Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has promoted Benjamin Tucker as the first deputy commissioner of the NYPD.
Tucker, 63, was promoted Wednesday to the second-in-command position less than a week after Chief Philip Banks, who was expected to receive the promotion, resigned unexpectedly.
Tucker, a Bedford-Stuyvesant native, joined the department in 1969 as an 18 year old high school graduate. He later went on to earn degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Fordham University School of Law.
At a swearing-in ceremony,Bratton said he believes Tucker has “more than enough capability, talent, inspiration and love for this department.”
Bratton said Tucker brings a “strong legal background” to the role, along with his “collaborative” nature and experience working with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates complaints made against NYPD officers. The commissioner said part of Tucker’s duties will be accelerating the department’s internal cases, adding he doesn’t like to see cases drag on for two or three years.
Tucker, who will also oversee the police academy as part of his duties, said the department is giving a careful look at how and when officers use force, and are proposing new tactics for academy students and refresher courses for seasoned officers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said later Wednesday he has gotten to know Tucker over the last year and has been “impressed” by him, and called the new first deputy commissioner as an “intelligent, visionary leader.”
De Blasio said Tucker understands “modern” law enforcement approaches from both a leadership standpoint and his roots as a beat cop in the department.
City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement she was “pleased” with Tucker’s appointment.
“The makeup of NYPD’s top officials must reflect the full diversity of New York City as we seek to strengthen police-community relations which for too long have been strained,” Mark-Viverito said.
Last week, de Blasio and other local officials expressed disappointment at Bank’s sudden “retirement” for “professional reasons.”
On Friday, Banks, 50, sent out a Twitter message saying he was leaving the department.
Reuters reported that New York City council members Jumaane Williams and Vanessa Gibson believed Banks did not accept the first deputy commissioner promotion because he viewed it as a position without much power.
Public Advocate Letitia James said she was concerned that 10 months into the new administration a “top uniformed police officer believed that he has to resign.”
Council member Andy King, who serves as co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, said Banks had been a “familiar face in our communities of color,” and called his departure a “big loss” and “black eye for the NYPD.”