For the second time, William Bratton will succeed Raymond Kelly as Police Commissioner of New York City.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced Bratton’s appointment this morning. He previously served from 1994 to 1996, directly following current Commissioner Kelly’s first tenure at One Police Plaza.
The announcement was made at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, a diversionary court that sanctions certain low-level offenders to community service or drug counseling.
“I have to tell you, for years I've gotten to know the work of this extraordinary (man), he epitomizes what I believe in, in terms of a progressive approach to public safety,” de Blasio said.
During his tenure, Bratton instituted “hot-spot policing” (deploying cops where the crimes are occurring) and introduced CompStat, a computer-based system intended to hold precinct commanders and top brass accountable for crime reduction and prevention in their areas of responsibility.
Finally, he implemented quality-of-life (so-called “broken windows”) policing, while greatly increasing the use of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic.
Stop-and-frisk refers to the police practice of stopping civilians, without probable cause, because there is reason to suspect a crime has or may soon occur. New York City has been at the epicenter of a national debate over the tactic, which mayor Michael Bloomberg and Kelly credit with helping decrease crime during the last decade.
But de Blasio opposes the widespread use of stop-and-frisk and in August a federal judge called the policy unconstitutional. The decision included orders for immediate changes to the program, and a monitor to supervise reforms.
“Public safety and respect for the public are not contradictory, they are complementary ideas,” de Blasio said during this morning’s press conference.
“We're not going to proceed with a system in which 90 percent of people stopped are innocent,” de Blasio said.
Bratton said he intended to reduce stop-and-frisk by building better relations between police and residents in high crime areas. He displayed a children’s book about the NYPD that he read in 1956, called “Your Police.”
“In this city, I want every New Yorker to talk about 'Their Police' with respect and confidence,” Bratton said.
Bratton has also previously served as top cop in Boston and Los Angeles.
The Crime Report recently took an in-depth look at what Bratton would bring to the job, if appointed. Contributing editor Joe Domanick wrote:
He can make a strong statement that the NYPD is no longer the department of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
Or he can proceed cautiously, cognizant that he's dealing with an institution that has dramatically decreased New York's crime rate every year for the past 20 years—reducing homicides, robberies, and auto thefts by over 75 percent, nearly twice the rate of the rest of the nation.
Whatever change is in store for the NYPD, it's a sure bet that it will also have an impact on big-city policing across America.
Read Domanick’s full piece HERE.
Graham Kates is Deputy Managing Editor of The Crime Report. He welcomes comments from readers. He can be found on Twitter @GrahamKates.