William Bratton begins his second stint as New York City police commissioner with an immediate challenge: He and his new boss want to make changes in the way the New York Police Department operates while maintaining or improving on the city’s record-low crime rate, says the Wall Street Journal. Mayor Bill de Blasio set himself apart in his campaign to lead the city partly by arguing that the tough tactics under the Michael Bloomberg administration fractured relations with minority communities, particularly blacks, Latinos and Muslims. That means Bratton arrives with a mandate to improve relations with those groups, in part by changing the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy of Bratton’s predecessor, Raymond Kelly.
De Blasio doesn’t want to change the trend of a lower crime rate that over 12 years has made New York one of the safest large cities. The 333 murders as of Dec. 29 put the city on a pace for the fewest since reliable counts were started in 1963. “There [are] always going to be people who are going to want to oppose the police,” said NYPD historian Thomas Reppetto, adding that the key will be to convert as many of them as possible to allies. “They are going to start to get as many on their side as they can.” Instances of stop and frisk peaked at 685,000 in 2010 before falling to 200,000 in 2013 as criticism and court challenges put the practice under a microscope.