My favorite top cop in the nation has just bowed out. Bill Bratton, arguably America’s most effective big-city police chief, retired in September, ending one of the most successful careers in law enforcement in the nation’s history. Bratton’s record wherever he served, including Boston, Los Angeles and two stints in New York City, was impressive. Crime of all sorts, especially violent crime, fell precipitously in each one on his watch.
About the time Bratton was wrapping up his last day on the job in New York, Washington, D.C.’s police chief, Cathy Lanier, was starting a new job in the private sector, as head of security for the National Football League. Almost a decade ago, she took control of a department that was viewed as largely dysfunctional and remade it, strengthening ties between officers and the community they serve. Crime fell substantially during her tenure.