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In Collaborate or Perish! former Los Angeles police chief and New York police commissioner William Bratton and Harvard Kennedy School’s Zachary Tumin lay out a field-tested playbook for collaborating across the boundaries of our networked world. Today, when everyone is connected, collaboration is the game changer. Agencies and firms, citizens and groups who can collaborate, Bratton and Tumin argue, will thrive in the networked world; those who ...
In Collaborate or Perish! former Los Angeles police chief and New York police commissioner William Bratton and Harvard Kennedy School’s Zachary Tumin lay out a field-tested playbook for collaborating across the boundaries of our networked world. Today, when everyone is connected, collaboration is the game changer. Agencies and firms, citizens and groups who can collaborate, Bratton and Tumin argue, will thrive in the networked world; those who can’t are doomed to perish.
No one today is better known around the world for his ability to get citizens, governments, and industries working together to improve the safety of cities than William Bratton. At Harvard, Zachary Tumin has led senior executives from government and industry in executive sessions and classrooms for over a decade, burnishing a global reputation for insight and leadership. Together, Bratton and Tumin draw on in-depth accounts from Fortune 100 giants such as Alcoa, Wells Fargo, and Toyota; from masters of collaboration in education, social work, and the military; and from Bratton’s own storied career. Among the specific strategies they reveal:
• Start collaboration with a broad vision that supporters can add to and make their own
• Rightsize problems, and get value in the hands of users fast
• Get the right people involved—from sponsors to grass roots
• Make collaboration pay in the right currency—whether recognition, rewards, or revenue
Today companies and managers face unique challenges—and opportunities—in reaching out to others, thanks to the incredibly connected world in which we live. Bratton and Tumin provide practical strategies anyone can use, from the cubicle to the boardroom. This is the ultimate guide to getting things done in today’s networked world.
The NYPD had people bluffed, as I later wrote in my first book looking back at the time. They had the reputation as the greatest crime-fighting machine in the history of policing, but to me the big blue wall was a lot of blue smoke and a few mirrors.
They were good at responding to crime, they just weren't very good at preventing it. They weren't even trying to prevent it. They were just cleaning up around it.
The NYPD, like many departments, was "all response, all the time." The 911 dispatch system created in the 1970s had democratized policing: it was no longer "who you knew downtown." Now, any citizen could mobilize the department with a free call from a pay phone. And millions did. Police were racing across the city from call to call.
But the 911 system didn't dent crime much--the onslaught of crack, disorder, and guns in the 1980s and '90s saw to that. A single citizen could make hundreds--even thousands--of calls complaining about nuisance gangs, drugs, and prostitutes on the same corner. Officers responded every time, but nothing changed. It was like shoveling sand against the tide--the tide kept coming back.
Remember the precinct house nicknames of the time--"Fort Apache, the Bronx" or "Little House on the Prairie"? That's what American policing had become: isolated outposts, controlling little outside its four walls--or outside the cruiser. The 911 dispatch kept cops in cars, windows rolled up, AC blasting, racing to calls or on "random" patrol in between, intending to deter crime by their mere presence.
As New York City's police commissioner, I quickly set out to establish a new form of policing, one that required collaboration not only between all areas of the department, but also with other agencies and the public. My goal was to transform the city and the American police profession.
It all starts with a vision, I told the department: as good as we are, we can do better. But we can't do it alone.
The path forward--the new platform for policing New York--came to be known as CompStat.
"When have you guys ever addressed crime?" Jack Maple, my right hand at the New York Transit Police Department and now at the NYPD, was digging in. John Timoney, a twenty-five-year NYPD veteran and now my chief of department, had called Maple out for his comment to a reporter. "Those guys over there at the NYPD have given up on crime fighting," Maple had said.
Timoney pointed to this operation and that, and cited his stellar service as commander of New York's 5th Precinct on the Lower East Side. Maple would have none of it. "Your Narcotics Bureau works nine to five, Monday through Friday. The Warrant squad is off weekends. Auto crimes, off weekends. Robbery squad, off weekends. The whole place takes weekends and nights--just when the criminal element gets down to work."
And that was the problem.
To transform the city, I knew, my team and I would have to start with the NYPD. To succeed, I needed believers and doers. I screened the incoming command staff and promoted my own leaders over the heads of others--Timoney among them, and Louis Anemone, who would be chief of patrol. My inner staff was made up of longtime NYPD partisans--but commanders who were loyal to me, who understood and bought into my vision: the NYPD could do better, and this was the way.
Maple had been through this before with me when years earlier I reorganized the New York Transit Police Department. Metropolitan Transit Authority president David Gunn had told me at the time that fare beating was bleeding the MTA dry; disorder was shrinking ridership. There was brand-new capital waiting to be poured into rebuilding the subways--but the subways were out of control. He needed them tamed.
I concentrated patrols where the problem was highest, and ran high-visibility mass arrests. We were able to bring fare beating on the subways down from 170,000 per day to the point where it fell so low that the MTA stopped tracking it. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about this "tipping point" phenomenon in his book of the same name.
But I also learned something that stuck with me: many fare beaters tend to have character flaws. One in seven was wanted on a warrant or probation and parole violation. One in twenty-one carried an illegal weapon.
And that got the cops going: an arrest for fare beating wasn't just about writing a paper summons anymore. Now it was about making felony collars. And when fare beating went away, crime fell, and so, too, did the sense of disorder. And when it did, ridership returned. The MTA coffers began to fill again; the capital plan could go forward. That was the idea.
Take care of the small stuff, shake the tree for information, and you head off the big stuff. Take a fare beater or a low-level drug dealer off the street, and whatever criminal behavior he had in mind goes away with him. You can control behavior to such an extent that you can change it. That was the broken windows theory in practice.1
1 The "broken windows" theory was articulated by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the March 1982 issue of The Atlantic: "Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Policing."
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