NEW YORK – Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has chosen former NYPD commissioner William Bratton to lead the department again.
De Blasio made the announcement on Thursday. Bratton is arguably the most important administration appointment for the incoming mayor. He will succeed Ray Kelly, the NYPD’s longest-serving police commissioner.
Bratton is being named to lead the NYPD as it tries to maintain a historic drop in crime and an extensive counterterrorism program, even as its tactics have come under increased scrutiny.
De Blasio called Bratton “a proven crime-fighter.”
“He knows what it takes to keep a city safe and make communities full partners in the mission,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Together, we are going to preserve and deepen the historic gains we’ve made in public safety — gains Bill Bratton helped make possible.”
Bratton ran the NYPD from 1994 to 1996, when he worked for Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Their tactics are largely credited with beginning a sharp decrease in the city’s crime rate.
“This is the best police force in the nation and we are going to ensure our men and women have the best technology, the most innovative tactics and the strong support of the communities they protect,” said Bratton. “This department will not rest on its laurels. We are going to continue making history as the safest big city in America.”
Bratton has also led the Boston and Los Angeles police departments. He has worked for several private security firms since 2009.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said de Blasio made “a smart choice for New York.”
“As the former Police Commissioner of Boston, Los Angeles and New York, Bill Bratton took on and successfully reined in historically high crime in some of the nation’s largest cities,” Cuomo said. “I commend Mayor Elect de Blasio on his pick and congratulate Bill Bratton on his appointment.”
PBA president Patrick Lynch said Bratton was “a solid choice.”
“Commissioner Bratton has an international reputation as a problem solver and innovator,” Lynch said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Commissioner Bratton to improve the morale of our officers and to support the shield we wear.”
De Blasio, who also interviewed NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks and First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro before selecting Bratton, has stressed he will continue the city’s record public safety gains while improving police-community relations, which he said he believes have been strained by stop-and-frisk.
Bratton has said he supports the proper use of the tactic. Police stops surged 49 percent during his time in Los Angeles, according a study by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.