Video Transcript

00:09 William Bratton: That first year we got a 12% crime decline. The second year we got 17%. And every year since, with the management changes that were brought about and the installation, if you will, of a system in which the talent was rising to the top because we were finding ways to identify the talent, so we could move it to the top. And let me speak to that system. And that system is something that you'll recognize in your business because most of you are probably practicing it without even knowing the name of it. The name of it in policing is called COMPSTAT, eight letters, C-O-M-P-S-T-A-T short for computer statistics. The reason it's COMPSTAT was, we had a Tandy computer, and the Tandy computer, way back when, when they still existed, only allowed us in the identification field to have eight letters. So we basically named it COMPSTAT, so that's the origin of COMPSTAT.

01:09 Bratton: COMPSTAT was the engine that, then did, and continues to, and throughout American policing today, and indeed increasingly around the world, drives law enforcement in the United States. COMPSTAT has four basic elements. In a huge city like New York with 75 precincts, number one goal of the NYPD was to reduce crime. We had developed eight strategies to support that mission. Go after car thefts, go after guns, drugs, youth crime, police corruption, traffic issues. Eight strategies that were developed by 450 members of the new team, including the 75 precinct commanders, managed from the middle. Each of them was commanding 300 officers in their precinct, three square miles. Downsize the problem to scalability.

02:01 Bratton: Those commanders, over the first year I replaced over 50% of them. A lot of them promoted up, a lot of them went to other assignments. They were in the wrong seats, we needed to get them in the right seats. Some of them left the department, they retired. But the idea was "change" create a change. But how are you going to manage that change in this huge, 50,000 person organization? That's where COMPSTAT came in. COMPSTAT had four basic elements to it, timely, accurate intelligence, gather up crime information every day, by the hour in the precincts. Pin maps, keep track of it, report it to headquarters so we can collate it and coordinate it. Timely, accurate intelligence. The NYPD for 25 years prior to that time, took its most basic, true piece of information, gathered it up twice a year to give to the FBI for the national crime reports.

02:55 Bratton: They were not using crime information to assign their resources. Timely, accurate intelligence, rapid response, put your cops on the dots. In your world, you wanna put your emphasis on where your customers are. Well, my customers were the criminals and I wanted to put my cops where they were. And I talked about crisis and how to use it, if you don't have one create it. Well, in the NYPD we had a crisis relative to crime. But the NYPD did not have a crisis of confidence about how to deal with it. Remember the first year? They got crime down 1%, first time in 25 years. We're the biggest, we're the largest, we're the best! Look what we did, got it down 1%, whop-de-dew.

03:43 Bratton: The crisis I had to create within the NYPD to get them to the 10%, was a crisis of confidence in themselves. And how did I do that? I started to point out their deficiencies, "Big, bad NYPD. You're working nine to five, Monday to Friday, your competition is out there seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Your competition, the thieves, are where you are not and that's why they're profitable and you are not.", and I gave them example after example.

04:17 Bratton: The Wanted Squad. Wanted Squad was out there basically working hours when the thieves were not home. Instead of banging on doors at 4 o'clock in the morning, they're out there banging on doors at 10 o'clock in the morning, 11 o'clock in the morning. Most of the specialized units of the NYPD were working Monday to Friday, nine to five, nobody working on weekends. Good job.

04:39 Bratton: The drug units. Drug units would go off "the set", as we called it, at 1 o'clock in the morning. When we started tracking that crime by the hour, every day, what did we very quickly see? Spikes in crime, spikes in drug dealing after 1 o'clock in the morning. What was clearly becoming evident, and you in the business world can appreciate this, we were where the customers were not. The thieves were where the customers were who were the victims. We changed that through COMPSTAT. Timely, accurate information telling us where the crime's occurring, when's it occurring, putting the cops on the dots.

05:21 Bratton: Third element was effective tactics. What's gonna work? Plain clothes, uniforms, task forces, collaboration with the federal agencies, the state agencies?

05:31 Bratton: And lastly, relentless followup. Policing was all about making the arrests and it was all over, another example of failure in the NYPD. The city was being plagued by wolf packs in the early 1990s, gangs of 15 to 20 kids who would swarm on a subway car or swarm in Times Square and just rob everybody in sight and terrorize everybody in sight. And the NYPD would make one arrest, two arrests, and they would clear the crime.

06:00 Bratton: Their measurement of success was they made an arrest. They got one out of the 14. With the relentless followup we went after all 14. We developed systems to take that first prisoner and had detectives ensure that they talked to them. What information can you give us? Let's make a deal. And, over time the word got out that you were not gonna be safe in numbers, the wolf packs, 'cause we were gonna gather up the whole wolf pack. It was about totally changing the way the department performed. And, what was the result? Better performance 'cause the cops could see, they could feel their effectiveness, they could feel the public satisfaction, the media satisfaction, the political satisfaction on what they were doing.

06:50 Bratton: COMPSTAT is your world, my world now that I'm back in the private sector. McDonald's every day, timely accurate intelligence. How many hamburgers did we sell today? Rapid response, get those hamburgers replenished the next day. Effective tactics, how do we sell more? How do we sell more products? Relentless followup, constantly churning the numbers. Walmart, every Saturday morning Walmart does COMPSTAT. Out of their headquarters, they bring people in, they teleconference them in, and what do they look at? What sold this week. Why did it sell? What didn't sell? Why didn't it sell? Timely accurate intelligence, it's the business model applied to policing.

07:31 Bratton: That's also a model that basically can be used in your personal life. I use it in my marriage to my wife at the moment. Rikki, I'm the ex-commissioner of New York City in 1997. I'm sitting at the Regency Hotel, the power, power breakfast hotel in New York, I have my window table. They still treated me pretty well as a successful police commissioner. Having breakfast with a friend. Walking across the room from the other side is this beautiful looking woman, red suit. I recognize her, Rikki Klieman from Court TV. I've known her in Boston when I was Boston Police Commissioner. She comes walking over, timely accurate intelligence. I look up at her and said, "God, Rikki, you look so beautiful. If you were single, I'd marry you." I was in the process of going through a divorce, that's why I was living at the hotel. Rikki responds, gives me a business card, "Maybe you should give me a call." We chit-chat, she's with her new boss, which has taken over Court TV, they leave. In the cab on the way back to work the boss says to her, "Rikki, he's gonna give you a call. Then Rikki says, "Nah, we exchange cards all the time." He says, "He's gonna call." He was right. As soon as she had gotten to the office, I had already called.

08:38 Bratton: So we had timely accurate intelligence, rapid response, effective tactics, took us a couple of months between our respective work schedules to get it together. Finally I could... We started off trying to do another breakfast, that didn't work. Tried to do a lunch, couldn't schedule that. Couldn't do a dinner because she was working till 10 o'clock at night with Johnnie Cochran on Court TV. We finally settled for drinks at the King Cole Bar in New York City at the St. Regis Hotel, and then two months later we were married, relentless followup.

09:10 Bratton: We're at this conference, you can COMPSTAT tonight. You're gonna be down at that sports bar, and some of you in the room here are single, timely active intelligence, you look down the end, he or she looks back at you, timely accurate intelligence. Rapid response, you send a drink over, the drink is accepted. Effective tactics, you move over. Relentless followup, the next couple of days you actually call the phone number you were given. So, COMPSTAT basically, business, government, personal life, it's the system that basically saved New York City. And what it was all about was vision, what's the goal? What are the strategies? It was about passion. What are we going to do about crime in this city? It was about the idea of inclusion. Everybody in the room from the Police Commissioner on down to the detective in the street, in a room, several hours a day, talking about crime. What is the business of the NYPD? To give you a sense of how the department was totally not focused on crime. When we began this process, and we want to require the precincts to report their crime information every day, I worked with one of the most brilliant people in crime, the late Jack Maple.

10:28 Bratton: That little Transit police lieutenant who I discovered when I was at the Transit police, but he was brilliant. He was an odd character, wore bowler hats, two-toned shoes, bow ties, double-breasted... He looked like Fatty Arbuckle, actually, that he was just... But he was the smartest guy I ever met on crime. And Jack was very anticipatory. And, he knew he was going to have to have a fight in his hands to get these crime numbers because they were used to generating them twice a year, and the idea of every day. And sure enough at that first COMPSTAT session where he talked about "We want these crime numbers every day," and sure enough from the back of the room "God, you know how long that's gonna take, how much work that is?" And Jack said, "Yeah, it'll take you 17 minutes a day." How do you know that? He went into the worst precinct in New York, the 75, the killing fields, 150 murders in 1990 in that one three-square-mile precinct with 100,000 residents. And he counted each crime report, and it took him 17 minutes in the busiest police precinct in the city. So, Jack already had the answer in anticipation of what was going to come toward him.

11:39 Bratton: So, Jack was part of that team, he was part of that inspiration. That was what began the New York miracle. It was the same process I used in the LAPD in 2002. Took longer there because the culture was much more ingrained and much more resistance to change in that organization. But it all comes back to what you do in your worlds and your businesses. Whether you're 10 people in your company, 50 people, 200, you are not going to make a profit, you are not going to succeed, if you and those around you don't share that vision and that passion.