March 23, 2008
LAPD Chief's ego and search for a new job may destroy a premier
unit and potentially threaten America's security
Politics is an ugly business and I'm not talking about the
presidential election right now. Many people who have lived
on both coasts will be among the first to tell you there is
a huge cultural difference between people and life in New
York and Los Angeles.
I have always been a believer that Los Angelenos are generally
more enlightened and greater risk takers than the rude and
sometimes crude crowd out of the Big Apple. Historically,
there has also been less public corruption in L.A. than in
The tenure of Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton is
making that view more valid than ever as he ignores history,
success, and common sense in secretly conspiring to undermine
the LAPD's storied SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team
by loosening entry standards so he can claim HE integrated
the unit with women. Why would he do this? Because the self-serving
Bratton, who calls himself "America's Police Chief"
because of stints as chief in New York and Boston, is in his
final term as LAPD Chief and he desperately wants to be on
the national stage.
It is important to understand what makes Bill Bratton tick
to see how he is putting L.A. in danger and wants to take
his onerous way of managing and dictating to the national
level and potentially threaten our national security.
It's no secret that he covets becoming the head of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security. The chameleon in LAPD blue
has tried once already to snag the top federal job. Last year,
when U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned, there
was rampant speculation his spot would be field by Michael
Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security. It was almost
comical, although somewhat disgusting, to watch Bratton pander
for the opportunity to replace Chertoff. There apparently
is no depth to which Bratton will stoop to get what he wants
or what he thinks he deserves.
At the time of the Gonzales departure, in the early days
of the presidential campaign jockeying, it looked like former
New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani was a sure-fire pick to get
the Republican nomination. If you know your New York politics,
you'll recall that Guliani fired Bratton as chief of the NYPD
because of reported disloyalty by the brusque and non-stop,
That history reportedly didn't stop Bratton from sucking
it up and trying to repair his soured relationship with Guliani
so his former mayoral boss would ask President Bush to slide
Bratton into the top spot at Homeland Security. It didn't
work because Guliani refused to be manipulated again by Bratton.
Bush then appointed Michael Mukasey as the successor to Gonzales,
killing Bratton's grand plan.
It would be irresponsible to call Bratton an ignorant and
egomaniacal Machiavellian Svengali if there was nothing to
back it up, but in this case there is plenty of evidence!
Now that there is a lot of wide-spread speculation that a
Democrat is sure to win the White House, and many are betting
that either Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama will win, Bratton
is pimping himself again for the top job at Homeland Security.
THIS is where his attack on LAPD's SWAT team comes into play.
Bratton has been trying to undermine SWAT since he became
chief and has refused multiple requests to make public the
secret study he ordered with a clear focus of forcing SWAT
to add women, even if they are not fit or qualified to serve
in the unit. He also says there are not enough blacks in SWAT,
even though the 12.6% of blacks in SWAT slightly exceeds the
12% black population numbers for the LAPD and the 10% black
population stats for all of Los Angeles. And don't forget
there was another black on SWAT until the recent killing of
Officer Randall Simmons.
Hmmm - demanding women and blacks in SWAT - at a time when
a woman and a black are in a neck-and-neck race for president
- and either Democrat is THE key to naming a new Secretary
of Homeland Security IF one of them wins. Bill Bratton is
a betting man as long as he is the top prize.
However, Bratton is using his usual slight of tongue to try
and get his way by telling half-truths, using his carefully
crafted image to buffalo people, and by ignoring history,
knowing full well that the ignorance by most people about
how government works is bliss for his plan.
Bratton is publicly saying that since women serve in our
military, they are qualified to serve in SWAT. What he ISN'T
accurately saying is that although women ARE in the military,
no woman has passed the stringent requirements and fully served
in the SWAT equivalent of the military - Special Forces, Green
Berets, Navy SEALS, etc. There is one notable PARTIAL exception
to this and it should serve as a lesson to why Bratton's "the
hell with SWAT" campaign is dangerous.
The Army experimented with allowing women to join the elite
Rangers. Since there is always a limited number of slots to
get into Ranger School, the lists of those wanting to get
in have always been long. The Army was reluctant to allow
women in because lowering the standards for them would put
other soldiers in harms way if the women couldn't cut the
proverbial mustard. And because there might be a few women
who could NOT fulfill the requirements, the Army feared it
would not be able to "wash them out" for failing
to meet Ranger status because then they'd claim they were
just discriminated against as women.
One woman did get the Green Beret but it took a judge to
award it to her and that raises the same kind of serious questions
about lowering standards just so someone like Bill Bratton
can claim he integrated women into an elite unit. As I said,
the only Green Beret reportedly ever awarded to a woman came
from a judge to Captain Kathleen Wilder.
She attended all three phases of Special Forces training
in the summer of 1980, but during the final week, she and
two male students were reportedly caught hiding their 70-pound
rucksacks. She and her compatriots were not carrying the heavy
rucksacks as required by the instructors, but hid them in
order to pick them up at a later time and appear to be as
qualified as the other elite troops. All three were caught
and dropped from the course, ostensibly for cheating. The
men accepted the outcome for cheating but Wilder got a lawyer
who reportedly argued she was a victim of sex discrimination.
The court agreed, ordering that she receive a course completion
certificate. Wilder never spent a day in an actual Special
Forces unit, but she continues to claim she was the nation's
only "female Green Beret".
The issue of women in LAPD SWAT has already been through
the courts and the women who sued lost because they could
not meet the standards that every other member of SWAT has
had to meet. Bratton has apparently learned from this and
has ordered the standards be lowered, the demanding physical
standards and tests be "dumbed down", and the SWAT
negotiator functions be separated from the SWAT operational
duties, like they do in corrupt East Coast police departments.
If Bratton is allowed to get his way, not only will properly
selected and trained SWAT officers be in danger, but potentially
unqualified women who passed a "dumbed down" entry
test could put citizens' lives as risk.
A lot has been said about Bratton trying to change SWAT because
of the tragic accidental shooting of little Susie Pena a couple
of years ago when her deranged father used her as a shield
as SWAT officers tried to rescue the girl in a hail of gunfire
from the father in what is the ONLY hostage death in the 40
year history of LAPD SWAT.
Many people have unfortunately already seen the hand of Bill
Bratton's impact on SWAT in the aftermath of the MacArthur
Park May Day melee of 2007 when a Metro platoon went wild,
beating members of the news media along with women and children
in the park where Latino protestors were having their say.
The department's final investigation documented that a major
contributing cause to the wild baton-swinging disaster was
that Bratton, and one of his former assistant chiefs, George
Gascon (who is now chief of police in Mesa, Arizona) cut the
training budget for Metro. As a result, most of the members
of the "B" Platoon assigned to the MacArthur Park
protest march had NOT been properly trained in crowd control.
Furthermore, Bratton removed a renowned crowd control and
K-9 expert, Lt. Pete Durham, a former Marine Corps Captain,
and bounced him to a less lucrative position at a patrol division.
Bratton replaced Durham with an inexperienced Irish pal who
commanded the untrained "B" Platoon and was part
of the disastrous Bratton management team that mishandled
the MacArthur Park march. Lawsuits emanating from that incident,
it is estimated, may cost the City of Los Angeles tens of
millions of dollars.
In Bill Bratton's myopic world, whatever damage he inflicts
to SWAT in order to look like the savior of women and blacks
in order to try and get the Homeland Security spot under a
woman or black president, in his mind, justifies whatever
lasting damage Bratton may leave at LAPD, and as a result,
in the community.
After all, when he left a hard-core culture at NYPD that
has been cited as part of the reasons for the shoving of a
nightstick up a man's rectum, and the unjustified police assassination
of a groom-to-be as he left his bachelor party, Bratton was
past his "New York state of mind". He was now chief
of police in LaLa land, 2,500 miles away from his past, staking
out new territory to claim as his legacy. Just like he left
New York to fend for itself once he fled for the Left Coast,
we should be concerned about his current itching to head East
to Washington DC in charge of ALL of our national security.
Be aware, America, and be very afraid. Bill Bratton's ego
is telling him that he is so good for you, you have to make
sure Hillary or Barak make him the "world's police chief".
Heaven help us!