When one thinks of a leader, what type of person do we think of? Is that individual a hero that we see on television, a cartoon character, a family member, or is that person a public servant? Regardless of occupation and title, a leader is a person who inspires others and they know how to motivate people. “When they arrive, you see something about them that stands out. The inner strength of their leadership ability emerges”. (Gonzalez, 2007, February 1). Leaders are individuals in your area of work who are focused on the tasks at hand and they have a clear and concise vision on what their respective organizations are set out to do. How do you know if you are being an effective leader? A leader is a person who is looked up to and has a plan to get things accomplished. Within groups, a leader is the person who makes the final decision for the group and it is a person who is motivated to see success for their organization. “A leader is on a quest and you can see it”. (Gonzalez, 2007, February 1).
In the area of law enforcement, Bob Vernon states that there are six questions that every law enforcement officer leader should ask to see if they are being effective leaders. Vernon states that each law enforcement leader should look in the mirror and ask themselves if their organization has the following: a.) Direction, b.) Teamwork, c.) Staff development, d.) Principles, values, and policies, e.) Communication, and f.) controls (Vernon 60-62).
Few officers were more of a leader than William Joseph “Bill” Bratton was. Bratton was born on October 6, 1947 in Dorchester, Massachusetts which is a suburb of Boston. He attended Boston Technical High School and graduated in 1965. Bratton went on to serve in the military and he served in the Vietnam War during the 1960’s. Bratton began his police career with the Boston Police Department in 1970. Within ten years he rose to the rank of Superintendent. During Bratton’s police career he held the position of Superintendent with three of the largest police agencies in the world. Bratton served with the Boston Police Department from 1991-1993, the New York City Police Department from 1994-1996, and lastly with the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002-2009.
During Bratton’s tenure with the New York Police Department, the work he did resulted in dramatic change in the level of crime in the city. For example, murder rates dropped from 2,500 per year to just less than 1,000 per year. Shootings fell from 6,000 to 3,000 a year and robberies from 85,000 to approximately 50,000 per year. (Blair, 2002, September, 23).