Potential top cop Bill Bratton touts experience at transit safety forum

An NYPD police officer standing in front of a group of cops.
Former NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has been named as one of Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio’s possible picks for police commissioner.
Credit: Getty Images

Former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton would be “giving up an awful lot of money” to be New York Police Commissioner under Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio, he said on Tuesday.

Bratton’s name has been floated as one of de Blasio’s picks for the position of top cop.

Bratton currently has a contract as a commentator with NBC and makes a good deal of money off of public speaking engagements around the world, he said.

He said that he would also have to put his two companies in a blind trust — as, he noted, Mayor Michael Bloomberg did.

Bratton demurred when asked what makes him a better candidate than one of the other named contenders, current Chief of Department Philip Banks.

“Well that would be certainly up to others to make that determination,” he said. “I’m very comfortable with my resume, to be quite frank with you. I think it’s a good one.”

He said the reason his speech at the transit safety forum seemed to focus so heavily on his previous accomplishments was because he was trying to illustrate that the things he has focused on in the past “that were important to the public” were successful.

He bristled slightly at the mention of de Blasio’s desire to “end the era of stop-and-frisk,” a phrase de Blasio used repeatedly while campaigning.

“That’s not his goal,” Bratton said sharply. “He has never said that. He has indicated quite clearly that he wants to see it reformed.”

In fact, de Blasio did generally add that he supports the use of stop-and-frisk when does, as Bratton highlighted, “constitutionally, respectfully.” In one of de Blasio’s campaign ads, his son Dante insisted his father would “end an era of stop-and-frisk that unfairly targets people of color.”

“He quite clearly believes that less of it is necessary,” Bratton said, noting that in fact a recent report indicated the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk is on a steep decline, “and the world hasn’t come to an end.”

NYPD spokesman John McCarthy said of the decrease in stop-and-frisk: “Just as is the case with arrests, there is no predetermined or correct number of stops. Ultimately, police officers make their decisions based on real-time observations from the field – and those stops are based on reasonable suspicion.”

Public Advocate-Elect Letitia James endorsed Chief of Department Philip Banks III for police commissioner this past weekend. She agreed on Tuesday with a reporter who asked if it sounded like Bratton had been reading off his resume during his speech at the traffic safety forum.

“It sounded like an interview, and it sounded like he was campaigning,” she said.

She repeated her endorsement of Banks, recounting some of the points he made in a speech at a church on Sunday about police-community relations. She emphasized his insistence on treating “individuals like you would treat your own family members.”

But she said she agreed with many of Bratton’s points, and “if Mr. Bratton understands and appreciates and respects” the importance of issues like reforming stop-and-frisk, “then I wish him well.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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