As Paul Browne prepares to step aside as the longest-tenured chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, the New York Times profiles the pivotal insider’s position. John Miller, a television reporter who served as deputy commissioner for public information under Commissioner William Bratton, said the position provides “a 360-degree view of the Police Department.” Some say the job has become even more crucial because so few commanders are allowed to speak to the media on a regular basis.
Steve Davis, a retired police captain who worked in the public information office from 1987 to 1991, said the deputy commissioner's chief task in his time was to quickly provide details about crimes and investigations. “A lot of the speaking about the local crime issues was delegated to some of the field commanders,” he said. Now, the flow of information is much more centralized. “Other than Paul Browne, I can't name a single person in D.C.P.I. now,” Davis said.