Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton will receive a high honor from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and will be sworn in next week as the president of a major organization of police chiefs, he announced today
The Queen will bestow on Bratton the honorary title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is one step below a knighthood.
British Consul-General Robert Pierce called Bratton a "great friend" who "revolutionized policing" over his 39 years in law enforcement.
"There are very few people in the world who are not just good at what they do but they also redefine their profession," he said. "Twenty years ago, police performance was measured by response time. People and governments assumed that crime was just a sad fact of modern life and all the police could do was try to get there on time. Chief Bratton changed that. He has shown that smart policing can reduce crime, that crime can be conquered."
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Bratton was grateful for the honor. "I accept it on behalf of the men and women serving the Los Angeles Police Department and the New York Police Department whose work I get to talk about and herald. The honor means quite a lot to me," he said.
Bratton will receive an ornate medal during an investiture ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, which he said was a particularly meaningful day for him.
Pierce acknowledged it is rare for Americans to receive this honor, created by King George V nearly a century ago to recognize extraordinary achievements that benefit Britain and its people.
Pierce said Bratton deserved the award for fostering a close working relationship with British police. He said both sides have learned much from each other, particularly in responding to terrorism, conducting DNA testing and community relations.
With his new title, Bratton can put the letters CBE after his name.
Meanwhile, the Major Cities Chiefs Association unanimously elected Bratton to be its new president. He will be sworn in Monday and later in the week will be in Washington, D.C., to represent the organization before Congress and endorse the creation of a National Crime Commission.
"It is an honor to represent such a constructive organization of law enforcement colleagues. Collectively, the value and effectiveness of the MCC has continual and significant impact on law enforcement worldwide," Bratton said.
The MCC is the professional organization of police executives representing the largest urban police departments in the United States and Canada.