Who will be the next NYPD police commissioner?

Joseph Esposito is seen here comforting Tatiana Timoshenko, the mother of Detective Russel Timoshenko, killed in the line of duty. Joe Lhota has named Esposito as one of his possible choices for Police Commissioner.  Credit: Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.
Joseph Esposito is seen here comforting Tatiana Timoshenko, the mother of Detective Russel Timoshenko, killed in the line of duty. Joe Lhota has named Esposito as one of his possible choices for Police Commissioner.
Credit: Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images.

The two leading mayoral candidates have thrown around several names for their potential police commissioner picks.

Democrat Bill de Blasio has made opposition to current police commissioner Ray Kelly a major point of his policing platform since about January, when he was quoted saying, “I have a lot of respect for Ray Kelly, but it’s not time for hypotheticals yet.”

Since then he’s been very clear that Kelly will be a free agent come January, should de Blasio win.

In July, he mentioned former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as a possible choice, as well as current Chief of Department Philip Banks III, the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD. Republican Joe Lhota has also expressed interest in a potential Commissioner Banks.

Lhota has praised Kelly, and said if he were interested in the job it would be his for the taking.

But should Kelly be interested in moving on — perhaps to the private sector, Lhota speculated once — Lhota has named First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, Deputy Commissioner Patrick Timlin, and Banks’ predecessor Joseph Esposito as persons of interest.

Who might we see for next year’s top cop? Metro takes a look.

Bill Bratton

Bratton was the Police Commissioner under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who has been campaigning for Lhota), though de Blasio has noted Giuliani fired Bratton. De Blasio credited former Mayor David Dinkins, his old boss, with “elevating” Bratton, though Dinkins actually chose Kelly over Bratton for police commissioner. Bratton got his start in the Boston police department, where he also did a stint between a turn in the New York Transit police in the early 90s, and his two years as NYPD police commissioner. He was also the Chief of Department for the Los Angeles Police Department for seven years. In recent years he has been in the private sector doing security consulting around the world and most recently, the city of Oakland, Calif. He also took a position as a commentator with MSNBC in June.

He has defended stop-and-frisk when it’s done respectfully and is credited with starting CompStat, the system used by the NYPD to track and target high crime areas.

Kelly and Bratton are both Vietnam War veterans.

Philip Banks III

Chief of Department Banks, a native New Yorker born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is currently the highest-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD. He is a 26-year veteran of the NYPD and was formerly the Chief of Community Affairs, making him an interesting choice for de Blasio in light of the Democrat’s emphatic interest in community policing.

Banks is a proponent of stop-and-frisk “when it’s done correctly,” though he has recounted a negative experience he had being stopped as a college student. He said one of the three cops who stopped him and some of his friends spoke disrespectfully to them.

Joseph Esposito

Joseph Esposito was the Chief of Department until his retirement this year. It was well-known he retired only due to a rule that says no uniformed officer can serve past their 63rd birthday. Esposito was known for being more comfortable on the street than in an office, and famously got between a crowd of Occupy Wall Street protestors and his own riot cops, calming a rapidly intensifying and potentially dangerous situation.

A 44-year veteran of the force, he was the longest-serving Chief of Department, serving more than 12 years in that position.

Rafael Pineiro

First Deputy Commissioner Pineiro is the longest-serving Chief of Personnel in the history of the NYPD. He has been credited with several administrative initiatives making the NYPD’s administrative processes more technologically advanced. He has been on the force for over four decades. In 1995, he founded an institution called the National Law Enforcement Explorer Academy for youth between the ages of 14 through 20 years old.

Patrick Timlin

Patrick Timlin served 22 years on the NYPD, retiring from the Department in 2002. He currently works for a security firm comprised largely of retired NYPD officers.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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