Book Excerpt: Juan Williams' 'We the People'

Read an excerpt of Juan Williams' new book "We the People."

ByABC News
April 3, 2016, 6:00 AM

— -- Reprinted from WE THE PEOPLE: THE MODERN-DAY FIGURES WHO HAVE RESHAPED AND DEFINED THE FOUNDING FATHERS’ VISION OF AMERICA Copyright © 2016 by Juan Williams. To be published by Crown publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, on April 5.

When a famous tough-on-crime prosecutor, Rudy Giuliani, became mayor of New York in 1993, he hired a police chief who had had success in restoring a sense of safety to the subway system—Bill Bratton.

The former Boston policeman arrived as head of the New York transit police system in 1990, when a record number of felonies—from outright assaults to snatching chains from passengers’ necks and petty theft—made a simple train ride into a hellish venture. Bratton had graduated from a technical high school in Boston, then served during Vietnam in the Army’s Military Police Corps. His first job out of the military was with the Boston police.

At thirty-two, just ten years after joining the force, he became second-in-command of the Boston police. An ambitious supervisor looking to advance further up the ranks, he developed a reputation as an attention seeker. When he boldly told a reporter he wanted the top job, the brassy display of ambition rankled his boss and got him demoted. What is clear about Bratton is that he did not fit the image of previous generations of head-busting, brass-knuckled Irish policemen. He was not willing to patiently wait for his turn to take charge according to the rules of seniority that kept the police a closed society, much like a fraternity. Instead, Bratton’s ambition opened him to any good idea and any effective manager willing to be loyal to him. In particular, he became interested in the idea of using new computer technology to see where crime was being committed and to track the identity of people regularly behind crimes. The old guard of policemen bucked when Bratton suggested that crime rates could be brought down by observing crime patterns with innovative computer technology. They saw it as a threat to their old way of doing business; Bratton did not care. He saw it as a way to make a name for himself and gain promotion.

Bratton was not happy waiting in line, and his ambition to run a police force led him to leave Boston. He won the job as chief of New York’s transit police and served from 1990 to 1992. During this time he first met Rudy Giuliani, the famed prosecutor who had narrowly lost a race to become mayor. In the big-city subways he put added staff behind an effort that began before he arrived to get graffiti off train cars and get the homeless out of stations. The idea was to demonstrate to the public and to the criminals that police had control of the subway system.