cover image Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic

Turnaround: How America's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic

William Bratton. Random House (NY), $28 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-679-45251-5

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. (Feb.)