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Bratton plans to stay at LAPD until end of October

August 5, 2009 | 10:16 am

Police Chief William J. Bratton plans to remain at his post until the end of October, said John Mack, a member of the Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD. Bratton called Mack and other commissioners this morning to tell them of his plans.

"I'm really in shock. It's a great loss for the city and the LAPD," said Mack, a civil rights figure who had once been a vocal critic of the city's police until Bratton's arrival. "Bratton has done an amazing job of turning around this department in the aftermath of a tortured history and really created a new department for the 21st century."

"I had become convinced he would complete his second term here, but he has an opportunity to return to the private sector and I respect his decision."

Saying he was uncertain what Bratton's new job would entail, Mack said Bratton will "reunite" with Michael Cherkasky. Cherkasky and Bratton have been close associates. Before becoming chief, Bratton worked as a consultant for Cherkasky, advising governments in several countries on how to reform and build modern police forces. He also worked with the team of consultants that Cherkasky had assembled to monitor the LAPD for the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a consent decree forced on the department after the Rampart corruption scandal. As LAPD's chief, Bratton worked closely with Cherkasky, who remained the lead monitor overseeing the LAPD until the decree was terminated last month.

Cherkasky currently runs Altegrity, a company with several subsidiaries, one of which focuses on law enforcement and criminal justice issues. The firm consults with local police departments in emerging nations to teach them how to build and run their own justice systems. The company says it has trained thousands of people in anti-terrorism, counterinsurgency and police techniques in more than 50 countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan and Colombia. The company has also set up training camps to teach anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been involved in training local police in Iraq, its website says.

Cherkasky declined to comment until the chief had formally announced his resignation.

The company offers services familiar to Bratton. In 1996, after a successful but tumultuous stint as head of the New York City Police Department, Bratton opened his own boutique firm that offered similar consulting services.

News of Bratton's departure reverberated throughout City Hall.

"He came, he saw, he conquered and now it's time for him to move on," Councilwoman Janice Hahn said.

Hahn added that Bratton's chief goals in coming to Los Angeles were to reduce crime and improve the department's standing. Once the consent decree was lifted, she had not expected him to stay long, she said.

"I called it two weeks ago. I said, 'He's gone,' he came for specific reasons and that was to improve relations between the department and the community," Hahn continued. "The relationship between the department and the community is better than it has ever been."

-- Joel Rubin

Earlier: Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton to step down