William J. Bratton was publicly sworn in on Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio
as commissioner of the New York Police Department, the second time in two
decades that he is leading the nation’s largest police force.
William J. Bratton on the Issues
Bratton Gives Revolving Door One More Spin (December 24, 2013)
City Room: An Interview With the Next Police Commissioner of New York City (
December 23, 2013)
Times Topic: William J. Bratton
Connect With NYTMetro
Metro Twitter Logo.
Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation.
A day after officially taking over the department early Wednesday at a
private midnight ceremony, Commissioner Bratton stood before a packed hall
at Police Headquarters in Lower Manhattan and promised a new era of policing
in the city.
He began his speech by saying, “Who says you can’t come home again.”
During his address, Mr. Bratton promised “a collaboration unlike any that
we have ever seen in this city” between the police and the people they
He said he would seek to understand the “disconnect” that had prevented
the department from being celebrated for its accomplishments in delivering a
safe city in recent years and instead was met with distrust in many
communities. “That’s why I came back,” he said.
A law enforcement leader with international renown, Mr. Bratton, 66, returns
to a department he last ran in the 1990s, when the task before him was to
reduce crime. On Wednesday, he succeeded Raymond W. Kelly, whom he also
replaced in 1994.
The city has grown safer since then, recording fewer than 340 murders in
2013 compared with about 1,500 in 1994. But the practices of the Police
Department, especially in minority neighborhoods where crime stubbornly
remains, became the focal point of Mr. de Blasio’s successful campaign.
Promises to reform the department were instrumental to his victory.
Mr. Bratton, who becomes the city’s 42nd police commissioner, must now try
to make good on the pre-election rhetoric of the man who picked him to
better relations between the Police Department and minorities, especially to
change the stop-and-frisk tactics that have sown distrust in many quarters.
Mr. Kelly, who has staunchly defended the practices as being a legitimate
anticrime tactic, did not attend Thursday’s ceremony. But Mr. Bratton did
praise his predecessor’s record.
Mr. Bratton will most likely draw on his experience in Los Angeles, where he
led a police force, which had become synonymous with corruption and
brutality, out from under a federal consent decree in the 2000s. He reached
out there to the department’s critics early on, and won over most of them
by the time he stepped down in 2009, despite a doubling in the number of
stop-and-frisk encounters during his tenure.
Mr. Bratton has applied a similar playbook so far in New York, meeting with
minority leaders and the department’s ardent critics almost immediately
after his selection was announced last month.
Addressing the rank-and-file officers on Thursday, Mr. Bratton sought to
reassure them that he would be a strong defender of their interests, as well
. How much the officers on the street support him will probably be a
significant factor in maintaining a level of safety that New Yorkers have
come to expect.
After leaving the New York Police Department in 1996, Mr. Bratton took a
number of security positions and founded his own consulting company; he was
widely sought as an adviser for police departments across the country and
the world. In recent years, he served as chairman of Kroll, the private
security and investigations company, and on the boards of Motorola
Corporation and ShotSpotter, a gunshot-detection technology company. In
those positions, he has emphasized the importance of collaboration in
business and law enforcement success.
Mr. Bratton closed by addressing 10 members of the most recent Police
Department academy class, who graduated last week and were seated at the
front of the hall, which was filled with policing leaders from around the
“Everyday you get the opportunity to do good,” he said. “It doesn’t get
any better than that.”