- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced Tuesday that he will step down from the nation’s largest municipal police department in September to take a private sector job — ending a 45-year career in public service in which he also led police departments in Los Angeles and Boston.

At a press conference Tuesday at New York City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the commissioner for progress in reducing crime and introduced his successor, James O’Neill, currently the NYPD Chief of Department.

“I don’t think any of us could have predicted such a productive 31 months,” Mr. de Blasio said of Commissioner Bratton’s time at the helm.

Over the course of his career, the 68-year-old commissioner has become one of the most widely recognized police leaders in the country.

He has led the New York Police Department twice — first taking the helm from 1994 to 1996. He got his start in policing as a beat cop in Boston in 1970, rising to the position of police superintendent by 1980. For six years he also served as head of the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002 to 2009, eventually returning to New York to serve as commissioner for the second time in 2014.

Commissioner Bratton said he informed the mayor of his decision to leave the department on July 8, noting that he would pursue “other opportunities” in the private sector.

He declined Tuesday to say what new position he was accepting. But The Wall Street Journal reported that Commissioner Bratton has accepted a position at “global consulting firm Teneo, where he will be a senior managing director and executive chairman of a newly created risk division, said people familiar with the matter.”

“There is never a good time, but there is a right time,” Commissioner Bratton said.

When asked whether the decision was in any way related to an ongoing corruption probe of top New York police officials and protests seeking the commissioner’s resignation, Mr. de Blasio said it “110 percent has nothing to do with this.”

Commissioner Bratton previously has told The New York Times that he did not plan to stay on past 2017, when Mr. de Blasio will face re-election.

“I have the luxury of going when I want to go,” he told the paper in a July interview. “I’m not going to be here in the second term. That’s the reality of it.”

Chief O’Neill, who will take over as leader of the department in September, has been with the New York Police Department for more than 30 years — joining the city’s old transit police force in 1983.

He said Tuesday that as commissioner, he intends to continue rolling out the department’s neighborhood policing program, which emphasizes communication and connections between beat cops and the communities they patrol.

“Over the past two and a half years, I have had the absolute privilege to work closely with the mayor and the commissioner to help shift the nation’s largest police department away form a style of policing in a city [that] sometimes lost focus on the most aspect of safeguarding the public: lowering crime but not at the expense of losing the vital support of the people we were sworn to protect and serve,” Chief O’Neill said.


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