The Atlantic

Bill Bratton: What Beat Cops Can Teach Counterterrorists

The one-time top cop in New York and Los Angeles on why homeland security is hometown security

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Former New York and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton discussed the connection between police work and counterterrorism in a conversation with ABC News' Pierre Thomas at the Washington Ideas Bratton, who has worked in city police departments since 1970 and is widely credited with helping to bring a historic reduction of crime to New York in the 1990s, said that much of the nationwide reduction in crime came after a revolution in police thinking. It was "the belief that police can prevent crime, we shouldn't just be responding to it." A generation of police leaders, of which Bratton was a leader, learned to be proactive by developing sources, working with communities, and "relentless follow-up." That same model, he said, has now spread to federal counterterrorism agencies. "If you think about it, that's the recipe for dealing with terrorism."

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