In his third town hall meeting in as many nights, Los Angeles Police Department chief designee Charlie Beck established some distance between himself and his mentor, former Chief Bill Bratton.
Beck, responding to a question Thursday night at El Sereno Senior Center about how he would distinguish himself from the mighty Bratton, said, "Bill Bratton was the right chief when he was selected in 2002 ... but we're not that point right now."
Beck was the top choice of Bratton, the star chief who helped reduce the city's crime rate by more than half. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been parading Beck in front of the public all week in anticipation of his city council approval next week, credited Bratton with helping reduce city crime to levels not seen since the mid-1950s.
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But Beck insisted Thursday that Bratton's work was done and that a new kind of leadership was needed at the department. He argued that, while Bratton changed the leadership of the LAPD for the better, the next wave in the department's evolution would happen deeper -- at the rank-and-file level.
"Changes need to be driven down deeper into the organization ... only by someone who understands it from its core," Beck told the Eastside crowd.
"He [Bratton] doesn't understand the rank-and-file at the level that it's needed to push this deeper, but I do," he said, "and that's the difference."