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Report: Los Angeles police chief spends one-third of time out of town

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES- The police chief of the second-largest U.S. city spent more than one-third of last year--125 days--traveling out of town on business or personal trips, a newspaper reported.

Chief William Bratton, who leaves Thursday for a nine-day business trip to Israel, told the Los Angeles Times the city benefits from information he gathers about law enforcement when he visits other cities.

Bratton released his travel records at the request of the Times, the newspaper reported Saturday.

"There is a value to Los Angeles," Bratton said. "Oftentimes it results in money coming to the city. New ideas are brought back. There is a value to me in terms of staying aware of what changes are occurring in my profession."

But critics say his extensive travels mean he has been out of town at crucial moments, including the day after terrorists bombed the London subway and the day a Los Angeles Police Department officer shot to death a toddler being held by her father while he shot at police.

"I'm very concerned because what it indicates to me is the chief of police is on the make for some higher position," said Melanie Lomax, a former police commissioner.

Bratton's travels are accepted by other city leaders who see the chief as a great ambassador for Los Angeles.

"Year after year, Chief Bratton has delivered results for our city," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "He is one of the country's foremost experts on local policing and one of the most innovative leaders in law enforcement."

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