Outgoing Los Angeles police Chief William Bratton exited the department's new headquarters downtown Wednesday with hundreds of officers bidding him adieu. The “end of watch” farewell ceremony had the top cop choked up as he issued departing words to his troops.

“I owe thanks to the extraordinary men and women of the department,” he's quoted as saying.

The strange part of the ceremony came at the end, when Bratton stepped into an an SUV that was stopped on First Street: A Los Angeles Police Department official stepped up to the car and notified Bratton that he forgot to turn over his badge. As seen in television coverage on KCAL9, the chief reached into an inside breast pocket, produced the badge, and handed it over.

Rules are rules, but couldn't we let the man who presided over a 53 percent drop in violent crime during his seven years as head of the LAPD keep the badge as a ceremonial keepsake?

I mean, do we think Bratton, who also ran the New York Police Department, is going to impersonate an officer? Is there anyone in the world who doesn't recognize him and know he's leaving the job? He's no crony of Mike Carona, after all.

Maybe we're reading too much into it. Maybe LAPD leaders are going to bronze the thing and send it to him as a holiday present. That would be apropos.

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