Thursday, August 18, 2011

Saving Face vs. Saving Lives

Sometimes you've got a problem. Sometimes you can't solve it yourself. Sometimes, not even your friends can help you. So you have to reach out beyond your circle for help. Asking for help is hard. But if you are concerned enough about your problem, you're going to do what it takes.....right?

Well, London is burning. That's a big problem. Now there are many smart, capable people in Great Britain. Those people are all doing their best to solve it. I'm sure they love their country as I love mine. But so far, it hasn't worked. And the longer it goes on, the harder it's going to be to return to normalcy.

So, I've got this guy. He's a Dot Rat. That means he was born in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. But he is my fellow Bostonian and in such policing matters as these......he is *the* man. He has a resume as long as your arm in law enforcement. William J. "Bill" Bratton started out as an MP in the United States Army. He returned to Boston and joined the BPD. He rose quickly through the ranks, well on his way to becoming Commissioner when Bill was burned by a political dustup and briefly exiled. But when Boston needed him again .....Bratton was called home.

He popped around to a few other law enforcement agencies in Boston, including a stint as MBTA Police chief as shown in this picture.

He later left for New York to be their transportation police, but returned home to become the Police commissioner of Boston. He is a recipient of the Schroeder Brothers Memorial Award, named for Patrolman Walter and Detective John Schroeder who were both shot and killed in the line of duty in the 1970's. It's the BPD's highest honor. It can only be given to one recipient in a year and if no one is worthy, it won't be given in that year.

So, anyway, then Bill goes on the be a star in New York until Rudi Guiliani (who I love, but he does have an ego) decided Bill was getting too much attention. Then it was on to LA. And there was private consulting. There was even international consulting. Queen Elizabeth gave him a C.B.E. which means (insert her voice here) "We are so pleased with your service to the Crown that if you weren't an American, I'd knight you. Since I can't - have this."

Turns out there are some very smart people in Britain. And they thought "Who's that guy the Queen nearly knighted for being a brilliant cop? Bratton? Get him over here." So Bill drops what he's doing and heads over. Smart move. They were the people who realized that what's happening right now in London is a complex problem; that Bill Bratton & his "Broken Windows" mentality (Bill's the civilian Gen Petraeus) can solve complex problems. there is no one solution in London, despite the fact that My Marine says "Bullets".

In London you need a guy with a proven track record at comprehensive, innovative plans. Plans that aren't just going to help you solve your current crisis, but also help you move on and heal.
But this woman, Home Secretary Theresa May has said no.
"The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has a "unique policing role in relation to national security" and that is why it has always been held by a British national, Mrs May said"
Seriously? You're turning down the best man for the job because you don't want people saying later that an American solved your problem? I've never heard of anything so childish and petty.

Some Brits are calling it "morally repellent". Yes, it is. matter. Let London burn! After all the British burned my town to the ground once upon a time. Yeah, I know, at the time, my people were bogtrotting in Ireland, but Charlestown is where I was born. Acquire the loyalty, acquire the grudges.


Anonymous said...

Bratton was not THE solution. Bratton, plus a strong executive backing him. He had that in Boston and NYC, not LA so things did not turn out as well.
Cameron is not a strong executive so, no matter what Bratton tried to do, it would not work, Cameron would undermine him.

BostonMaggie said...

Bratton may not have been equally successful eveerywhere.....but he's still better than whoever is *not* solving the problem now.

He would have made progress.

the Brits stuck their head up their collective ahhhhsis on this.

Stella said...

Here's a post from the NYT...

Let me get this straight. England is having horrific social problems. Cameron wants Bratton to come to Britain as an unpaid consultant, right?

Bratton accepted.

British police were not pleased. The officers had asserted, in some cases bluntly, that Britain had little to learn from the United States, with its far higher incidence of murder, a more prevalent gang and drug culture and a tradition of more aggressive policing.

I don't get it, either.

... and BTW, how are you?

BostonMaggie said...

I know at first it was an unpaid consultancy. Then Cameron wantd him to head up Scotland Yard and I think that was paid.

Stella said...

I do agree with anonymous... Bratton definitely did not do as well in L.A. And s/he is dead on about Cameron.