions and distrust of the police are hindrances to reducing crime. Bratton's solution in Los Angeles and New York was to make police forces more ethnically diverse and "reflect[ive of] the ethnic make-up of their cities".[5]

Personal life

Bratton holds a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement from the University of Massachusetts Boston and was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Bratton has been married four times. He is currently married to attorney and TruTV analyst Rikki Klieman, and has one son, David, from a prior marriage. Bratton was previously married to attorney and Boston Police spokeswoman and newscaster Cheryl Fiandaca.

In 1998, Random House published his memoir Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic, written with co-author Peter Knobler. It was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Bratton addressed the Roger Williams University graduating class at the May 22, 2010 commencement ceremony and also received an honorary degree during the ceremony.[37] He also received an honorary degree from New York Institute of Technology.[38]


  • Bratton, William; Knobler, Peter (1998). Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-45251-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also


  1. [1] Archived June 9, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Mancusi, Peter (September 19, 1980). "Bratton's confident: Boston's new police superintendent says, 'I'll have my detractors, but I know I can handle this job. I have no doubt about it.'". The Boston Globe.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Carlos Granda (12 August 2011). "LAPD reforms provide example for other cities". abclocal.go.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bratton, Bill (14 August 2011). "American 'super cop' called in by Cameron reveals how to halt the hoodlums: 'I don't do it… but I can tell you how to hit gangs'". Daily Mail. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Batty, David (13 August 2011). "UK riots: police should tackle racial tension, says 'supercop' Bill Bratton". The Guardian. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "'Supercop' advises PM over riots". The Sun. London. 13 August 2011. Reacting to the riots, Mr Bratton said British police needed to focus on calming racial tensions by working more with community leaders and civil rights groups.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Swaine, Jon (13 August 2011). "UK riots: supercop's battle order for tackling Britain's street gangs". Daily Telegraph. London. But in keeping with his desire to nip problems in the bud, he is clear that the repercussions for those who step out of line must be severe, especially among younger offenders. "Very early on in people's lives you have to have them understand that abhorrent behaviour, anti-social behaviour, will not be tolerated," he said.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Whitehead, Tom (5 August 2011). "David Cameron's US 'supercop' blocked by Theresa May". Daily Telegraph. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "US 'supercop' Bill Bratton says riot arrests not only answer". BBC. 13 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Goodman, J. David (December 5, 2013). "De Blasio to Name Bratton as New York Police Commissioner". New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Transcript". This American Life. Retrieved 9 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. http://www.justicestrategies.org/sites/default/files/Judy/ZeroTolerance.pdf
  13. Krauss, Clifford (October 7, 1994). "Well-Dressed Officer: Navy, Not Powder Blue". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "THE BRATTON RESIGNATION: BEHIND THE SCENES;Squabbling Behind the Amicable Departure". The New York Times. March 27, 1996.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 'The Bratton Resignation'New York Times
  16. Kroll Associates' LAPD page
  17. "Police Commission Letter to Mayor Hahn Recommending Three Finalists: William Bratton, Art Lopez, John Timoney". Los Angeles Community Policing. September 19, 2002. Retrieved April 2, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Rubin, Joel; Winton, Richard (1 January 2009). "Crime continues to fall in Los Angeles despite bad economy". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Bratton Out of Town for a Third of '05" — Los Angeles Times 11 March 2006
  20. 'Third term for LAPD chief? Councilman seeks hearings'Los Angeles Times
  21. "LAPD Chief Bratton Honored by Queen Elizabeth II". LAPD Blog. September 11, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Lawless, Jill (12 August 2011). "Thousands of police patrol Britain's streets, nearly 600 charged in riots". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 12 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Swaine, Jon (12 August 2011). "UK riots: young thugs 'should fear the police', says David Cameron's new crime adviser". The Daily Telegraph. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Swaine, Jon (12 Aug 2011). "UK riots: supercop's battle order for tackling Britain's street gangs". Telegraph. London.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "News – msn". msn.com. Retrieved 9 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Oakland hires former Los Angeles police chief as consultant". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved 9 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Kuruvila, Matthai (January 23, 2013). "Oakland hires police consultant Bratton". The San Francisco Chronicle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Goodman, J. David; Goldstein, Joseph (January 2, 2014). "Bratton Takes Helm of Police Force He Pledged to Change". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "BlueLine Wants to Be a Facebook for Cops". Mashable. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. [2]
  31. 'Chief William Bratton To Step Down From LAPD', CBS 2/KCAL 9 Los Angeles
  32. 'LAPD Chief William Bratton to Resign', KTLA 5 Los Angeles
  33. [3] Altegrity press release
  34. [4]
  35. "Crest Advisory – Crest Advisory". crestadvisory.com. Retrieved 9 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "'Zero tolerance' advice to PM". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. "Roger Williams University to Confer more than 1000 Degrees in 2010 Commencement". Roger Williams University. Retrieved April 2, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~gdaly/Bratton.htm

External links

Police appointments
Preceded by
Joseph Saia
Superintendent in Chief of the Boston Police Department
Succeeded by
Paul Evans
Preceded by
Mickey Roache
Commissioner of the Boston Police Department
Preceded by
Ray Kelly
Police Commissioner of New York City
Succeeded by
Howard Safir
Preceded by
Martin Pomeroy
Chief of Police of Los Angeles
Succeeded by
Michael Downing
Preceded by
Ray Kelly
Police Commissioner of New York City