Who will succeed LAPD Chief Bill Bratton, who is leaving to work for his former boss Michael Cherkasky at Kroll Associates (but in this incarnation, these two old friends will now run Altegrity)?

Bratton announced his plan to leave following months of rumors — rumors the chief fed by traveling almost as often as missing-in-action Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The three assistant chiefs under Bratton may be in the running for his job: Jim McDonnell, Sharon Papa and Earl Paysinger.

It's also possible that the appointees on the Los Angeles Police Commission will reach deeper into the ranks to create a new LAPD star. There's talent in Bratton's huge command staff, including eight or nine deputy chiefs ranging from the quotable and well-known Michel Moore to tough-guy, Mr. Clean, Charlie Beck, the head of detectives.

A lot of national and even international news outlets are expressing shock and surprise at

Bratton's departure. It's not a surprise to us at the Weekly, where Patrick Range McDonald dug into this question a few weeks ago. Crikey, folks, Bill Bratton put his house up for sale in a horribly down L.A. market. That was a

huge, huge hint.

One thing we know for sure:

As police expert and radio news broadcaster Pete Demetriou explained on KNX earlier today, an interim chief will probably run the department for the rest of the year, and that person will  almost certainly be somebody who is NOT in the running to be the permanent chief.

That is standard operating procedure, so that nobody in City Hall has a chance to game the search for a new chief by giving somebody a leg up as the temporary, acting chief.

With LAPD now free of the federal consent decree, and much cleansed

from its Rampart scandal days, it seems very, very likely that the

search for a new chief will focus inside the LAPD itself. Who is your favorite candidate for new chief of the LAPD?

LA Weekly