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The Turnaround

How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic

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When Bill Bratton was sworn in as New York City's police commissioner in 1994, he made what many considered a bold promise: The NYPD would fight crime in every borough...and win.  It seemed foolhardy; even everybody knows you can't win the war on crime.  But Bratton delivered.  In an extraordinary twenty-seven months, serious crime in New York City went down by 33 percent, the murder rate was cut in half--and Bill Bratton was heralded as the most charismatic  and respected law enforcement official in America..  In this outspoken account of his news-making career, Bratton reveals how his cutting-edge policing strategies brought about the historic reduction in crime.

Bratton's success made national news and landed him on the cover of Time.  It also landed him in political hot water.  Bratton earned such positive press that before he'd completed his first week on the job, the administration of New York's media-hungry mayor Rudolph Giuliani, threatened to fire him.  Bratton gives a vivid, behind-the-scenes look at the sizzle and substance, and he pulls no punches describing the personalities who really run the city.

Bratton grew up in a working-class Boston neighborhood, always dreaming of being a cop.  As a young officer under Robert di Grazia, Boston's progressive police commissioner, he got a ground-level view of real police reform and also saw what happens when an outspoken, dynamic, reform-minded police commissioner starts to outshine an ambitious mayor.  He was soon in the forefront of the community policing movement and a rising star in the profession.  Bratton had turned around four major police departments when he accepted the number one police job in America.

When Bratton arrived at the NYPD, New York's Finest were almost hiding; they had given up on preventing crime and were trying only to respond to it.  Narcotics,  Vice,  Auto Theft, and the Gun Squads all worked banker's hours while the competition--the bad guys--worked around the clock.  Bratton changed that.  He brought talent to the top and instilled pride in the force; he listened to the people in the neighborhoods and to the cops on the street.  Bratton and his "dream team" created Compstat, a combination of computer statistics analysis and an unwavering demand for accountability.  Cops were called on the carpet, and crime began to drop.  With Bratton on the job, New York City was turned around.

Today, New York's plummeting crime rate and improved quality of life remain a national success story.  Bratton is directly responsible, and his strategies are being studied and implemented by police forces across the country and around the world.  In Turnaround, Bratton shows how the war on crime can be won once and for all.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 19, 1998 – Scant weeks after Rudy Giuliani's landslide reelection as New York's mayor, his ousted police chief returns to haunt him, `a la Banquo's ghost, in this self-serving but powerful memoir. With just-the-facts crispness, Bratton skewers his "callous" and "paranoid" former boss, whose effort to take credit for Bratton's manifold innovations caused the popular commissioner to step down after only 27 months on the job. As Bratton tells it, the struggle between the two lawmen was fueled by testosterone: in one corner, megalomaniac Rudy; in the other, the "CEO cop," a "gung-ho conscientious" civil servant nicknamed "Cannonballs," who came to see himself as a cross between Lee Iacocca and Babe Ruth. Bratton candidly reports how he spent his early years in the Boston Police Department "plotting and intriguing" to become commissioner; when his relentless courting of the media antagonized his superiors, he left to head up Boston's beleaguered Transit Police, then New York's. Both as top transit cop and then as commissioner, Bratton perfected the art of the "turnaround," mostly by linking disorder (e.g., fare evasion, panhandling, "broken windows") to more serious crimes, and by boosting cop morale by mobilizing top performers and requisitioning state-of-the-art equipment. And unlike Giuliani, who hated to be upstaged, Bratton hired a staff of renegade deputies, including Jack Maple ("a character out of Guys and Dolls") and flashy TV crime reporter John Miller. Despite a tendency to lapse into lecture-circuit pieties ("if you make unreasonable demands you get reasonable results"), Bratton comes across as a tough-minded visionary who rose above petty office politics to lead the city's rebirth.

Customer Reviews

Great read!!

I was glued to every page in this book!! Mr. Bratton brings a level of expertise in career management training to the world of Law Enforcement like no other. One of the greatest leaders in Law Enforcement in our generation, the sciences and management critiques that he brings to this book can be applied in so many ways to fields outside of law enforcement. All the ideas of applied Police Science in this book are revolutionary and easily makes this book a must read!!

The Turnaround
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Jan 20, 1998
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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