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Bratton Selected by De Blasio to Return as NYPD Commissioner

Image: Bratton Selected by De Blasio to Return as NYPD Commissioner

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 11:02 AM

New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio chose William Bratton to be the city’s next police commissioner, returning him to the job he held for two years until he resigned in 1996 after a falling-out with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Bratton, 66, served as Boston police commissioner before arriving in New York in 1994 to lead the NYPD, and was chief of the Los Angeles police department from 2002 to 2009. Since then, he’s been a security consultant and was chairman of Kroll, a corporate-investigations firm, for two years until 2012. De Blasio made the announcement today at a news briefing in Brooklyn.

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The new commissioner will take over a 34,000-officer department. He must continue to reduce crime while refining the stop-and-frisk street tactics that de Blasio campaigned against, saying they damaged police-community relations. He’ll also be responsible for a 1,000-officer division devoted to terrorism investigations and prevention that has been criticized for its surveillance of Muslims.

“This is a strong appointment of a proven police leader with a national reputation for reducing crime and earning community respect,” said Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan and a member of de Blasio’s transition committee. “Bill Bratton wrestled with the same problems as ours in Los Angeles. He dealt with a court- ordered federal monitor. He created a counter-terrorism task force. His appointment will resonate very positively with the rank and file.”

Time Cover

His 27-month stint heading the NYPD began a 20-year period in which crime dropped 74 percent, an achievement Travis attributed in part to CompStat, a system Bratton pushed that uses a database to map, categorize and time-stamp crimes to begin managing dangerous neighborhoods.

Bratton’s relationship with Giuliani soured after the commissioner appeared on the Jan. 15, 1996, cover of Time magazine with the caption, “Finally, we’re winning the war against crime. Here’s why.” Giuliani, a former prosecutor, wasn’t mentioned.

He will take over the department at a time of contentious negotiations now in arbitration over a labor contract that expired years ago.

Bratton was an early advocate of community policing, involving street patrols and engagement with civic and religious leaders.

Broken Windows

He also was a proponent of the “broken windows” concept of law enforcement, a theory introduced in 1982 by sociologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling that linked neighborhoods’ social cohesiveness -- clean streets, no graffiti and lack of petty street crime -- to reducing assaults, robberies and other felonies.

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Bratton will be the city’s first new commissioner in 12 years, succeeding Raymond Kelly, 72, chosen by Mayor Michael Bloomberg while smoke still billowed from the ruins of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bloomberg, 71, is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

Since Kelly became commissioner, crime declined by 31 percent, according to NYPD statistics. Kelly’s stint also represented a return to the post after he had served as former Mayor David Dinkins’ commissioner in 1993.

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