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LAPD Chief William J. Bratton awarded major British title

In the world of the LAPD, rumors fly fast and furious. One of the most persistent in recent years has been that it is only a matter of time before Chief William J. Bratton hops the pond to become the head of Scotland Yard in London.

On Thursday, the Queen of England did nothing to dispel the notion that the U.K. digs L.A.'s top cop. British Consul-General Bob Pierce announced Queen Elizabeth II’s decision to award Bratton with the honorary title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

A step below knighthood, the honor is bestowed on two Americans each year and is being given to Bratton in recognition of his “work to promote cooperation between the United States and United Kingdom police,” according to promotional material.

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Bratton has long looked east to help shape his ideas on policing, starting three decades ago when he was rising through the ranks of the Boston Police Department.

British police, Pierce said, leaned heavily on Bratton for help when rethinking policing in Northern Ireland as part of the peace agreement between the IRA and British government.

Bratton, who will receive a very royal-looking medallion from the British ambassador at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September, called the award a “great honor.”

At the news conference to announce his new title, Bratton discussed as well a hearing scheduled for Monday in front of U.S. District Judge Gary Feess. For the last nine years, Feess has overseen the LAPD’s efforts to implement a sweeping series of reforms imposed on the department after the Rampart corruption scandal. Bratton said he was “cautiously very optimistic” the judge would find the LAPD has largely completed the reforms and bring an end to the federal government’s watchdog role over the department.

Bratton also drew attention to the city’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Trying to debunk the notion that the LAPD has been spared from serious cuts, Bratton said the budget, barring any changes, would leave him no money to promote hundreds of officers into supervisor positions.

In a “worse, worse case scenario,” Bratton said, he could foresee a freeze on promotions that would force him to close some of the city’s police stations because of insufficient supervisors. He emphasized, however, that he did not expect the situation to reach such dire levels and said he hoped that ongoing negotiations would result in money-saving concessions by city unions.

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joel.rubin@latimes.com


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