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Former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton Named New NYPD Commissioner

will bratton

(Getty)

Mayor Elect Bill De Blasio announced today that the former police commissioner William Bratton, 66, will be appointed to the top spot of the NYPD. Remembering Bratton’s tenure as NYPD commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, many New Yorkers are thrilled to be bringing back the man credited with cleaning up the city in the 1990s. Others however, especially those critical of current NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly’s tactics, are feeling a little worried.

Here is what you need to know about the upcoming top-cop in New York City:


1. He Became NYPD Commissioner in 1994 and Championed the ‘Broken Window Theory’

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Bratton became the chief of the New York City Transit Police in 1990 and, in 1994, was appointed the commissioner of the NYPD by Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Many accredit Bratton with bringing about a major change in crime prevention, putting a halt to the violence that rocked the city during the 1980s.

Bratton is a champion of the “Broken Window Theory” which states that crime is more likely in neighborhoods that look dangerous and unkept. For this reason, Bratton oversaw a huge initiative that physically cleaned up of troubled neighborhoods. During his time at the NYPD, crime fell in New York City a reported 39 percent.

Many have questioned Bratton’s relationship to De Blasio considering the differences between the objectives and leanings between the incoming mayor and Rudy Giuliani.


2. He Resigned in 1996 Amid Allegations of Shady Business Dealings

As the police commissioner, Bratton was no stranger to big buisness serving as consultants to cities and businesses across the world, as well as founding a number of his own consulting and technology ventures. In 1996 on the occasion of his resignation, the New York Times wrote,

The Commissioner, who savored his celebrity in the nation’s media capital, had made it clear for the better part of a year that he chafed under the intense scrutiny of his boss. Barely a month went by when there was not another report of a job offer from the private sector, and the Commissioner made no secret of his desire to parlay his popularity into a lucrative corporate position.

But when the offer was finally accepted, it was not with one of the high-profile companies like Disney to which his name had often been linked. Instead, it was with a little-known uniformed security company run by an old friend, and those close to Mr. Bratton acknowledged that the offer had been made quite some time ago. The Commissioner, who had been making $133,000, declined to disclose his new salary.


3. He was the Most Successful LAPD Chief Since the 70s

LA Law Enforcement

In 2002, Bratton was made the Los Angeles Police Chief and was reappointed in 2007, becoming the first chief since the 1990s to be reappointed to a second term.

When Bratton resigned in 2009, his tenure with the LAPD was almost universally praised. The Los Angeles Times wrote, “Many others echoed the mayor with praise for Bratton, who has dramatically reshaped the LAPD and pushed down crime rates since taking over in 2002.”

Even the director of the ACLU of Southern California, who often challenged Bratton over racial profiling said that Bratton’s resignation was, “a great loss for the city of Los Angeles. He believes in community policing, and he restored the confidence of the community in the LAPD. I watched three prior police chiefs run the LAPD, and the reality is that progress was not made until Chief Bratton became chief and imposed his will and values on the department”


4 He Expanded Stop & Frisk in LA

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Today Bill De Blasio quoted Bratton when he said that stop and frisk was like chemo therapy, when used in small doses it could save lives but in large doses, could kill.

Under Bratton, 875,204 people were stopped in Los Angeles during 2009. In 2008, it was found that 23 percent of those stopped in Los Angeles were black and 15 percent were “non-white” Hispanics, according to the New York Daily News. This differs from New York City under Ray Kelly where 53 percent of of New York’s 540,302 stop and frisks were done on African American New Yorkers.

In Los Angeles, 30 percent of people stop and frisked in 2008 were arrested for the things found on them, versus the 6 percent of those stopped who were arrested in New York City on average between 2002 and 20012.


5. Bratton Announced His Commitment to Preserving Civil Liberties

This morning, Bratton said at the press conference in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that his NYPD will be committed to restoring New Yorkers’ confidence in their police. He said that this will be done with constitutional law enforcement and a changing of culture that keeps people afraid of police officers.

When asked why Bratton, who has a reputation of expanding stop and frisk, would be a good fit with a reform-minded administration, De Blasio answered that Bratton’s version of the program restricted stops to situations in which there was actual probable cause. The days of stopping people based solely on the color of their skin, De Blasio said, is over in New York City.

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