NYPD Commissioner Candidates: Celebrity Figure Bratton vs. Untested Banks


If there's a phrase to describe the feeling among much of New York City's law enforcement community about Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's selection of a police commissioner, that phrase is high anxiety, says Leonard Levitt on the NYPD Confidential blog. No one — maybe not even de Blasio himself — is certain whom he will appoint.

De Blasio has met with two candidates: Bill Bratton and Philip Banks. The two are as different as chalk and cheese, Levitt says. Bratton is the internationally acclaimed celebrity figure who successfully ran police departments in Boston, Los Angeles and New York, where in 1994 he instituted what he called “pro-active” policing. Banks, who since March has been the NYPD's Chief of the Department, its highest ranking uniformed officer, is virtually unknown to the public. He is also the highest-ranking black officer. What little name recognition he has, he owes to Commissioner Ray Kelly, who has over-promoted him over the past five years, jumping him over many higher-ranking chiefs. After reviewing Banks’ lack of management experience, Levitt calls him “untested.”

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