By Andrea Karshan
In somewhat of a surprise announcement,NYPD Commissioner William Bratton today announced his resignation and Mayor Bill de Blasio quickly announced NYPD Chief of Department James (Jimmy) O’Neill to replace him as the City’s next police commissioner.
Bratton who served as police commissioner in the 1990s returned to that role in 2014 to replace Raymond Kelly. O’Neill, born and raised in East Flatbush, has served in the NYPD for over 30 years raising through the ranks from being a beat transit cop to nearly every uniformed position before his 2014 appointment to Chief of Department.
The news broke on the same day that all the borough’s precincts are hosting their annual National Night Out Against Crime.
“As the architect of our neighborhood policing program, Jimmy O’Neill has built a national model for bringing police and the community together to fight crime. As the top-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD, Jimmy has spent each day ensuring that New York City remains the safest big city in America,” said de Blasio.
“Thanks to Bill Bratton, crime is at record lows and our police force is the most sophisticated and technologically advanced department in the country. Our next Police Commissioner’s decades of experience make him uniquely qualified to continue building on these incredible public safety achievements,” he added.
Bratton, who will stay on for another month to ensure a smooth transition before he goes into the private sector, said O’Neill’s acumen as a tough cop was honed in the subways, the streets, and later running precincts, narcotics and fugitive apprehension.
“But few understand the human side of policing better than Jim O’Neill. As Chief, his innovative NCO program is not only making communities safer, it has brought police and the people together. Jim has all it takes to lead the NYPD into the future,” said Bratton.
The following is reactions from Brooklyn and citywide elected officials to the announcement:
State Sen. Martin J. Golden(Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Midwood, Fort Hamilton, Gravesend): “I want to thank NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton for his service and dedication to the safety of citizens throughout our country. Bratton’s policing policies have greatly impacted the quality of life in Boston, Los Angeles and here in New York.
“Bratton has been an advocate of the broken windows theory, ethnically diverse police force, maintaining a strong relationship with the community, tackling police corruption, being tough on gangs and having a strict no-tolerance of disruptive behavior. Despite difficult challenges, Commissioner Bratton has conducted himself with dignity, strength and professionalism. I wish him good luck with his future endeavors and again thank him for his distinguished law enforcement career.”
City Councilman Vincent J. Gentile (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights) : “It is with sadness that I learn of Commissioner Bratton’s departure from the NYPD. From community policing to keeping this City safe in the face of terrorism threats to instilling new lows in crime rates citywide, there was none better than Commissioner Bratton. I thank him for his service to this City, and I extend best wishes to him on his future endeavors.
“Fortunately, I have gotten to know Chief O’Neill over the years, and so to know that he will become the new Police Commissioner is good and reassuring news. And the fact that he will be keeping much of the top brass at the NYPD indicates that the good work of the Department will continue.”
Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James: “For the second time in as many decades, Commissioner Bill Bratton has led New York City’s finest, keeping our City and communities safe. During his most recent tenure, crime has been at record lows, and I have been proud to work with Commissioner Bratton to usher in new technologies, such as body-worn cameras and ShotSpotter, to improve criminal justice policy. I thank Commissioner Bratton for his unwavering service to our City. As we move forward with Chief James O’Neill as our new Commissioner and Chief of Department Carlos Gomez, we must continue to focus on strengthening community-police relations, utilizing smart technologies, and implementing informed policies to create a safer City.”
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