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tv   After Words Bill Bratton The Profession - A Memoir of Community Race...  CSPAN  July 7, 2021 1:43am-2:43am EDT

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>> host: bill, how are you? >> how are you? >> good to be talking with you. let me start by saying i read your book and i thoroughly enjoyed it.
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and obviously it is a two spanned five decades and then dh 2014 so why did you choose this event to start the book? >> and the horrific event with the 50 year career. and that is still the exception but it was such a horrible tragedy five days before christmas. and then reflected of what was going on and then accelerated the next several years with the breakdown.
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so it seems to me to be an appropriate place to help frame the conversation and the third reason was it took me back almost 50 years to when i began my career as a young carper - - cop and a washington police officer as a bank robbery occurred just as i was coming into the business. two years later a police detective was murdered. and that was also a time in the early seventies when the anger between police and the black community was so difficult it was resulting in tremendous violence between
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the two. it took me back 50 years so how did we get there? and then we explain that's in our countries history. >> that you also cover your childhood. [laughter] >> born in massachusetts so then to be a police officer and as a year and a half old and then you try to direct traffic.
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>> iy want to correct my mother but if that's a story she told i will stick with that. [laughter] so how did you get hooked on policing? but it seems like you knew at a very young age. >> growing up in the fifties i'm so glad i had the fifties so different from what kids go through today. and the television show was a bad error. we had dragnet and then in a very positive light and then the two cops and that was very influential and then i was an avid reader down the corner from where i grew up and also
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the local police station and then from the 19 fifties and sixties but then to watch them march out of the station house two by two to be to the walking post. >> it was a very positive one very different from my kids watch on tv or movies today. and there are good ones today. >> . >> so come back from vietnam so in the boston police department, talk a little bit of what boston was like in 1970 and just as important but
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the police department was likee in 1970. >> and with that military experience i joined in rather was drafted into the u.s. army. and in return they were guaranteed what assignment you can get into. i wanted to be a military policeman. was only 18 years of age however unbeknownst to me and then with the spending three years walking behind a dog. so my police seeing career began walking with century dogsne so with the boston police department it was expanding interestingly enough to fulfill a t union contract and
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for the rest of our career and then to have to staff up those cars. it didn't have any of the hallmarks nobody of knowledge or research and very few people with college educations. use of force and corruption was not on the scale and racism was there also 55 lacks
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and it was coming out of the civil rights era as the most segregated cities in america and literally my first ten years on the job i spent five of those in the next bus seeing desegregation and literally the battles. >> that is an interesting read i know you started your career in boston but what you found to be influential, certainly what really began to shake things up in the boston police department, talk about him for a moment and whether or not he played the role to influence later in life with some of the things he was doing. >> the gentle man you are
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referring to is now deceased. he was brought in as an outsider and that the police department would change what he felt would needed to be changed so he brought in the outsider. at that time superintendent of st. louis county. he came in at 6-foot two and 6-foot b three italian a large the irish and he had an afro if you could believe it and like they were at that time was suits and ties. and then they got rid of that but a baby blue dodge with a
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dark blue roof and drove himself. [laughter] but he has been my role model and inspiration because it was a transformational agent. and then to have the boston police department and the opportunities such as myself to become very disillusioned and with new exams put together literally within five years but also was intending that long after he was gone to be college educated to have a broad breath the experiences
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and if you think of a succession it was paul evans and kathy oh two oh and most of the leadership and that was a role model in the sense for philadelphia and dc? that would be a man that is a lesser extent in boston for both of we have the opportunity also to workbo with. >> if you tell the rollcall
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and you have the cardinal seen one - - the cardinal sin. and then to become the un the trust of the cops and showing up at rollcall and all hours of the night and to make yourself available. that's whatom he did but at that time i had become so disillusioned looking to move to a suburban police department where i was living at the time and he came into the rollcall i've been hearing good things about him not
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knowing anybody or a rabbi or connections. i was stuck there. there was no many in those days or to be desperate for over time. and then that changes in the department and with them standing behind looking at us and as you know so what is the question? i said how do i get out of here? [laughter] and then to look how to transfer out ofur here.
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and then everyone around me started laughing because it then immediately went into the circular file and he was not aware of that. but by happenstance and with the anticorruption unit especially the investigation unit that franco was his name and then felt with all the change that is occurring. so with that rollcall. so what are you doing here? say with the district so my
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career at the boston police department was change because of that circumstance. so the detective side. it was no secret. and then transferred every one of them on saturday morning. that there was a new game in town. second to bring in five whiz kids. and with that executive research and i still think he's one of the smartest people in the business.
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and then they totally change the t academy training and those that have the hostage negotiation initiative and chuck? letter was one of the young student interns that was brought in. at the police headquarters at the commissioners office. so if you look at these young minds that change everything the planning and research committee 26 people and they open it up to rules and regulations and with the volunteers and i love the idea and with that superintendents and surveillance and i was loving it. i had a voice.
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the union hated my from the beginning which is fascinating and what he was doing is from the benefit and in any event and one is my great joys to be sworn in i invited him for the ceremony. was one of the greatest joys of his life to see what he had created in 1975. commissioner now police chief in los angeles and he couldn't get over the idea that here was 40 years later and still sprouting branches. >> host: the names that you call thinking back on those days are absolutely incredible that
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much talent was assembled in one place at the same time. it's very unusual in any police department. i don't know if that is existed elsewhere and may be so but i can't think of any. >> i bring in the outsiders and in that era they didn't ring in outsiders but it also unleashed a lot of talent within the department of people who are risk-takers people like myself to take those exams and join these committees and the number of other names that came out of that department going forward but you and i were long-term friends with chuck wexler who took the gary hayes vision the 70s and expanded his
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predecessor developed in the 80s and even to this day now and 2021. >> host: fast-forward a little bit leave boston and something that i did not know until i read this book was that you were the chief of the massachusetts bay transit authority. i knew about your new york city work but i didn't know about the massachusetts bay transit authority. those are two departments that are quite different. talk about some of the challenges in some of the issues that you had in dealing with that type of police department. >> both of those organizations
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reference --. in boston i visited the superintendent chief the highest-ranking officer. the old guard was able to do me in because of mistakes i made so by 1983 i've been bounced back and hit come back but was not satisfied to cause i was at innocence walking into a closet in some respects. they were running as scandal plagued and troubled system particularly with the police department. the 68 person department trying to police 79 people.
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after thinking about it i took the risk going from a 2010 or department to a 60 person department that was widely disrespect it and totally ineffective. probably one of the best decisions i made my life a cassette gave me so much to see with getting into a small organization testing myality to turn that organization around and emulate my rule model and i learned so much. bob wasserman was at that time consulting and i think was chief of operations for lee brown of houston texas. lee was taken on the good old boys of houston pd and i went down to houston to meet with bob and work with bob on a plan of action including redesigning the police car the image of the
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urbanization. my first major plan of action was developed the mta. the metro transfer -- metro transit authority is a city municipality. i was in five different counties and literally 78 cities in town. those challenges were meant and we had subways and commuter rail and we had trolleys. i had a lot of fun. i brought a couple of people on board like al sweeney the lifelong friend. and blending the police department as you know is like something old and something new with new ideas and something borrowed barring people from
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previous experiences something old something new something borrowed and something blue. the excitement of coming into a new organization and really getting too stirred up. there was that excitement is building. we have the crime down and we have phenomenal people to work with and based on that governor mike asked me to take over the metropolitan district acquires arabization that police parks rivers and many of its highways and it was scandal plagued. it's -- and might predecessor was serving time in state
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prison. there was incredibly low morale but i was able to work with the union to her desperate to change the reputations of the organization's and one thing union share with management is very concerned about the reputation of the organization. they can be pained to the neck as you know and oftentimes it just needs discipline that they wanted the department to have the good reputation because it benefits them a contract time. 68 cops once again a turn around and the second transit opportunity came along that was the transit police in new york city. 3800 officers and at that time i think the eighth or ninth largest police department in america.
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church telling, we all know george killing going back to the 80s when bob wasserman at a deuce me. wexler wasserman friends and advisers. kelling was consulting with the transit authority of new york city and they were a serious crime and a lot of it. the pitch they made to me the eighth or ninth largest police department. i had my eye on the prize for so many years and they said come on down, who knows you might get noticed by the police commissioner. i was actively looking at the potential.
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at dissolution department accredited and credibly and effective broadband outside advisers. and we had a fun mom all turn around but the character that was so influential in policing and so influential in reducing crime was jack maple. jack maple the late great jack maple was the police lieutenant that almost one of the smartest people you've ever met and he would put academics to shame and delight in doing it. jack would come in and is double-breasted suit and tie and two-tone shoes. we were simpatico.
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this is a very different environment. there are 456 stations in new york city and at any given time there are train cars running through it. the transit experience was probably my most satisfying. the city police with 25,000 housing police with 4000 but they were the old police. people would say where do you work? i work in transit. we are not well thought of. in 2.5 years we got the department accredited and a great team working and when i talk about having relations with the union to union paid for the
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whole 60 person team to go to california for the awards or money. can you imagine that? they felt so proud of the idea that we have become accredited and now have this reputation by the marine corps. i had so much fun and it allowed me to recognize the headquarters the rest of it is the burbs. i was able to watch, look at that which was advised by bob washington who is advising me in the transit police.
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my off-broadway transit production was on broadway in the new york city police department and as luck would have it, a couple of years later it happened. >> host: let's talk about your first tour of duty in new york as new york city police commissioner and obviously had a chance to serve as boston police commissioner but let's fast-forward to new york. the first time around new york city the largest department in the united states and i don't know how big it was when he took it over 94 but i don't think he was up to 40,000. >> guest: n 95 giuliani merge the three departments so we went up to 38,000 after i left in 96 and 99 with the cops program we
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went to 41,000 down to 3,334,000 went again. unbelievable the complexity of an organization like that. how do you manage something like that? talk about the challenges in managing something that large as a new york city police officer. >> guest: the toughest management job i had was running that 60% police department because in the intimacy of that department you are the go-to person for everything. i didn't have captained the i didn't have majors i had lieutenants and sergeants and i had a clue corporation counsel but it all came into that office like being the precinct commander. nypd in some respects people will laugh if you say was -- there was a talent pool in that organization but i had almost a
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thousand captains in the organization. we had 26 deputy commissioners with phenomenal expertise and technical matters. i didn't have to go far to get a question-and-answer. is just pick up the phone and when you called they jumped and the answers were like that are in the transit police i not only asked the questions but i wrote the answers to the beauty of it is you surround yourself with such incredible talent of my head and extraordinary team. i brought jack maple up and john jiminy who preceded you in philadelphia and miami. and john miller. john miller i have is my first press commissioner and everyone knows john miller. john i gave jobs to three times. he was my commissioner following
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giuliani and into the lapd in 2002 in brought them back in 2014. he is given a million-dollar jobs to take 200,000 are your jobs and i also had once again civilians from the outside. the first time i had kelling washington others in my second go-round in 2014 and i'm jumping ahead a little on you but it links back to 94. in your 50 year career you made -- met incredibly challenging and -- 2014 i had the opportunity it's like the movie this thing paul newman and robert redford the last thing and everybody wanted in. everybody wanted to come in and i had friends and colleagues over the years knocking on the door. they all wanted the last hurrah
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and i got them all in the dark. when i had my executive staff meetings killing washington gable and maple. maple had passed on god let love them at that time that literally i had the super bowl team and with that talent i was the captain of the ship but i had a lot of people rowing and we wouldn't go anywhere without them rowing in the same direction. >> host: as commissioner of new york a system that revolutionized american policing. >> they are bureau of statistics. post post to talk about that would you and the role that you and jack maple and others played and did you really think he was going to have the impact that it eventually did have in terms of crime reduction and national recognition. >> guest: the stories that i
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tomas it when the book and i go into great detail about how it can be named and the origin of it was in the 70s in the police district i had huge maps and every day it have a clerk put on the map different crimes and great quickly the clots in the roe room could see these clusters developing and we called them cops on the dot. i would do directed parole forms indicating i want you to spend an hour this location we are having disturbances there and it was the beginning of the use of data and using it on a timely basis. going forward into new york jack maples was doing the same thing
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in transit. you identify a location or street address. every column that holds up the ceiling in a subway station is a number on it so when it officer reported a crime he would reported that stairway number 43. maple had maps of the whole system like a step in boston so we had a lot of information but we also understood the timeliness of it traded era we weren't gathering crime information. the fbi gathered once a year. one night maples sitting at alain's favorite restaurant with miller and he's doing on a napkin and we are talking about what we are trying to do. he comes up with four elements which became the foundation.
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one timely a great intelligence gather information as fast as you can accurate information and rapid response basically put the cops on the dots. clearly effective tactics and what's going to work? will it be handled by the precinct or does it require it task force of the fbi and the idea that even though you solved the problem we go back from time to time in his becoming back? if you think of that it's like the practice of medicine. every city is different.
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collectively we shared a lot of ideas and that was the basis starting with these four elements. maple i gave him a lot of credit for doing what he did created a system that the nypd where we gather all the precinct commanders and all the commanders together and put them all in one room to talk about crime and we put the maps up on the wall and talked about patton 34, 1046 and what you doing about it? comes from the fact that back in those days they were green computer sheets. each computer program hadn't ate letter name and in the middle of a snowstorm one night several cops who developed the system quickly came up with a name so
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they could. how do you get out of the station before the snowstorm shut it down and they came up with computer statistics so that's how the name was born and that of the system was born a little this -- piece of history there. it did revolutionize policing could some departments know that the user then some don't and some some give lipservice lip service to it but if you use it correctly it's the engine that can drive it. he was so successful and so rapidly seized upon by police departments around the country and around the world that the kennedy school of government foundation gives and innovations in government award in a 1996 r. department one for program the innovations the most innovative system that had been developed
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that time. jack and his team were still around to receive it and even now anybody in new york city -- there are computer systems and of the rhythms and artificial intelligence. we are very proud of it. make and you should be proud of it. you will forever be associated with com stat and there aren't many police that have had that kind of employment. >> guest: you know the satisfaction that you are i are contemporaries have is a lot of credit goes to us individually but as you know we might have an idea but in the case of com stat
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we had this huge orchestra behind me and together those individual instruments created a symphony. and isn't that the wonder of it with everybody working together and it's the pride they all feel. it was the source of the giuliani break up on the fact that didn't want to corp. clinical purposes share the credit with all the people at the nypd who were developing what he was grading -- getting so much credit for but all those books that help the umbrella were developed within the nypd but for political purposes to be elected for a second term he felt they think unjustifiably affect credit was shared and would not help him in his re-election and i think it would have helped him in his re-election and it caused us to start butting heads and once
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again i got bounced out of a job. >> host: i think one of your strong suits in its come through not just from this conversation but conversations we have had is that you'd do build strong teams and you recognize talent and you put that talent where he can do the most good and gives people a chance to show what they can do. again airily experiences with -- and that an it's funny we look back on a career of those things at the time you appreciate that you don't fully understand the significance of it until later on and you have a chance to pay it forward and again that is something i think is her marketable. let's move forward because i know we are pressed for time. you leave new york.
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>> guest: which time? the first time or the second time? >> host: the first time and you have the magazine article in your picture on the cover of "time" magazine. i have to ask you if you had to do over would you take that picture? >> guest: you better believe it. "time" magazine has been around for what 100 years and 52 weeks a year. there've been 5200 people have had their picture on the cover of "time" magazine and i'm one of them. i'm on the cover -- cover because i'm telling story and julianne man i dashed giuliani and i were being pushed out the door death by a thousand cuts so that was my swan song. he eventually made the cover or couple times but i was there first. >> host: god bless you.
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>> guest: did not look great in my trenchcoat under the brick and bridge? >> host: you did a great photo. you are out of the business and i've gone through that. hee hee you feel like you have more in you to give and get you on the sidelines. all kinds of things are happening that you get another opportunity in los angeles lapd. i mean the third-largest department in the united states. i don't think there's any department other than maybe new york that people have seen more in movies and tv and so forth and it's a long career. you mentioned dragnet of most tv programs. they were la-based finale was going through a crisis. they were under consent decree and in fact you started as one of the monitors. your predecessor fought the
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consent decree. you and braced the consent decree. why? >> guest: that it's an example of sometimes it's an insider. extraordinarily prideful individual but had brightened in his department despite all of its flaws so would not accept criticism of the department which he felt was criticism of him. he was never going to accept it and thought it tooth and nail so the mayor at that time understood the necessity for consent decree to keep the federal government from taking over the department and decided and he was told if you get rid of this police chief you will not be affected mayor and he said i have to do it and he did it and he did not get reelected largely for the fact despite my
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own success coming in particularly the african-americans which is very influential in small community in los angeles but extraordinarily influential and paid did not vote for the second time and it cost them the election but that's a leader who gave of himself for the greater cause. i'd like to thank some of my great satisfaction. he was proven right that to achieve what he wanted to achieve if you want a consent decree most importantly improve race relations between the department and the black community. we really understand the history of policing but that the heart most literally at war for years at worth it. nurse seen anything like it and i came out of it very bitter
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experience of desegregation in the 70s but l.a. was a different kettle of fish altogether. >> host: one of the things i found interesting when i was reading the book was the chapter you have about your relationships with the black community and a couple that you point out alice harris, sweet alice as you call her and condi rice who made a living -- and became a partner and helped them to this day i mean she just tells it -- >> guest: she is a force of nature. >> host: you also had a couple of guys officers a.j. thomas and lieutenant. >> guest: fred booker, man fred. >> host: it reminded me of some my experience is that you were able to build those
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relationships that have been strained for so long. talk a little bit about that and why is it so important that the police department really takes an action step to reach out and develop strong relationships pushing the lever committees of color? >> the lack of trust the acceleration of lack of trust which cause george floyd's tragic death in so many things going on in the country this time and the resurgence of systemic racism in so much of the politics in the country that i learned early on that my experience the importance of not judging people and i was benefited by great college courses i took thanks to the federal government something that i deeply believed in getting cops educated. early on i understood this idea
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of understanding the history of something. i talk about this in the book and it's used all the time. my wife and i when we were leaving sweet alice is on the show and out of the deep south and move to california like so many in the 50s and 60s and became one of the most for most committee leaders in los angeles. it's almost all latino now but one of the first meeting she stood up and said chief rats and we like you -- chief bratton we like you and i'll have your back. and she had it for the years i was there. a lot of people in l.a. tried to stick knives in it but she was very good at having my back. fred is a black lieutenant who
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had incredible difficult experiences growing up in the deep south in the midst of the state he's with segregation issues and those crazy states at that time. as we are leaving in 2009 back east sweet alice we go see her for the last time and she gave us a hug and she says you know chief do you know why he would like you so much and i said no sweet alice y. is bad? she said ucs. you really see us and i talk about it in the look it's the highest accolade i've ever received because i cared so much for that woman and understood the issue of race. we don't realize is the original sin that will carry forward. to talk about this you aren't going to solve the race issue in this country until we own up to it but you aren't going to solve it without the police.
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we are so involved. you have a wonderful speech he gave in the talked about -- that thread the center thread if you will. i used that expression and i began the conversation and at the funeral i use the term in the funeral we are never going to solve this problem of this hatred of men in blue hatred of blacks hatred of latinos until we see each other. joe biden was in the audience and now president biden who is very frequently was here. president biden used the expression we see you and he was very taken with it because it's
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simplistic that but it says it all, doesn't it? we need to see each other. >> host: at his absolute powerful. a different phrase in saying that police have to learn to save policing through the eyes of those being policed as opposed to just saying it through our lens that blue lens. >> use the expression of looking in the mirror at the way other people cs, wonderful. >> host: let's fast-forward because we are running out of time and i want to talk about current issues. you go back to nypd and one thing i found interesting and i don't want to spend too much time on the second tour of nypd because i want to get into the funding and the current issues facing us but one thing that really struck me in your book was when you said your first time around new york was in a crisis of crime. this time we are in a crisis of
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trust. >> i thought that was very powerful and very reflective of the times we are in right now. hispanic it is a crisis. soon i talk about that in the context of the aftermath of the defending -- defunding police. you touch on those in the last chapter. >> guest: i am an advocate of principles of policing and the first one is that basic mission for which we exist is to prevent crime and disorder and we spend time responding to cramond didn't focus on prevention. the concept of partnership with community and what are the problems the committee wants addressed and work together a shared responsibility to deal with them and prevent them from coming back in the 90s a much simpler time much more dangerous time than what we are
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experiencing at that moment the police role was to deal with crime and changes we have brought about in the 90s helped to deal more effectively with crime but we also began to focus on quality-of-life style and if you're only going to deal with the anything that will immediately kill you and regret that -- forget those things that will kill you two weeks later you're going to die anyway. 9/11 changed everything and as you know the funding went to terrorism and in 2006 and 2007 smartphones come along kindle google and the world of social media exploded and created so many challenges for a cyber crime the ability for the expansion and human trafficking and the technology of drones we have to worry about. the policing world of the 20 centuries of nightmare and we would receive resources to deal
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with and so as they come forward to 2021 the era we are in now but we don't have the responsibility of dealing with it any longer the issue is this defunding movement which i attack so vigorously as we all do this idea that this political #is driving policy. they were going to defund the police. there's a real appreciation for the present right now what is necessary is refunding waste training cops and keep training them on all these new tools complicit by a strained de-escalation training drug awareness training. it takes money and cities don't want to pay money to have cops said in a classroom but they want them on the street and is the bane of our excess and so maybe this time we can convince them if you want us to deal more effectively with an emotional
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disorder drug issues homelessness you are going to have to train us better because i believe quite frankly we are going to fail once again to address those issues by creating new entities. the money is not going to be there. we be institutionalized mental hospitals and we decriminalized a lot of laws we had to work with. defund the police decriminalizing we have all is criminal justice reform is driving us crazy and in philadelphia or home city federal judges stopped stop-and-frisk and they tell the person to move along. the challenges of the 21st century are enormous. the good news coming out of this the tragic death of floyd really caused a racial awakening on
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precedent in this country. we will see how that goes moving forward but it also is causing a re-examination of what police do and why we do it and we continue to do it or should it be given to someone else? we are going to have some responsibilities we need to be refunded and like yourself i'd than that of a long time and i remained ops -- optimistic even in the midst of this racial tension that we are still doing with this flock of trust. the 90s we had trust to restore because we dealt with crime. a mighty city of new york city overall crime is down 80% since 2019 and the overall country was down -- 40%. the cops could do something
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about crime. we will have to prove once again on 21st century crime at this time let's do something about race relations also. >> host: our time is winding down and i just want to thank you for the opportunity to sit with you and have this discussion and again i see it over your shoulder but i have my copy, "the profession." let me tell you something this is a very good book. it is -- you not only talk about your career and the issues you are confronted with you are actually teaching a lot in this book and you go into the description of qualified them immunity and i found that to be very worthwhile. anyone who's interested in
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leadership they should read this book because it's written by one of the foremost leaders not only in policing but
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future on tv. >> i have taylor, and i'm here with

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