Bill Bratton to reignite NYPD ‘love affair’ as de Blasio’s top cop

Newly appointed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton holds up a children's book titled "Your Police," which he discovered in his local library in Boston in 1956 at the age of nine. He credits the book with igniting his passion for policing and his "love affair" with the NYPD. Credit: Getty Images
Newly appointed Police Commissioner Bill Bratton holds up a children’s book titled “Your Police,” which he discovered in his local library in Boston in 1956 at age 9. He credits the book with igniting his passion for policing and his “love affair” with the NYPD.
Credit: Getty Images

After what he described as countless interviews and days of deliberation, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced his pick for police commissioner.

The position is going to the candidate most believed to be the clear frontrunner: one-time NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Bratton was the NYPD’s top cop from 1994 to 1996 under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Prior to that, he led the New York City Transit Police from 1990-1992 before returning to his hometown of Boston for a stint as the BPD superintendent-in-chief and then police commissioner.

Bratton also spent seven years as the chief of police for the Los Angeles Police Department, from 2002 to 2009.

In recent years, Bratton has maintained a lucrative career in the private sector, though when his name was initially floated as a possible pick for police commissioner, he made little attempt to mask his desire for the job.

On Thursday, standing beside his new boss in a community justice center in Red Hook famous for successful community policing, Bratton thanked de Blasio for the opportunity “to once again return to this profession that I love so much.”

Bratton acknowledged that there are some who do not have confidence in his dedication to reforming stop-and-frisk and community-police relations in the way that de Blasio promised during his campaign.

“He’s laying a lot on the line with this appointment and I understand that,” Bratton said, vowing “to do everything in my power to fulfill the mayor’s dreams.”

While many politicians released statements hailing the decision, some of de Blasio’s strongest supporters were more cautious.

Communities United for Police Reform and the New York Civil Liberties Union both made sure to note their eagerness to work with Bratton, but also reminded de Blasio of the promises he had made.

“The mayor won election on the promise to close the book on the tale of two cities, and New Yorkers from all backgrounds have made clear that we will hold him to that promise,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director at the NYCLU.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, the lead attorneys representing the plaintiff in the landmark stop-and-frisk lawsuit Floyd v. City of New York, also put out a statement.

“We hope Bratton’s appointment is not a signal from de Blasio that the NYPD will be ramping up so-called broken windows policing, surveillance and numbers-driven policing,” the statement said.

In fact, earlier in the day when announcing Bratton’s appointment, de Blasio had noted their mutual support for the broken windows theory, which targets low-level, quality-of-life crimes.

“I believe fundamentally in the broken windows theory,” de Blasio said.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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