(Christopher Robbins) In his first public speech in his second tenure as NYPD Commissioner, Bill Bratton called himself a "change agent" and vowed not to repeat the mistake of his predecessor, who oversaw historic lows in crime while alienating large swaths of the city. "You really are not celebrating what you have achieved the way that you should," Bratton told more than 800 NYPD officers and dignitaries at 1 Police Plaza this afternoon. "You have accomplished so much. This mystery, if you will, of how so much positive things have been occurring…where did we disconnect?"
"That's why I came back, that's why I'm giving up as much as I am," Bratton said, in a moment of candor. "And God knows what my wife is giving up to do this. I love this profession, I love this city, I love this department." Bratton's wife, Rikki Klieman, is an attorney who frequently appears on television.
It's no "mystery" how Ray Kelly and Michael Bloomberg helped get Bill de Blasio elected and Bratton his old job back: their relentless, arrogant prosecution of tactics like stop and frisk and Muslim surveillance, while perpetuating the notion that the NYPD was acting without any real oversight. Bratton alluded to the root of the "mystery" and his mandate at a press conference following his swearing-in.
"The department and the law office have really been moving in one direction, and the mayor has been elected on the idea that he's going to do things differently and policing necessary follows in those political directions," he said, standing next to a grinning de Blasio. "That's the way it works in a constitutional democracy."
Bratton added, "When crime is down there is an expectation that the intrusion of police into citizens' lives should also diminish."
The new commissioner said he would ensure that all future police stops were "constitutional, respectful, and compassionate," a promise that is perhaps easier to make given that the number of stops have already been drastically reined in. Yet he was more circumspect on what he would do about his department's unprecedented intrusions on New Yorkers who happen to practice Islam.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt