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John Buntin
The LAPD Remade « Back to Story

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Chief Parker was known for a very scientific and logical method to police work and a very old and unemotive manner. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, a former LAPD officer, wrote speeches for Parker. It is said that Roddenberry modeled the character Mr. Spock after Parker.
Its a honored story...
Bull. The LAPD has been forced to alter their enforcement policies over the last several decades to placate the blacks because the blacks continued to burn the city until the city gave in.

Holding the blacks to a different standard than whites because they will riot and burn is not progress and it is not ultimately successful. Answering anarchy with compromise is not an intelligent or a practical long term solution.

Give LA to the hoodlums and let them consume one another. Decent people left a long time ago.
'Broken Windows has always been a negotiated sense of order in a community, in which you negotiate with residents about what is appropriate behavior in an area,' says Kelling."

Well, if that's the case then segregation is imminently practical. If the only laws that are enforced are the local neighborhood agreed upon laws then count on me to fight and and all Mexicans or blacks from moving into my neighborhood.

If the police tell me that they will not stop banda music from blaring out of car speakers at 3 am every weekend because they have "negotiated" with my changing neighborhood and don't want to offend the new residents, if they refuse to answer a call about teen hookers who have taken over the corner because they have "negotiated" a no-bust policy with the new residents, if they tell me they will not flush out the six families sleeping four to a room in the now-trashed ranch-style across the street because it was deemed "non-negotiable" by the new residents, then my only choice is to keep them from moving into my neighborhood and trying to "negotiate" my neighborhood right out from under me.

Sorry. if the police are so desperate to get cooperation from the local residents that they will overlook any law, then I will do my best to keep them out of my neighborhood in the first place.

We hire legislatures to make law. We hire police to enforce them.
i worked in criminology statistics during this time

'broken windows' means the appearance of neglect invited social abandonment, it is a visual thing, graffiti, broken windows in boarded up stores and abandoned buildings; the original Broken Window was in an abandoned car, by the researchers, who deliberately broke the window to show it was abandoned, (Zimbardo? Zajonc?)

zero tolerance in context here is all crimes, not just visual ones,

i expect that community turnaround is due to murder fatigue by the locals, this is almost Thomas Hobbes, where locals surrender their rights to the King in exchange for safety

(vs Locke's Social Contract, both explaining governance)

imprisonment has shifted over the decades, into longer sentencing for fewer bad guys, on the theory that '(some few) criminals cause crime,' a small number of persons truly outside the social order, who are removed, vs mass incarceration and vs social conditions cause crime, finally dead after 100,000s dead americans prove liberals wrong, one more time, mostly black dead

the removal of a few high profile is an aspect of 'disinhibition' - while some psychopaths or sociopaths, need incapacitation by isolation, i submit that the mass of potential offenders are pragmatic and rational opportunists, if crime pays they will take the job, so criminology is obliged to remove the example of successful crime

broken windows and zero tolerance are manifestations of that, social disinhibition, but i use that term specifically for repeat felons, on the theory that everybody knows everybody else and their business as well

thus specific deterrence flows over into general deterrence, not by fear of punishment, by by absence of successful example, a nuance of behavioral difference but a magnitude of explanatory difference

ie put high profile bad guys away, remove their example, diff from 'scared straight'

and we must consider external mega trends; cocaine is as present as ever, so drug fueling of crime gangs is not the explanation

and mr bratton is a genius, a mozart or einstein of our time, unrecognized

Bill Bratton deserves many accolades for his continued good work in law enforcement. That said, the work of Jerry Sanders in San Diego simultaneously to Bratton's work in New York goes overlooked. When compared, Sanders accomplished essentially the same results with a more restricted budget and a slightly different model of policing. How about giving Sanders some attention?
I have an unusual relationship with the LAPD since growing up in LA in the 50's and 60's. But I will not go into details.

I have a more recent experience that may be enlightening to some more intimate with LAPD than me.

2005-2007 I worked as a physician at Pelican Bay --North Coast-- as they say. During that time I had 2-6 direct encounters per day with inmates from the SHU while two unarmed prison guards were in attendence. I seemed to have an unusual approach with the inmates that repeatedly broke their code of silence. One of the skills I developed was the ability to read tattoo's and I zeroed in on those coming from the LA county jail. I could get these guys to talk at some length about the LAPD and their relationship with that organization... Perhaps because I revealed to them a distinct residual animosity towards the LAPD.

The results of my informal audit is that the leadership of MS13 knows and records the names and home addresses of all ranking officers of the LAPD and if there is an apocalyptic or revolutionary event, their lieutenants are planning to visit those people in those locations within the first six hours of disruption. Dorner is not the only one who knows home addresses.

Maybe they were just blowing smoke, or maybe I'm just spreading rumors, but I never met any inmate in Pelican Bay who I thought was bluffing or who didn't deserve to be there.

Police Chief David Couper March 07, 2013 at 8:54 AM
Improving police and their accountability, and evaluating their leaders is a daunting task. But not an impossible one. And we will all benefit from the effort. Most folks know little about police and what they should expect from them. Follow my blog at for answers and where I discuss even more issues facing police and how improvements that are made can be sustained! After all, we all want police in our communities who are well-trained, controlled in their use of force, honest, courteous to every one of us, compassionate, and closely connected to the communities they serve, don't we?

"asked the youth to lift his shirt. Bert frisked him. Nothing. The kid continued on his way"

So the LAPD stops a private citizen who is doing nothing unlawful and searches him. So, I guess the 4th Amendment must be given up in order to ensure the public's safety.

Cops, in general, suck. For every one good cop, there are 10 more rat bastards who I wouldn't mind seeing get their corrupt head blown off by a gangster.
Excellent article. I have attended two workshops where Chief Bratton spoke. He is very well thought and presents very well. The Broken Window theory was indeed my personal mantra. If this style of policing does anything, it allows citizens to allow themselves to feel a sense of ownership and gives them empowerment to partner with law enforcement to solve problems. I hope the leaders of Oakland will listen to him and act upon his advice.
Thomas E Comerford March 05, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Mr. Buntin,
In your article, you note that Chief Parker left a department that was,among other things,"deeply conservative".I guess that's a sin in your eyes.Is it?
U.Stuart Auslander March 05, 2013 at 11:23 AM
Unusually informative.
Excellent report. Should be made required reading for all mayors and police officials nationally.

Thanks, Mr. Buntin!
Excellent article. It gives one hope that the police can and will change. Chicago could learn something if the pols there didn't simply want perpetual crisis. One thing though, please don't use the term 'assault rifle" unless you mean a fully automatic weapon.
Brilliant article. Frequently though, not what people want to hear.

-- "Some senior commanders now work on not arresting certain types of people, such as juveniles, for whom a conviction is effectively the beginning of a criminal career."

-- The careful differentiation between Broken Windows and Zero Tolerance.

-- "Gates dismantled an early community-policing initiative developed by his immediate predecessor"... resulting in "over the course of a typical weekend, police would pick up 1,000 to 2,000 people, jail them, and impound their cars" with worse to follow.

Gates also pushed the D.A.R.E. drug program that succeeds mostly at projecting drug-takers as risk-seeking heroic outsiders.

Competence matters. I was in L.A. for the 1992 riots and our friends in Inglewood and Lawndale had warned us it was coming weeks earlier. LAPD management might as well have been on vacation in Maui.
No doubt about Bratton's effectiveness and his policing policies. He has had major successes where ever he has had the opportunity to use them.

It's funny how effective he really is, he really doesn't have a great personality, yet he has managed to establish great relationships with community members.

His biggest problem seems to be fitting his enormous ego within the geographic boundaries for his position. He and Rudy couldn't manage it in NYC when he was there.

The race problem always seems to be lurking just under the scab waiting to fester though, as evidenced by the recent former LA police officer who went rouge. The more things change, the more the stay the same.