09/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Hail to the Chief

Yesterday, I had the distinct honor to stand with Chief of Police William Bratton as he announced his resignation after six-and-a-half years of service to Los Angeles.

Simply put, there will never be another like Chief Bratton.

He came to the LAPD during one of our darkest hours. Tales of corruption tarnished the Department's reputation. Racial tensions threatened to break the sacred trust between the people of Los Angeles and those charged with protecting them.

When William Bratton first stepped foot into his office at the Parker Center, he brought with him a record of reform from his time in New York, and the no-nonsense attitude of the Boston streets -- with the accent to prove it.

The genius of Chief Bratton is his appreciation for the fact that strong policing and effective prevention and intervention programs are not mutually exclusive.

He recognized from day one that in order to rebuild the trust so vital to public safety in Los Angeles, he needed to bring the community in as a partner.

"You cannot do it alone," Chief Bratton told his officers at his induction ceremony. "But with the community, you can do anything."

And with Chief Bratton at the helm, the LAPD has transformed itself into a beacon of progress and professionalism; into a Department seen as a partner -- not an adversary; no longer bound by the misdeeds of the past; and no longer in need of federal oversight.

Today, the Police Department is playing a positive role in the community. And the community is playing a positive role in the Police Department.

The results speak for themselves: our crime rates are falling; the homicide rate is dropping; gang crime is on the decline; at-risk youth are being offered an alternative to becoming statistics in the cycle of violence; and our counter-terrorism unit is prepared for the threats of the 21st century.

All of that is the product of Chief Bratton's leadership.

And because of him, Los Angeles is the safest, strongest, and most united it's been in more than half-a-century.

And while I'm sad he may be leaving us, his legacy will forever be felt at the LAPD and on the streets of our City of Angels.

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