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New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, who the New York Times calls “the most widely recognized face in American policing,” is resigning next month to enter the private sector. Taking over is his department’s top uniformed officer, Chief James O’Neill, a veteran police commander who became an officer in 1983. Bratton’s move apparently will end his 45-year career in public life that included top posts in Boston, Los Angeles, and twice in New York City.
Richard Aborn of the private Citizens Crime Commission of New York City praised Bratton’s “relentless innovation” and called him “the father of modern policing and an architect of the greatest decline in crime in the history of our country.” His departure was announced this afternoon at a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“It’s now time for me to move on.” Bratton said.
After de Blasio was elected, he brought Bratton back for a second stint at the helm of the nation’s largest police force in 2014 and has consistently turned to his top police commander during the rockiest moments of his tenure. Bratton, 68, had said he would not remain in a second term if de Blasio is re-elected next year, but he was not expected to leave so soon. Bratton said the timing decision was his own. His legacy has been defined by aggressive efforts to fight crime in New York City in the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.