In the turmoil after the killings of two New York City police officers, Police Commissioner William Bratton has emerged “not only as a steadying presence in a nervous city but also as a respected national voice from the officers' perspective on race and policing,” says the Washington Post. This week, he brokered a rare meeting to reduce the very public tension between Mayor Bill de Blasio and leaders of the police union, some of whom have blamed the mayor's past comments on police tactics for the shooting.
Bratton appeared on national talk shows to support the mayor and defend the police, arguing that rank-and-file officers and chiefs feel under attack even “from the federal government at the highest levels.” Bratton, 67, alternates between pronouncements that represent the interests of the officers he leads and statements of support for the mayor at whose pleasure he serves. It remains unclear whether he can succeed at repairing relations and bolster his reputation as an innovator, one he forged as the city's top cop under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s, before heading west to lead the Los Angeles police for seven years. “He came back to New York with a lot of credibility,” Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said of Bratton, whom he described as “filling a vacuum in consistent leadership” in the city. “The members of the NYPD are watching him very carefully.”